Associated Students Senate discussed a pro- posal to require mandatory sexual assault train- ing for all Senators along with other updates to the Senate Constitution and swore in a new Senator at last night’s four and a half hour meet- ing.
The appointment of Navkiran Kaur as On-Campus Senator came in the wake of a series of resignations that left several open seats in the Senate. Kaur earned the position by merit of her status as the next runner-up by number of votes in last spring’s A.S. elections.
Several members of on-campus organiza- tions came to the public forum portion in sup- port of revisions to the A.S. constitution, which would include additional training requirements for senators in order to better prepare them for dealing with sexual harassment-related issues.
Alex Moore, Co-Chair of Take Back the Night, offered his support for the new requirements. He argued that a trick- le-down education approach would greatly benefit the general student body by setting an example for other campus organizations.
“It’s great to start a change in the culture from leader- ship down,” Moore said. “I highly encourage you to add the requirement.”
Co-Chair Danielle Bermudez echoed this sentiment, adding that an informed population of students would go a long way towards preventing sexual crimes.
“Education — that’s the first step to ending sexual vio- lence,” Bermudez said.
Associated Students President Sophia Armen addressed the Senate about a UC system-wide campus climate survey called “Answer the CALL,” which is designed to gauge various measures the campus atmosphere in order to bet- ter prevent discrimination and hate crimes. Armen said she would like to see a 40 percent response to the survey, which was distributed to every student through U-Mail, but so far, only about 10 percent of the student body has responded.
Armen said she believes low participation results may be a result of the uncertainty surrounding survey’s purpose. “Part of the reason why there has been an initial student reluctance … is because of [students wondering,] ‘What are we going to do with the data?’” Armen said.
Nonetheless, Armen stressed the importance of filling out the survey by the deadline of January 25th in order to add representative student input to potential university changes.
“Whether or not you do take it, they are going to use the information,” she said. “If you don’t take it, it’s not going to represent you.
Following Armen’s report, External Vice President of Statewide Affairs Nadim Houssain spoke before the Senate about financial concerns for the University of California system and potential structural changes to the institution.
Houssain said Proposition 30’s passage helped make Governor Brown’s recently proposed state budget a little more optimistic for the UC than it has been in years past.
“Thanks to the passage of Prop 30, the government has followed up on its promise to contribute 250 million dollars to the UC system,” Houssain said.
Houssain said he was unsure whether the allocation of a portion of that money towards online education is a worthy investment for the university.
“What really concerns [me] is the complete online education,” Houssain said, contrasting “complete” online education with supplementary online materials to tradi- tional classes. “Not everyone has access to a computer or the internet … This shift would put grad students [who work as TAs] out of work … How do you enforce academic integrity [through online courses]?”
Houssain also noted the possible negative effects that implementing online courses — which currently range in price from $1,400 to $2,400 — will have on lower-income students.
“It may stratify students based on class,” Houssain said. “Those with more money will be able to afford in-class education while those in lower income brackets will opt for cheaper online classes, and I wouldn’t want to see that happen.”
A version of this article appeared on page 1 of January 24th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.