ASUC Senate bills address Maher, policies for minorities

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Ariel D. Hayat/File

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On Wednesday, the ASUC Senate passed two bills concerning the commencement speaker selection process and another that aims to improve policies for minorities. A bill concerning the investment management of the ASUC was passed but will be tabled for further consideration next week.

Sponsored by independent Senator Marium Navid and CalSERVE Senator King Xiong, respectively, the two bills were discussed in committees earlier in the week Monday and approved at the senate meeting Wednesday.

SB 34, which addresses the selection of TV host Bill Maher as December keynote speaker, was pulled for further discussion at the senate meeting with 16 senators present.

At the senate external and university committee, the bill underwent a title change from “A Bill in Support of the Call from Students to Stop Bill Maher from Being the Fall 2014 Commencement Speaker” to “A Bill in Support of Solidifying a Commencement Speaker Selection Process in Response to the Confirmation of Bill Maher.”

“The issue has expanded to something larger than just the choice of the speaker,” Navid said, referring to how the administration reacted with public statements and how she said student concerns weren’t legitimized.

The bill also further demands the ASUC be involved in the selection process for all future undergraduate commencement speakers and invites Maher to a “public forum to discuss issues related to the concerns brought up by students before the December commencement,” a suggestion provided by the campus.

SB 32 expresses the ASUC’s support of the “All Students Count Act,” which, if passed by Congress, will make the race data reported by the Department of Education more specific. The act aims to avoid the generalization and lumping together of races by adding several race groups identified by the decennial census of population.

Graduate student Jasmine Hughes and UC Berkeley School of Law student Talia Schwartz were confirmed to fill vacant seats on the ASUC Judicial Council.

The senate also considered a bill concerning the investment management of the ASUC. If passed, it would suspend the investment committee and appoint ASUC President Pavan Upadhyayula and finance officer Dennis Lee as the ex officio primary contacts with Boston Trust, an investment management company that has overseen the ASUC’s investments since May 2000. It will be considered for further consideration at the next finance committee meeting Monday.

On Monday, the senate External & University Affairs Committee will discuss bills demanding the freezing and reduction of tuition, demanding justice for the Iguala mass kidnapping and supporting the creation of a sustainable campus landscape.

Heyun Jeong covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @heyunjeong.