ASUC Senate hears from Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Alivisatos on increasing faculty diversity

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The ASUC Senate met with Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Alivisatos and discussed increasing faculty diversity at Wednesday’s regular meeting.

Senators also heard from the Office of the External Affairs Vice President’s campus organizing director, Sarah Abdeshahian, about supporting upcoming union strikes. The senate also introduced and passed a resolution in support of California Proposition 12, which sets new minimum requirements for farm animal confinement spaces.

Alivisatos discussed faculty diversity in his opening remarks and fielded questions on topics ranging from increasing faculty diversity to expanding Disabled Students’ Program accommodations to creating new minors. He emphasized that the administration values student input because students have an insight into what issues need to be worked on.

“We view the partnership with the senators as being very, very important with the future of the university,” Alivisatos said. “If a senator has an interest in an issue, it’s not enough for them to mention it to me then for me to go away, but we have to have an ongoing dialogue.”

Regarding faculty diversity, Alivisatos said administrators are looking into cluster hiring, which is a hiring tactic where multiple scholars whose studies are similar are hired at the same time. The first cluster hire will take place next year and will seek scholars studying Native American issues, regardless of department, according to Alivisatos.

Abdeshahian also spoke during general announcements, urging the senate to support the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, Local 3299. Earlier this month, AFSCME Local 3299 voted to go on strike — the second strike since May in response to the UC imposing contract terms that the union had previously rejected.

Abdeshahian said student support of these strikes leaves a lasting impression on a universitywide level.

“Students standing with them has an impact because we’re the main stakeholders in this university,” Abdeshahian said. “The workers always feel bad about it. They say, ‘Oh, students aren’t going to be able to eat because I’m striking.’ … (Supporting them) gives them legitimacy.”

During the meeting’s immediate consideration, a resolution was passed without objection to support Prop. 12. The resolution, primarily sponsored by Senator Anna Whitney, states that Prop. 12 prevents animal cruelty by implementing stricter guidelines for farm animal containment and by establishing enforcement mechanisms.

While Whitney said she didn’t intend for the resolution to be passed via immediate consideration — which allows a resolution to be passed without being sent to an internal committee for revisions — she added that it makes sense for this resolution to be passed now, because the issue is “timely.”

“We are very close to the election date and so it makes sense to get these positions in,” Whitney said.

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