ASUC Senate meets new chief legal officer, notes UC regent sex harassment allegations

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During this week’s regular Wednesday ASUC Senate meeting, senators moved a new business resolution — that calls for the resignation of UC Regent Norman Pattiz — to committee for discussion and heard from the new Chief Legal Officer, Prathyush Parasuraman.

In addition to passing one resolution in support of the new Haas School of Business building, the new resolution supporting the resignation of Pattiz, who was recorded sexually harassing a colleague in May 2015, was moved to committee. The meeting also included the first appearance of Parasuraman, who is replacing previous CLO Alek Klimek and will be holding the position for the spring 2017 semester.

Parasuraman was confirmed as CLO in a November Senate meeting. Because he will only be holding the position for one semester, Parasuraman said he will focus on organizing the governing structure and bylaws of the ASUC for the next CLO.

“Since my position is just a semester’s duration, I mainly aim to have some structures in place for the future CLO to work off of — making sure the officers and senators are made aware of deadlines, having a conversation about the structure of the ASUC to see if we are in the right direction given our status, importance, and size,” Parasuraman said in an email.

One of his first intended actions in office is to support the P.E.O.P.L.E Act resolution, which was drafted by Klimek in the fall semester and will establish a human resources office within the ASUC to focus on the experiences of ASUC volunteers. This resolution has been in production since last semester and was sent back to the Governance and Internal Affairs Committee for more revision at the beginning of Wednesday’s meeting.

The resolution calling for the resignation of Pattiz was written after discussion with ASUC Riverside and cites a recording of Pattiz asking a female colleague if he could touch her breasts, released last November. The resolution was moved to the University and External Affairs Committee for further discussion.

“When this report came out, an ASUCR member went to the regents meeting,” said ASUC Senator Rosa Kwak, the resolution’s main sponsor. “It made the news because she called the UC regent out in person.”

She added that ASUC Senator Rigel Robinson was contacted by the ASUCR National Affairs Director Julia Schemmer, and Robinson connected them. Both the ASUC and the ASUCR hope this resolution will be noticed at the ongoing UC regents meeting and picked up by other ASUCs in the system.

ASUC President Will Morrow also announced plans to hold an ASUC 130th anniversary celebratory week.  The week will include events showcasing ways that the ASUC affects student life on campus that go unrecognized, such as the ASUC’s funding of student organizations and its arrangement of student benefits outside of school.

Morrow said a week has not yet been chosen for the celebration, but that it may take place before hard campaigning begins for the ASUC elections or before Cal Day. The executive vice president’s and chief communication officer’s offices will help to organize the week.

“The students only see the ASUC in the campaign lights (which can) … make people think the ASUC is about the individual,” Morrow said. “ASUC is not just about today, it’s about the tradition of student autonomy and student action for the past 130 years.”

Sakura Cannestra is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.