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ASUCI Senate Passes Legislation That Conflicts With ASUCI Constitution

The ASUCI Senate passed a legislation that will allow recalled ASUCI senators to determine and manage the ASUCI budget for the upcoming school year on April 30, a move which conflicts with the ASUCI Constitution. Majority of the recalled senators voted in favor of the legislation.

Engineering Senator Bryce Lindsey authored legislation R55-70 to create the Special Committee of the Annual Budget, which will be comprised of the following voting members: the current executive cabinet, the current Student Advocate General, the current Elections Commissioner and 17 senators — 15 of which were recalled. This legislation follows the ASUCI Bylaws — also authored by Lindsey — which say that this special committee is responsible for creating the budget.

However, the ASUCI Constitution — which takes precedence over all other governing documents, including the bylaws — gives only the Executive Cabinet, the Student Advocate General and the Elections Commissioner the power to “prepare the annual ASUCI budget.” The Senate President and the Senate President Pro-Tempore are the only senate members who can participate in the preparation of the budget.

Social Ecology Senator Saad Iqbal motioned to remove the 12 senate members who were not part of the Executive Cabinet or of the Senate Finance Committee from the legislation — leaving only Senate President Faith Chua, Senator Lindsey (who is Senate President Pro-Tempore), and Senators Logan Knight and Ryan Pavey (who are chair and vice chair of the finance committee, respectively). Iqbal said that the finance committee members, current executive officers and incoming executive officers were “the most germaine” to next year’s budget. However, Iqbal’s motion failed after a majority of the senators opposed him and voted against removing the 12 senators.

The upcoming executive officers — except 2020-2021 ASUCI President Michelle Mallari, who currently serves as the Business Senator — will also be part of the committee, but as non-voting members.

“The problem with the committee was the fact that new incoming executives were given ex officio status in the committee, meaning they may speak on the budget but cannot vote on it, which is absolutely ridiculous as they are the ones who will have to work with the budget and hire staff around the budget,” Senator. Ivan Fonseca said. “This is not normal. In the past, the executives create the budget and then propose it. The Senate can then amend it and pass it if they choose to do so. Yes, the process has been changed with the new bylaws; however, there is still absolutely no reason why the new executives are being denied a vote.”

Business Senator and upcoming ASUCI President Mallari presented legislation R55-71 on May 5 to modify the composition of the Special Committee of the Annual Budget by changing the upcoming executive officers to voting members, the current executive officers to non-voting members, and removing all senate members except for Senator Lindsey, Senator Logan Knight and Senate President Faith Chua — the three of which were recalled. However, the senate has not yet voted to pass or fail this legislation. 

Allen Serrano is a Campus News Intern for the 2020 spring quarter. He can be reached at allenjs1@uci.edu.