During last Wednesday’s six-and-a-half-hour Associated Students Senate meeting, Public Forum speakers addressed renovations to Davidson Library, a nonprofit called Swipes For The Homeless and last week’s divestment resolution, which resulted in a controversial vote against divesting from companies associated with the state of Israel.
Other issues discussed at the meeting include the creation of ad hoc committees for an Isla Vista sobering center and the restoration of Isla Vista balconies. Additionally, Collegiate Senator Adrian Orozco announced his resignation, citing career-related commitments.
In contrast to last week’s heavily attended and contentious meeting, Wednesday’s meeting saw a much smaller turnout and a significantly shorter list of speakers at Public Forum. Several Senators were absent, and opted to send proxies instead.
The first speakers in public forum — Mark Hartell and Rebecca Metzger of the UCSB Library staff — informed the Senate on the status of upcoming renovations to Davidson Library that are currently scheduled to last two and a half years. Hartell said the changes have been delayed for too long, and are just barely coming to life after decades of planning.
“In terms of construction, nothing has happened in 35 years … It’s been many, many years in the planning, but it really is going to start,” Hartell said. “In a nutshell, the project is scheduled to run for two and a half years.”
Swipes For The Homeless representatives Ali Guthy and Shannon Mirshokri also spoke during Public Forum, requesting the Senate’s support in expanding their program. Swipes For The Homeless is a program in which students can donate their unused dining commons meals to a local homeless shelter.
“This is a really amazing program, and we really hope that you all will support our endeavor,” Guthy said. “This has to occur in a dialogue with administration, which currently we’re having trouble starting … we just really need more support.”
Second-year political science major Anisha Ahuja shared her thoughts on the Senate’s decision to refrain from passing last week’s divestment resolution. Ahuja said the Senate did not adequately listen to her and other individuals’ arguments in support of the resolution.
“I am disgusted by this space because not only did you let bureaucratic and political crap get in the way of passing this resolution, but you also didn’t take into account the fact that over 30 organizations on this campus sponsored this resolution,” Ahuja said. “I think you need to take a look at yourself as Senate and look at the people around you … people should be aware of the privileges they do have.”
Finance Board Chair Raul Martinez presented a seminar regarding a potential project aimed at teaching students important financial life skills. Additionally, Katlen Abu Ata asked senators to be aware of the unjust American prison system especially in light of a recent gang injunction proposed by the Santa Barbara County Chief of Police.
Toward the end of Public Forum, Collegiate Senator Adrian Orozco officially announced his resignation from the post, in the most recent of a string of Senate resignations this year. Orozco said the decision came after considering his priorities in the near future.
“I have a lot of things to worry about coming up in the next couple of weeks,” Orozco said. “It has to do with career.”
Later in the meeting, Senators passed a bill changing the recruitment period of Associated Students as well as resolutions supporting Swipes for the Homeless and Martinez’s finance seminar.
Senators tabled a resolution entitled “Resolution to Divest from Companies that Profit form the Prison Industrial Complex” for one week, at the request of resolution author Navkiran Kaur, who was not present at the meeting. They also created ad hoc committees to deal with certain issues facing the Isla Vista community, namely the sobering center and unsafe balconies.
Off-campus senator Kyley Scarlet proposed an ad hoc committee to look into possible solutions for the balcony problem in order to prevent future incidents similar to the balcony that fell Deltopia weekend.
“For those of you who don’t know, 6643 [Del Playa] — their balcony collapsed,” Scarlet said. “When things like this happen, the liability falls completely on the people who live there … [The ad hoc will be] kind of figuring out what we can do about that.”
Wednesday’s meeting adjourned at 12:58 a.m. Next week, A.S. Senators will address the prison divestment resolution in addition to other issues.