ASUC Undergraduate Representative Arushi Saxena resigns

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After serving as an undergraduate representative to the ASUC Commercial and Student Services Board, Arushi Saxena resigned from her position last week, halfway through her two-year term.

Saxena said other personal commitments and the fact that she did not have as much experience nor as many ties to the ASUC as previous representatives were the main reasons for her resignation. The decision was announced at the ASUC Senate meeting Wednesday.

“This is a time when relations between the ASUC Student Union Board and (ASUC) Senate have to be strong and established,” she said. “Considering my lack of experience in an elected position … I wouldn’t have done justice to (this role).”

Saxena served the first year of her term with 2011-12 senator Christine Yun. As a freshman, she interned in former senator Shahryar Abbasi’s office.

The board manages ASUC commercial activities, such as the Cal Student Store and Eshleman Hall building operations. The board also oversees the new ASUC Student Union facilities in the Lower Sproul area, which are set to open next fall.

The board consists of 12 voting members. Student members include two undergraduate representatives, the ASUC president, the executive vice president, the Graduate Assembly president and two graduate student representatives. Other members include two faculty and three administrators appointed by the chancellor.

Undergraduate representatives serve two-year terms. Saxena said that during her first year, she focused on learning the specific governance structure between the ASUC and the university.

Current undergraduate representative Ismael Contreras, who was appointed in May and also serves as External Affairs Vice President Caitlin Quinn’s chief of staff, said this year represents a crucial time for the board, which will be making important decisions regarding Lower Sproul, such as establishing partnerships with vendors.

“(Ismael) has the support of leaders from all the parties that have experience, so I think he’s in the right shoes,” Saxena said.

Yet Contreras and ASUC Executive Vice President Justin Kong said they do not foresee the resignation slowing down the board’s progress.

To fill the vacancy, the senate will convene an appointing committee of three voting members — the ASUC president, executive vice president and the current undergraduate representative — and two nonvoting senators. The appointment require a two-thirds vote from the senate and must be finalized three weeks after the announcement of the resignation.

“(We want to make) sure that the representative is someone who would fight on behalf of the students, voice student concerns and really understand the responsibility to the senate,” Kong said.

Applications for the undergraduate representative will be accepted until early October.

Heyun Jeong covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @heyunjeong.