USG confirms Chief Justice of the Judicial Council, passes four resolutions

Tuesday’s Undergraduate Student Government meeting was the second to last gathering before the new Senate transitions under the Areias-Warren administration. (Michael Melinger | Daily Trojan)

Undergraduate Student Government Senators confirmed Benjamin Morain as the Chief Justice of the Judicial Council during Tuesday’s meeting. Senators also passed four resolutions ranging from providing food accessibility to supporting Burmese students

Morain, a junior majoring in political science, was initially nominated by President Gabe Savage to fill the role on the Judicial Council. While the meeting held an opportunity to debate Morain’s appointment, Senators raised no objections and confirmed Morain unanimously with nine votes. 

“I’m exhilarated and I’m very excited at the prospect of being able to shape the Judicial Council in a way that’s going to continue to maintain the accountability of elected officials and to strive to increase accessibility for the general student body,” Morain said in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “I’m really excited to be in a position where I can make that vision a reality.”

As Chief Justice, Morain will preside over trials and hearings between students and the student government. He also intends to improve his new role by creating an online submission system where students can make complaints and establish an email for the Chief Justice division for students to directly contact the Chief Justice. Morain said he hopes to improve internal communication between USG executives and administration. 

Following Morain’s confirmation, the meeting shifted to passing resolutions — the first being the “Continuing Resolution in Support of CalFresh at USC Campus Eateries.” Authored by members of both USG and the Graduate Student Organization, this resolution would implement a CalFresh program to help provide greater access to nutritional food on campus and ensure food vendors and markets become CalFresh authorized vendors.   

After the resolution passed with 11 unanimous votes, the student government moved to debate “A Resolution in Support of USC Palestinian Students,” which would urge the University to fly the Palestine flag on the exterior of The Center for International and Public Affairs. Authored by the Students for Justice in Palestine and Vice President Trinity Moore, various student assemblies, including the Black Student Assembly and Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation, also supported the resolution. The resolution, which supports the inclusion and representation of students on campus, received 11 unanimous votes in support. 

Vice President Moore presented the third resolution, authored by former USG VP Mahin Tahsin: the “Continuing Resolution in Support of First-Year Course on Student Well-Being,” an initiative to implement THRIVE, a course that would encourage students to be aware of the resources available on campus that would promote good mental health, good physical health and good self-development.  According to the resolution, the course would also equip students with University values and developmental skills as they attend school. The resolution also passed unanimously with no debate.

The last resolution passed, “A Resolution in Support of Myanmar Students,” created in support of Burmese students affected by the coup d’état, was amended to include the support of the Political Student Assembly. Co-author Romeo also specified the situation in Myanmar as one affected by a military junta — a government run by military leaders. 

“We cannot recognize the current military that stole power, or the military junta, as a ‘military government’ because they are not,” Romeo said in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “They have said there’s election fraud, they have claimed things that are not true and they have been killing their citizens.”

The Myanmar resolution successfully passed with eleven unanimous votes. With the resolution now in place, Romeo and other members of the Burmese Student Association intend to communicate with USC administrators to allow support and accommodations for Burmese students affected by the situation, including an extension of the Pass/No Pass deadline and financial assistance for those Burmese students outside and inside Myanmar.

The meeting came to an end with the appointment of Arie Abija, a junior majoring in theater and music production, to parliamentarian. Eleven unanimous votes confirmed her to the position.