Associated Students on-campus senators will not be required to live on campus during the 2020-21 school year, according to a resolution passed by the Associated Students Senate last Wednesday. 

A.S. Attorney General Tyler Barth explained in an email to the Senate that due to recent circumstances, it was possible to temporarily waive the requirements.  Katherine Swartz / Daily Nexus

The decision to waive the requirement for the upcoming school year was made in light of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, according to the resolution’s first author, On-Campus Senator Gurleen Pabla, who spoke during the Wednesday night Associated Students (A.S.) Senate meeting. 

There are five on-campus senators for the 2020-21 school year: Senator Pabla, Senator Adam Bagul, Senator Anusikha Halder, Senator Dania De Ramon and Senator Taylor Tait, who seconded the resolution. 

“All of us are aware how we don’t know how we’re going to move forward with housing and school in general,” Pabla said. “A lot of people are going to have a lot of restrictions moving forward, whether it be housing in general or financial problems.” 

“It might not even apply to some of us senators — but there are others that have constrictions that we should be aware of.” 

Tait added during the meeting that this is a “unique situation.” 

“Housing is very up in the air. There’s no confirmed statement [from the university.] It’s unfair to expect all of our senators to have on-campus housing when it’s not really up to them how they can live, especially when you factor in social distancing, spreading our dorms and all the [approaches]that housing is going to take for our safety and health,” Tait said. 

During the May University of California Board of Regents meeting, UC President Janet Napolitano announced that the UC system would make a decision regarding the state of Fall Quarter 2020 in mid-June. 

Previously, Interim Student Health Service Medical Director Ali Javanbakht told the Nexus that UCSB is considering offering only singles and doubles in residence halls next year. However, he also said there’s concern among Chancellor Henry T. Yang’s COVID-19 Response Working Group that this could mean a shortage of beds and push more people into I.V. during the school year. 

The on-campus housing requirement — a part of A.S. Legal Code — has long been a subject of debate on the Senate table. Typically, the Senate does not have the power to waive the requirement, as the requirements for senators are in the A.S. Constitution. 

A.S. Attorney General Tyler Barth explained in an email to the Senate that due to recent circumstances, it was possible to temporarily waive the requirements. 

“The California state government supersedes A.S. Legal Code. Seeing as how this is an unforeseen circumstance, and given that the state is under executive order from the Governor, it is up to the Senate to accommodate and be responsive, as necessary,” Barth said. 

“Senators technically do not have the power to waive those requirements within the confines of our student government, but the state layer of governance is supreme, in this case. The Senate is doing the best they can to adapt to our current situation.” 

The Senate will resume its regular meetings during Fall Quarter 2020. It is unknown at this time whether those meetings will be held in person or over Zoom, as they have been for spring quarter.

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