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ASI Board of Directors concludes shaky committee appointments, expedites officer of legislative affairs approval  

During its Aug. 13 meeting, the last before the fall semester, the Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Board of Directors finalized critical organizational actions. This included electing board members to ASI internal committees, through a sometimes precarious process, and expediting the approval of Nicole Hernandez as the officer of legislative affairs.  

As reported last week, ASI board members decided among themselves nominees for ASI internal committee assignments. Due to limits on the number of senators able to join each committee, there were an even split of safe elections, where the number of nominees matched the number of senators required, and competitive elections, where the number of nominees surpassed the number of senators required. 

While the safe elections were easily decided and all the nominees successfully elected, confusion on how to conduct roll call votes for the competitive elections resulted in a somewhat strenuous procedure.   

This was most evident during the internal election to the ASI Basic Needs Committee—the first of the meeting. The committee had three nominees but there were only two senator positions to fill. 

Initially, ASI Vice President Manshaan Singh, a fourth-year environmental biology student, informed the board that for the competitive elections, each nominee would be voted on individually. This process began with a motion to approve Agriculture Senator Delilah Orta, one of the three nominees, to the committee. Orta was approved with a unanimous 12-0 vote to the committee—but the initial appointment was short lived. 

ASI Vice President Manshaan Singh shares a list of the internal committee nominees prior to the board’s elections. (Courtesy of ASI)

Following this vote, Associate Director for Student Government Ashley Joseph recommended to Singh a different process wherein each board member would vote for their preferred nominee and the top two vote-getters would be successfully appointed.  

This recommendation was accepted but it meant having to nullify the previous vote and begin the basic needs committee election again. The decision to nullify Orta’s approval was also a unanimous 12-0 vote. 

In the second election, Orta received 10 votes while the other two nominees, Collins College Senator Ian Whalen and College of Education and Integrative Studies Senator Priscilla Muños, both voted for themselves—tying with one vote each. This prompted a run-off election of sorts between Whalen and Muños.  

In the secondary vote, Whalen received a unanimous 10-0 vote tally leaving him and Orta as the two senators appointed to the ASI Basic Needs Committee.  

Following this initial process, competitive elections were once again tweaked so that each senator could vote for the number of senators required for each committee. This immediately resulted in closer elections. 

The election to the ASI Facilities and Operations Committee had four nominees, Science Senator Marc Leon, Greek Council Senator-At-Large Hillary Deleon, Engineering Senator Araz Madenlian and Business Senator Ravina Soma—but only three available spots.  

In the final tally, Leon received 10 votes, Deleon and Madenlian both received 9 votes, and Soma received 8, leaving Leon, Deleon and Madenlian as the three board appointees to the committee. 

The final competitive election was to the ASI Governmental Affairs Committee where the nominees were Inter-Hall Council Senator-At-Large Prabhat Jammalamadaka, Madenlian, College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences Senator Henry Ly, and Muños. 

In the final vote tally, Jammalamadaka received 11 votes, Madenlian received 10, Ly received 8 and Muños received 6. Additionally, Orta voted for the science senator, who was not a nominee, an error that was not caught during the meeting. 

In the end, Jammalamadaka, Madenlian and Ly were all appointed to the governmental affairs committee.  

For the committee elections where the number of nominees matched the number of possible appointments, all nominees were elected unanimously. The board appointed Orta, Deleon, and Whalen to the ASI Finance Committee, Leon to the ASI Human Resources Committee, and Muños, Ly, and Jammalamadaka to the ASI Rules and Policies Committee.  

In addition to internal committee appointments, the board also unanimously approved ASI President Lucy Yu’s recommendation of second-year political science student Nicole Hernandez as the ASI officer of legislative affairs with a 12-0 vote. 

Second-year political science student Nicole Hernandez lists California Promise funding and student homelessness as priorities in legislative affairs role. (Courtesy of Nicole Hernandez) 

For the second time in the summer appointment season, the board opted to temporarily suspend its procedural guide, “Robert’s Rules of Order,” so that it may vote to approve Hernandez during the same meeting—at the recommendation of Singh. 

The vice president pointed to the fall semester being “right around the corner” and the board not meeting again until Aug. 27 as reasons for this break from normal procedure.  

During her recommendation, Yu spoke highly of Hernandez’s political knowledge and experience.  

“As a student of political science, she has conducted legal research on current bills and issues and has a cursory understanding of the legislative landscape surrounding the CSU (California State University),” Yu, a fourth-year hospitality management student stated. “In high school, she has led organizations that were involved in voter empowerment and legal processes, and in her first year at Cal Poly Pomona has taken up roles in the political science club. She’s a hard worker and is willing to put in the hours of research necessary to fulfill this position.” 

Hernandez was not present during the board meeting but was available for an interview after her approval. 

Hernandez stated that the legislative affairs position appealed to her because it allowed for her general interest in politics and legislation that she expresses personally and through social media, to be translated into an on-campus responsibility.  

According to the ASI Cabinet Code, Hernandez will serve as the ASI Governmental Affairs Committee’s coordinator for legislative research and will work in tandem with the ASI secretary of external affairs to “carry out any objective set by the ASI President and the ASI Student Government Policy Agenda.” 

The document also lists specific duties that the officer of legislative affairs, in coordination with the secretary of external affairs, is responsible for. These include informing the governmental affairs committee and the board of directors about relevant legislation to CPP and the CSU, supporting the committee in legislative research, attending lobbying meetings and implementing “any relevant projects” as mandated by the committee.  

When asked to detail any legislative projects that she already believes would be relevant to inform student government of, Hernandez advocated for further funding for the California Promise Program and legislation to address student homelessness. 

To address the difficulties of reaching students in a virtual environment Hernandez said, “Reaching out to students via social media would be a great resource.” 

Speaking more generally on how to promote more civic engagement in CPP students, Hernandez said, “I definitely think that there’s always room for improvement…. In terms of reaching out through Zoom and social media, I think it’ll be a little bit difficult at times because not everyone is attentive and they have other things going on right now.”  

Still, for Hernandez, the most effective way is to promote civic and political engagement through social media.  

With Hernandez’s successful appointment, Yu and Singh have filled all of the ASI Cabinet’s secretary and officer roles, leaving the elections chair position as the only cabinet-level vacancy. 

This marks the end of the board’s summer meetings as it will take a one-week break and begin the fall semester’s meetings on Aug. 27.  

The agenda, minutes and Zoom link for previous and upcoming board of directors’ meetings can be found at https://asi.cpp.edu/student-government/meetings/board-of-directors/  

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