ASUC senate committees move forward with bills on anti-Semitism, new student fee

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ASUC senate committees passed six bills on to the senate — including one in support of a student advocacy and representation fee — at their meetings Monday evening.

The bills that passed addressed issues such as anti-Semitism, student fees and UC governance.

SB-60 advocates for the adoption of a systemwide annual optional student fee of $6 to directly fund the UC Student Association, a board that aims to represent students across the UC system. The association is currently funded by the student governments that participate. The undergraduate government at UC Irvine and graduate goverments at UC Davis and UC San Diego are not members of UCSA, but the association considers all UC campuses regardless of membership.

A Bill Condemning Anti-Semitism, SB-55, also passed in Monday’s meeting. The bill condemns what it refers to as “hateful incidents” that occurred at the UC Davis chapter house of Alpha Epsilon Pi in January, in addition to creating an ad hoc ASUC committee to fight anti-Semitism on campus. The bill also requires ASUC executives to ask Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and dean of students Joseph Greenwell to hold a meeting regarding anti-Semitism.

“We truly want to take a stance,” said Student Action Senator Ori Herschmann, who sponsored the bill. “The Jewish community wants to see the student government take a stance.”

Herschmann said he hopes to work with other UC campuses, and eventually every major U.S. university, to pass similar bills.

Additionally the committee passed SB-56, A Bill in Support of Food Security at UC Berkeley. The bill calls for the establishment of the Food Security Committee, which is currently a voluntary committee without a campus administrator as a leader, as an official campus committee.

According to ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Mon-Shane Chou, this committee would fill what she sees as a gap in the handling of health and wellness at UC Berkeley. Chou sponsored the bill along with CalSERVE Senator Melissa Hsu.

“We all see this problem and we need to solve it,” Chou said. “But we need the buy-in from the campus administration itself to put more accountability and resources into a committee like this.”

SB-58 voices support for the California Senate Constitutional Amendment 1, which would put the UC back under the state’s legislative control. The university would still maintain power over its academics and curriculum.

“(This amendment) is an important step towards democratic accountability of the UC,” said ASUC External Affairs Vice President Caitlin Quinn in an email. “We can vote legislators and governors out of office; we had no chance to vote for or against any Regents or the President and her staff.”

ASUC Senate vice chair Alek Klimek also presented a report on potential modifications of the structure of the senate to the Governance and Internal Affairs Committee. He outlined four ideas — to increase the number of senate seats, elect half of the seats each semester, create district senators in addition to general senators and increase graduate student representation.

The senate will consider the bills at its Wednesday meeting.

Sonja Hutson covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson.