Associated Students Inc. (ASI) approved a menstrual equity initiative, new water refill stations, club sports grants and the appointment of a senator to the subcommittee in the March 23 ASI senate meeting.
ASI approved a $6,500 menstrual equity initiative spearheaded by Senator of Operations and Resident Affairs Megan Torres after a lengthy and heated debate.
Torres’ initiative drew criticism from the ASI senate for not informing the executive cabinet and ASI director James Martinez about how the proposal would be funded.
“Well, financially, I really only would have required the support of [Vice President of Finance Anou Vang] being seen as though she is more aware of our financial situation because that is her title and [vice president of external affairs Caroline] Alvarez has been there to support me in my project on a direct basis. So, I feel as though they were the ones relevant in this situation,” Torres said.
Martinez clarified to the senate that, by not informing the cabinet or himself about the proposal, necessary rules and regulations to purchase the menstrual products were not followed. Martinez noted that he was not made aware of the proposal until during the senate meeting.
“There are provisions that are triggered within the bylaws and policies where we have to put it out to bid to special vendors. Also I would like to be informed about these as it impacts the budget, which I’m primarily responsible for along with the ASI president,” Martinez said.
Torres acknowledged that she had only informed cabinet member Vang about potential funding resources they could utilize. Vang noted that they could potentially fund it through the reserves pool, she said.
Initially, the proposal projected cost was $5,000. However, Torres requested an additional $1,500 citing a need to restock menstrual products across campus with the hope that the university would help the initiative later down the line.
“It was going to be dependent on when our university meeting was because if the university meeting had been scheduled earlier, then I wouldn’t have proposed this because then I would have felt confident in our stock and depending on how that meeting went that would be determined if I was choosing to present this proposal or not,” Torres said.
The discussion item was approved for vote during the meeting. The proposal passed with 11 senators voting in favor, one abstention from Torres, and one nay from Nigel Vigan, senator for the Craig School of Business.
Senator for College of Science and Mathematics Jacqueline Campos Ledemzma presented an initiative to create new water refill stations in both the Science I and Science II buildings.
The proposal seeks to replace the water drinking fountains on the second and third floors of the buildings with water refilling stations. Currently, only the first floor of both buildings have water refill stations.
Ledemzma acknowledged a cost increase since the initial proposal. The water refill stations were totaled at $1,645 per unit, but now have a new estimated cost of $6,580.
Ledemzma told the ASI senate council that Fresno State’s Facilities Management partnered with her, offering to waive the cost of installation and labor cost should it get approved.
“I believe in my proposal. I think that this is not only increasing accessibility, it’s also promoting sustainability and also improving our overall sanitation on campus,” Ledemzma said.
The proposal passed unanimously.
ASI senators also approved two club sports grants, $1,200 for the kendo club and $3,000 for the women’s water polo team.
The kendo club requested $1,200 to purchase new sparring equipment also known as kendōgu (“kendo equipment”). The women’s water polo team intends to use the funds towards renting out the Clovis East High School Olympic-sized swimming pool for practices, coaches fees and new equipment.
Both proposals were approved unanimously.
Vigan was elected to the academic senate subcommittee of student ratings. Prior to the vote, Senator of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Karen Carrillo requested that the senate elect her instead of Vigan for the position.
“This is something that I am truly passionate about and I care about. And this is one of those reasons why I believe I’d be best fit to serve on this committee because I want to be the voice of the students,” Carrillo said.