ASUC senator introduces resolution to create new technology commission

Doug Smith/Staff

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At the ASUC Senate’s regular Wednesday meeting, ASUC Senator Adnan Hemani introduced a bill that would create a new External Technology Commission.

According to the resolution’s text, ASUC officials don’t have a space to interface directly with campus technology, which prevents them from fulfilling technological campaign promises — this resolution was moved into committee at the meeting. Ben Hubbard and Rachel Hollowgrass — who were at the meeting representing the Student Information Systems, or SIS, CalCentral team — presented different potential CalCentral modifications that are being spearheaded by senators.

“One of the things we hear with SIS is that campus partners are not prioritizing (student-proposed changes) right now, which is quite annoying to me,” Hemani said. “The reason is because campus partners, such as the Office of the Registrar, Council of the Deans — including Dean of Undergraduate Studies Bob Jacobsen, Vice Chancellor of Administration. … All of these people are stakeholders in the original SIS. They sit in charge of what gets prioritized in SIS and CalCentral.”

Hemani wants to make the ASUC a campus partner as well — according to Hubbard, campus partners are defined by the SIS as campus units with whom the team frequently interacts. Currently, the ASUC is not a partner.

The resolution will be a “pivotal” first step in making sure that students have a voice in any discussions with SIS, according to Hemani.

Many senators have already been in conversation with SIS. Some of their projects include ASUC Senator Madison Miller’s campuswide survey, which compiled the different changes students want to CalCentral, and ASUC Senator Juniperangelica Cordova’s project that aims to allow students to change their name more than once on CalCentral.

“The project to get students working directly with the SIS team on developing code and their behind the scenes work is done because a position has opened up for this summer,” Gabriella Allaf, CalCentral development lead in Miller’s office, said in an email.

During the meeting, Hollowgrass said SIS is currently looking to hire students for its summer internship. Students will be given technological “innovation projects to work on to make students lives better,” Hollowgrass said at the meeting.

Hemani said this internship is a “step in the right direction,” but not a holistic resolution — the internship only lasts for one semester and does not provide students the leverage that is given to “campus partners.” He added that students outside the SIS team will not be allowed to make modifications to CalCentral.

According to Hemani, student involvement is necessary because students are the primary users of CalCentral. Although CalCentral’s code is public, it can only be changed by certain contributors, such as SIS. Students can view and copy the code and occasionally suggest changes, but Hemani said student suggestions are regularly ignored.

“It’s not adequate,” Hemani said. “And students aren’t involved.”

Contact Mariam Zagub at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @MZagub.