Legislative Council Votes No Confidence in UC Regents

Top among the resolutions ASUCI legislative council voted on last week was R50-34, which included a vote of no confidence expressing disapproval of UC President Janet Napolitano and the UC Regents regarding the recent 5 percent tuition increase. Although the legislation was presented after the state Senate Democrats proposed a funding bill that would eliminate the upcoming year’s tuition increase, Negin Fatahi, one of the bill’s co-authors, still criticized the general lack of student input regarding conversations between the regents and the state about tuition.

For Fatahi, like many, tuition is a tricky issue. Regardless of the senate proposal, which would freeze tuition at 2011-2012 levels, at least for another year, she will have to continue taking out loans in order to afford the cost of attending UCI. Like many students, her family’s income places her above the threshold of eligibility for financial aid; however, like many middle-income families, their income is not so great that affording a university education is

Fatahi also co-authored R50-32, a legislation compelling the UC to divest funds that are invested in the gun industry. The legislation, which passed with some opposition, was a direct response to the shooting that occurred at UC Santa Barbara’s Isla Vista community that claimed seven students’ lives, including that of the perpetrator. Irvine is the second campus, amidst the UC-wide Campaign to Unload, to pass such a legislation after its introduction at Santa Barbara.

For Tin Hong, the representative for the engineering school, the issue of gun divestment presented a dilemma. Although he supported the notion of a more equitable society free from tragedies of gun violence, he voted against Rmany of constituents go into the defense industry after graduation.

“I do not believe it is in the best interest of UCI engineers to divest from the gun industry,” he said.

Hong did, however, author a bill that drew attention to misogyny in the video game industry and called for the support of women video game developers. Recently, Gamergate has proven turbulent for the video game industry, with many women developers and critics receiving death and rape threats.

“I was horrified by the anonymous people who besieged women like Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian,” Hong said. Quinn is an independent game developer while Sarkeesian is a cultural critic whose work has recently drawn attention to sexist tropes in video games. For Hong, his STEM constituents’ proximity to the video game industry forced him to think about its current state. “I thought back to Gamergate and how the kind of misogyny that polluted that conversation prevented meaningful changes from occurring.”

Student Center and Event Services’s booking practices were also addressed by legislative council in R50-35. Multiple representatives received concerns from their constituents regarding difficulties booking rooms in the Student Center. During a presentation given to the council, representatives from the Student Center offered the explanation that rooms are difficult to book due to last minute reservations from the Registrar. Typically, classes for UCI Extension are held in meeting rooms throughout the conference center.

Legislative council also held up a mirror to its own rules and regulations, passing a legislation that would reshape the makeup of the council to proportionately reflect the student bodies of each academic school. Taking effect during winter quarter, R50-31 will charge representatives with continually monitoring the makeup of council, adding and subtracting seats in response to changing student populations.

The full text of ASUCI legislations can be viewed at http://www.asuci.uci.edu/legislativebranch/legislation/