ASUC President Implores UnityContact Tina Nguyen at [email protected]
Thursday, September 2, 2004
ASUC President Misha Leybovich urged the 20 senators to put their party affiliations last and work together as a body to "educate, advocate and innovate" students at the first ASUC Senate meeting yesterday.
"Choose to have each others' backs across similarities and differences and respect each others' perspectives and experiences, please, for the sake of the ASUC and the student body," Leybovich said in his State of the Association speech.
Having served two years as an independent senator before moving to dominant party Student Action, Leybovich warned against the dangers of the party partisanship he witnessed.
Last year, senators butting heads over party lines often deadlocked the body and dragged meetings on for hours.
"I expect that you all see sooner than my senates did that using all our energy fighting each other left us precious little to tackle the issues that really matter," Leybovich said.
Despite his plans to alleviate the tensions between the senate's political parties, senators sat strictly based on party lines, with the six CalSERVE senators packed together.
Leybovich pledged to battle the problems which have historically plagued the association. Leybovich has already started on this goal with three executive orders issued over summer.
He urged the senators to support his third order, which established a rule that allowed the ASUC Judicial Council to decide the punishment of elections violations and brought the monthlong ASUC elections debacle to a close. He pushed the senators to write his order into the ASUC rules.
"Many of the problems for cases in the Judicial Council dragging on and becoming mired down in our own bylaws," he said. "The executive order that established that rule will soon expire and we will be still left with outdated and out-of-context regulations that must be addressed."
Leybovich pressed the senators to fight the stereotype of failing to serve the entire student body by following through with their campaign promises.
"I expect to see many projects coming out of this body and hope to see that they will address all manners of student concern on this campus," Leybovich said. "No project is too small, but time is fleeting."
Leybovich touted this week's early success of blocking the Office of Student Life's $40 registration fee for hundreds of student groups as an example of the partnerships he expects from the entire association.
Squelch! Senator Ben Narodick, one of two independent senators, said he is confident Leybovich will be able to continue these partnerships to improve relations among the political parties.
"This senate is very united, and I think this is going to be the most productive year in the ASUC," Narodick said.
While Student Action-the dominant political party this year with 12 senate seats-and progressive political party CalSERVE have traditionally butted heads over how to allocate the ASUC's funds, CalSERVE Senator Dori Perez said she is also hopeful that the senators will be able to work together to become more efficient.
"My hope is that (Leybovich) and we as a senate body can work together in a bipartisan effort to improve the ASUC presence on campus," Perez said.
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