Boards, Committees and Units under UC Santa Barbara Associated Students formed a coalition to address communication issues and improve transparency within the Association.
Boards, Commissions and Units (BCUs) are Associated Students (A.S.) entities that receive funding from A.S. and are under A.S. jurisdiction.
The Coalition has met twice since fall quarter, and issues brought forth by BCUs during its meetings related to lack of information on honoraria, issues with Senate liaisons — Senate members designated as correspondents with BCUs — and a general disconnect from A.S.
Third-year feminist studies and English double major Isabella Mendoza and fourth-year political science major Rebecca Hurtado Fairweather are co-chairs of the Human Rights Board. The pair founded the Coalition in fall quarter due to discontent with the communication between the Senate and BCUs, as well as between BCUs themselves.
“Associated Students is based on community and coalition building, and yet, we have no communication with any other BCUs or didn’t necessarily feel like there was a foundation set in place to foster that kind of environment,” Fairweather said.
The first meeting on Oct. 13 invited A.S. members and other UCSB students to engage in open discussion about their needs at the university.
“Within those meetings, establishing how we wanted to go about fostering that kind of communication. We turned to our board because our board is made up of members who have been within Associated Students for years in different positions but also fresh, fresh individuals who have never heard before joining support,” Mendoza said.
The second meeting on Jan. 19 was an opportunity for improvements to the structure of meetings based on feedback.
“For this most recent meeting, the first hour was designated for BCUs specifically having no senators or elected officials within the meetings to provide a safe space where BCUs don’t feel targeted and can air their grievances out without feeling alienated,” Mendoza said. “Senators [came] to the table in the second hour to come up with solutions, and we heard what our elected officials are doing.”
In December, A.S. executives co-signed a statement titled, “A Way Forward,” proposing several adjustments to Senate procedure and communication channels to address issues “concerning discrimination and exclusivity.”
Mendoza said that the statement did a good job of summarizing the issues within A.S., which are a culmination of many small unaddressed issues built up over time.
“I would say it does summarize, more or less, the full edit issues that were occurring,” Mendoza said. It looks like a lot. But it’s mostly just a bunch of little things that have added up to create kind of the situation that we’re in, the climate currently of A.S. and Senate specifically.”
Fairweather added that she recommends leaders of the BCUs to be consulted in the solutions, rather than solely elected officials.
“I just wanted to make sure that these solutions were also taken into account with other BCU leaders and other conversations had besides elected officials and execs,” Fairweather said.
A version of this article appeared on p. 3 of the Feb. 1, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.