During Wednesday night’s Associated Students Senate meeting, senators approved committee appointments for the 2013 – 2014 school year.
Outgoing committee chairs introduced their new members to the Senate during public forum to be approved later on in the meeting. Speakers also called to question the clarity of the appointment process, particularly with regards to Committee on Committees and Elections Committee.
University Owned Housing Senator for the 2012–2013 school year Miya Sommers addressed the Senate with concerns about the appointment process. Sommers took issue with the disqualification of Nicholas Dineen for Elections Committee on the grounds of party affiliation, as Dineen had been disqualified after he “liked” a Democratic Process Party Facebook page.
“I don’t feel that going through someone’s Facebook and seeing something that they like on Facebook is grounds for neutrality,” Sommers said.
Sommers also said the disqualification process was problematic as there had been inconsistencies for different positions. While Dineen had been originally recommended for the position through the interview process, he had later been disqualified, Sommers said.
According to Sommers, the appointee for Attorney General Sawyeh Maghsoodloo should have been disqualified on the same grounds, as the attorney general position is also supposed to be a neutral position and Maghsoodloo was a chair of the Open People’s Party during A.S. elections.
“If he’s not being appointed, I have a problem with Sawyeh then being appointed,” Sommers said. “She has a clear party affiliation, and she’s not being docked on that.”
After Sommers spoke, Maghsoodloo addressed the Senate to respond to some of Sommers’ claims. Maghsoodloo said she agreed the interview process needed improvement, but also said her own appointment had been legitimate.
Outgoing Chair of Committee on Committees Asami Osato also came to public forum in order to answer senators’ questions regarding the application process. As chair, Osato was responsible for making the official appointment recommendations to the president.
Osato said she felt the application process had been fair, with the interview process lasting approximately 15 hours every week for three weeks. She also said she felt party affiliation was not difficult to discern with candidates.
“I feel like it’s pretty obvious whether or not you’re party affiliated,” Osato said.
The Senate also decided to approve the appointments and during the meeting, the new executive officers delivered reports on their first weeks in office. Officers announced their decisions regarding their appointments for staff, while also discussing the progress of their respective offices.
External Vice President of Local Affairs Alex Moore said he met with leaders of the queer community, who had expressed a desire to reach out to members of Greek life on campus.
“They want to do some Greek outreach because they feel like there’s some problems coming from the fraternities especially,” Moore said.
External Vice President of Statewide Affairs Alex Choate said she is focusing on the question of online education in the UC system, for which there are currently two bills in front of the California Senate.
“The bills are SB 520, which we really don’t like because it basically is going to allow for the privatization of our education, allowing for private entities to come in and profit,” Choate said. “Another one is SB 547, but it doesn’t have nearly as much support in the Senate, as of right now.”
A.S. President Jonathan Abboud discussed the addition of a new position on his staff — the deputy chief of staff — while Internal Vice President Kyley Scarlet’s report focused on transitions to the new Senate, discussing projects that must be handed down to new senators, including a Sobering Center in Isla Vista and an LGBTQ General Education requirement.
Student Advocate General Kristian Whittaker said he is working on a convention with the SAGs from colleges throughout Southern California, and that he has already begun working on his advocacy agenda.