The Associated Students Senate met in the Flying “A” room in the UCen last night for their final meeting of the year to discuss transportation services for disabled students, library developments and a new UC Santa Barbara and Isla Vista multimedia history project.
A.S. Senate passed a Resolution in Support of Assemblyman Das Williams’ Assembly Bill 3 to form a Community Services District in I.V., A Bill to Support the Expansion of Wellness Services and a resolution in favor of hiring a Community Resource Deputy and Officer for the UCSB Police Department (UCPD) and Isla Vista Foot Patrol (IVFP).
Disabled Students Program (DSP) director Gary White said UCSB provided transportation for disabled students in the ’90s, but currently lacks these services.
“In 1992 to ’93, the student fee advisory committee paid almost $8,000 to purchase two life-equipped vans. DSP managed the van service through the 1999 to 2000 school year,” White said. “There was career staff and numerous student drivers. The dispatcher was a DSP staffer. We served staff, students and faculty.”
According to White, there are few options when students and staff inquire about how to get around campus with a disability.
“Right now, all we can tell them is they can apply for a temporary disabled parking placard from the [Department of Motor Vehicles] and that with the parking permit they can park in any parking lot on campus in the disabled spots,” White said. “I’m here to let the Senate know, if you want this to happen, you’re going to have to do something about it.”
On-campus Senator and first-year art history major Lacy Wright said instead of beginning an entirely new project, A.S. should adapt Senator Brandon Lee’s PediCabs handicapped student transportation proposal for campus-wide use.
“Maybe start off with Brandon Lee’s original project and then do this project on the side, because [PediCabs] will be faster and cheaper,” Wright said.
College of Creative Studies (CCS) Senator and second-year CCS chemistry and biochemistry major Dustin Larrazolo said discussions regarding the newly proposed forms of transportation should extend to include students with mental health issues as well as students with disabilities.
“There are unseen different ableness [issues] with mental health,” Larrazolo said. “It needs to be tailored to include the people who actually need it.”
Senators agreed to start a group project to look into options for transportation services for disabled students, faculty and staff.
Assistant University Librarian for Outreach and Academic Collaboration Rebecca Metzger said statistics and activity reports have shown an overall decrease, but still a large number of total visits to Davidson Library. According to Metzger, students have expressed difficulties with studying in I.V. and a preference to study at Davidson Library.
“We had about 1.3 million visits to the library; that was actually down from previous years because it was under construction,” Metzger said. “Our foot traffic is actually much greater than any research library of comparable size and the other UCs. We think this is because of Isla Vista being really densely populated and a lot of students tell us it’s a hard place to study.”
A.S. Living History Adviser Mahader Tesfai said the Living History Project is a new program meant to chronicle life in I.V. and UCSB since the conception of the university, and will partially use Daily Nexus and KCSB archives.
“A lot of times, students involved in various organizations don’t necessarily know the history of their group with which they are involved. Seeing that need, I started to develop the idea of the Living History Project,” Tesfai said. “This project aims to create an archive of student engagement and activism at UCSB over the decades.”
The meeting concluded with the swearing in of Off-Campus Senator Kelly Pearman and On-Campus Senators Elizabeth Brock and Mercedes Rodriguez.
A version of this story appeared on page 3 of the Thursday, May 28, 2015 print issue of the Daily Nexus.