ASI adopts amended 2020-2021 action plan, proposing possible health fee increase and family housing

Following the approval of amendments, the ASI Board of Directors unanimously adopted executive
leaders’ proposed 2020-2021 Action Plan during its Sept. 10 meeting, with the amendments including
a possible student health fee increase and the establishing family housing at Cal Poly Pomona.

ASI Vice President Manshaan Singh outlines the board’s agenda at the beginning of the Sept. 10 meeting.

The action plan is divided into three domains: ASI, allyship and advocacy. The allyship domain, where board members focused their amendment efforts, contains initiatives that are not within ASI’s sole jurisdiction, but may be accomplished through partnerships with university departments.

Agriculture Sen. Delilah Orta began the amending process by moving to add the possibility of increasing the student health service fee to the plan’s already stated goal of partnering with Counseling & Psychological Services to increase the number of counselors on campus.

This amendment, which reflects Orta’s previously stated position on the matter, spurred discussion and ultimately a recommendation from ASI Executive Director Liz Roosa Millar to change Orta’s amendment so that the action plan would commit to “exploring” the possibility of a health fee increase.

Roosa Millar’s recommendation came following discussion on whether Orta’s original amendment put ASI in the position of explicitly endorsing a student fee increase. Orta agreed with the recommendation to modify her amendment’s wording.

ASI President Lucy Yu, who voiced her apprehension about explicitly endorsing a student fee increase, said, “I am glad that we put in language in the document that basically said this is something we will think about. I am not ready to make a choice, as president, one way or the other, whether or not I think we should increase the fee or shouldn’t increase the fee.”

In discussing the possibility of a fee increase within the context of students’ regular expenses and the pandemic’s impact on the state and national economies, Yu said, “I would question, ‘Is this the year to really talk about a fee increase?’”

Still, with the action plan’s mention of the increase as a possibility, Yu said that she will have a clearer position on whether to put up a fee increase proposal to a student referendum after a student town hall on the subject and further community conversations to understand how much impact it could pose.

ASI Vice President Manshaan Singh similarly shared concerns on ASI being too “rash” with explicitly calling for a health fee increase before investigating the matter further and described the tempering of Orta’s original amendment as “a good compromise.”

Orta’s amendment also included another adjustment to the action plan’s CAPS section wording: changing the policy goal of “adding cultural competency amongst staff” to “ensuring the team of counselors reflect the student body.” The amendment, seconded by Inter-Hall Council Senator-At-Large Prabhat Jammalamadaka, was then put up for a vote where it garnered unanimous approval with 12 votes.

Singh also introduced an amendment to the action plan that among smaller rewording changes, would expressly advocate for further university housing initiatives such as the establishment of permanent family housing.

This amendment comes after an ASI town hall, co-hosted by Singh, where students widely supported the implementation of on-campus housing for students who are married, in a domestic partnership or are parents.

Singh’s amendment was also unanimously approved by the board with a 12-0 vote.

As family housing now takes its place within the organization’s policy priorities, Singh stated that the first step in realizing this goal would be for ASI student leaders to understand the progress the university has already made in this direction.

While Singh stated that he believes the university is “working on” establishing family housing, he also acknowledged that he has not seen anything from CPP so far.

Yu argued that with University Housing Services operating under a maximum of 250 students living on campus, this could be an optimum year to “kickstart” the process of implementing family housing.

With the action plan now adopted, Yu described its approval as a “big milestone” for her administration, noting that the ASI Action Plan had been on the minds of Yu and Singh since before they were elected, as the duo had used the agenda’s layout and structure to communicate their policy proposals as candidates.

“In my eyes, I think it really reflects what the student body needs right now,” said Yu.

In addition to the action plan’s adoption, the board also approved Yu’s recommendation of a new secretary of basic needs after Jayla Littlejohn, who had been approved to the basic needs position
in July, stepped down prior to the semester’s start.

In response to the unforeseen departure, Yu and Singh turned to Rosalia Armas, a second-year sociology student, who had previously been in consideration for the position, to recommend to the
board for approval.

During her recommendation, Yu spoke highly of Armas’s experience saying, “Rosalia … has centered student needs in her education so far. She has helped serve food to those in need on Skid Row and has worked in crisis intervention through Project Sister. Rosalia has also worked as a student care assistant in our very own Poly Pantry, thus already bringing in an understanding of how we address basic needs within ASI throughout the campus. We are confident that she brings a host of skills and knowledge necessary for the position and to excel in her work.”

With another unanimous 12-0 vote, Armas was successfully approved to serve as the ASI secretary of basic needs.

The board is scheduled to meet again on Thursday, Sept. 24. 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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