ASUC Senate passes resolutions regarding Coward, Marcy, housing at regular meeting

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The ASUC Senate adopted eight resolutions during its regular Wednesday night meeting, held for the first time in the new Eshleman Hall senate chambers.

SR-21, which calls for a transparent investigation of the contract nonrenewal of math lecturer Alexander Coward, was adopted at the meeting. The resolution also recommends the ASUC academic affairs vice president and ASUC president send a letter to various campus administrators on behalf of the ASUC “in support of an impartial investigation of Dr. Coward’s termination.”

Senators also passed SR-18, which establishes an ASUC housing committee that would discuss measures for UC Berkeley students to obtain “additional affordable, quality housing.” The committee will possibly contain, among others, one member from the Berkeley Student Cooperative, one member jointly nominated by the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council and one member from the UC Berkeley University Village Residents Association.

“This committee would be a great way to consolidate student action,” said Executive Vice President Lavanya Jawaharlal.

SR-28, which places no confidence in UC Berkeley’s current adjudication process and disciplinary procedures for faculty sexual violence and harassment towards students, was also passed at the Wednesday meeting. The resolution responds to former astronomy professor Geoffrey Marcy’s resignation from campus after he was implicated in a breach of campus sexual harassment policies, and holds the UC Office of the President’s Task Force on Preventing Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault responsible for the protection of students through preventing Marcy from teaching, advising and mentoring in the UC system.

“This is a very well-written bill that brings to light the issues of sexual assault handling on campus in the right way,” Jawaharlal said.

CalSERVE Senator Boomer Vicente proposed SR-25, which supports subcontracted workers in their insourcing campaigns. An independent custodial contractor of UC Berkeley, Performance First Building Services, is currently under investigation on allegations of underpaying and refusing to pay workers for overtime.

“This bill is symbolic for both the workers and the ASUC,” said Vicente. “We should stand in solidarity with the workers, we should support their fight.”

Apart from passing resolutions, the senate also heard a presentation from Bahar Navab, the Student Health Insurance Plan manager at UC Berkeley. According to Student Action Senator Will Morrow, who is one of two undergraduate representatives on the Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee, UC Berkeley SHIP is possibly looking for another company to replace Aetna Student Health, the current medical, counseling and prescription provider.

“We want student input on what constitutes affordable health insurance for students,” Morrow said. “We don’t want students to pay more than they have to, but we also want students to get everything they need.”

Berkeley SHIP currently also provides vision services through the outside company VSP and dental services through MetLife.

The ASUC Senate will reconvene Nov. 4.

Jessie Qian covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jessieq96.