The GUSA Senate met on Sept. 22 and passed three pieces of legislation concerning CAPS programming, the disciplinary steps for Sen. Peter Lee Hamilton (COL ’20) following impeachment, and the condemning of anti-immigrant rhetoric on campus.
Sen. Leo Teixeira (COL ’21) introduced his bill outlining the disciplinary measures for Sen. Hamilton to the Senate, which included being censured for three Senate meetings, making a public apology, and participating in an outreach event. Sen. Daniella Sanchez (COL ’22) proposed an amendment reducing the three censured meetings to one. The amendment passed with a simple majority. The Senate voted to define Hamilton’s censures as suspending his right to vote during the meeting but allowing him to speak.
This legislation was written following Hamilton’s impeachment during a series of meetings in August, during which the Senate voted not to remove him but to discipline him for his actions. Teixeira reminded the Senate of their collective agreement to punish Hamilton. “We as a Senate agreed that there were actions committed by Senator Hamilton that were not good,” Teixeira said. “We determined that something was bad.”
Sen. Julia Moreno (SFS ’22) introduced an amendment proposing that Hamilton’s apology be made exclusively to the Senate. This sparked debate as to whether or not Hamilton needed to be publicly held accountable and how that would reflect on the Senate. Vice President Aleida Olvera (COL ’20) said GUSA should hold its members accountable. “The members of the Senate are elected officials, so if your constituents don’t know that you’re not doing anything, I think it’s important that they are updated on that,” Olvera said. Moreno’s amendment failed to pass.
The Senate also voted to introduce a piece of legislation regarding anti-immigrant rhetoric. The bill, introduced by Sens. Sanchez, Teixeira, and Miguel Zamudio (COL ’20), solidified the Senate’s position condemning hateful rhetoric. This legislation was written in response to recent comments made in a GroupMe chat about calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement on other students. “We just want to take the time to represent that that’s not acceptable here and that we stand with the community of immigrant families and students,” Sanchez said. The bill passed with the support of 13 of 17 senators.
Sen. Zev Burton (SFS ’22) introduced legislation to encourage CAPS to increase their support to the LGBTQ community on campus. The bill, which cited the limited resources for LGBTQ provided by CAPS, would strongly encourage the hiring of more LGBTQ-specific therapists and the enacting of specific programs for the community. “For depression, anxiety and substance abuse, we have a structure in place for the general student body, we don’t have one for LGBTQ individuals,” Burton said.
The Senate discussed the current funding issues facing CAPS, suggesting that this legislation could be used to encourage CAPS to devote one of the two newly hired full-time staffers to LGBTQ issues. The legislation passed unanimously with one abstention.
The Senate voted to confirm four individuals to represent GUSA to external bodies. Sebastian Klemmer (SFS ’23) was confirmed to the Constitutional Council, Gabe Mielke (SFS ’20) was appointed to the Workers Rights Consortium, and Logan Arkema (COL ’20) was appointed to the Licensing and Oversight Committee. Chad Gasman (COL ’20) was confirmed to the Advisory Committee of Business Practices, the Free Speech and Expression Committee, and the Student Health and Advisory Board.
The next GUSA Senate meeting will be held Sept. 29th in Healy 106.