ASUC senator chosen as board member to oversee commercial activities

Taryn Erhardt/Senior Staff

Related Posts

Following an over four-hour long discussion, the ASUC senate chose Student Action Senator Christine Yun as a new representative on the board responsible for overseeing income-producing assets of the ASUC.

At the last senate meeting of the year, junior James Ephrati was brought in — nominated by the Commercial and Student Services Board undergraduate representative selection committee — to be approved by the senate. But after heavy questioning, the senate moved to call in two other candidates for a second interview, leading to a heated discussion by the senators.

The Commercial and Student Services Board — formerly the Store Operations Board — is composed of students, faculty and staff. The board manages ASUC commercial activities like the Cal Student Store.

Both sophomore Michelle Nacouzi — another candidate for the position —  and Yun were brought in to be questioned by the senate as to why they would make good representatives.

SQUELCH! senator Noah Ickowitz — who was a main proponent of delaying the decision in order to find an excellent candidate — said choosing the student was a big decision because the entire senate previously used to make decisions now allocated to only a few representatives.

The senate attempted to vote for each of the three candidates at various points during the meeting, but none received the necessary 14 votes — two-thirds of the senate body mandated by the bylaws — to become the next representative. Senators repeatedly asked if those senators who voted no would be willing to change their votes.

ASUC President Vishalli Loomba said bringing in all the candidates repeated the process that the committee went through last year and suggested that the senate possibly disband committees in the future.

In an informal poll where the senators were asked to rank the candidates in order of preference, Nacouzi received the most first-place votes, and Yun received the most second-place votes.

Independent Senator Nairi Shirinian felt the final decision was undemocratic because the majority of senators had voted for Nacouzi in their decision.

“I think 10 people had to compromise tonight because two people didn’t compromise,” she said.

Several of the senators voiced concerns regarding a possible bias — stemming from Ephrati’s affiliation with the fraternity Delta Chi, Nacouzi’s involvement with the Berkeley Student Food Collective and Yun’s party affiliations — that could influence the decisions the candidates would make if appointed.

Student Action senator Aviv Gilboa, another member of the Delta Chi fraternity, denounced the relevance of Ephrati’s membership in his fraternity, saying that he rejected and disrespected the fact that it was brought into the discussion.

In May 2009, the board forgave The Daily Californian a portion of its rent for the office it leases. As a result of that agreement, a nonpolitical student member of the board, currently Hedy Chen, sits on the Daily Cal’s Board of Operations, which has no control over the paper’s editorial content.