3 more referenda added to this year’s ASUC elections ballot

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Michael Wan/File

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Three referenda have been added to the ASUC ballot for students to vote on this April.

These include an ASUC constitutional clarity amendment, a student fee to fund The Daily Californian and a declaration of action to mitigate Berkeley’s housing crisis.

The Declaration of and Action to Mitigate the Student Housing Crisis Referendum aims to secure support for a statement acknowledging that the increasing student population is suffering from a housing crisis. It demands that the campus administration work with the ASUC to build additional student housing.

“We’re bringing attention to the lack of housing that the university is providing students,” said Boomer Vicente, CalSERVE senator and primary sponsor of the referendum.

The Constitutional Clarity and Consistency Amendment 2016 seeks to correct inconsistencies in the language of the ASUC Constitution. Although a similar amendment was passed in last year’s ASUC elections, ASUC Chief Legal Officer and Attorney General Alek Klimek said this amendment addresses different areas of concern.

“I think it’s healthy to review the ASUC’s governing documents proactively to ensure that they provide an accurate, clear, and transparent description of how the organization functions,” Klimek said in an email.

Klimek said none of the proposed changes would substantially alter how the ASUC functions next year, and added that the goal is to clarify parts of the constitution for certain edge-case scenarios.

The amendment would clarify the line of succession for executive officers other than the ASUC president and permit Fall Program for Freshmen and concurrently enrolled students to hold ASUC positions, among other changes.

The amendment also makes constitutional language more inclusive of students’ gender identities and immigration status, according to the bill.

The Ink Initiative would establish a new $2.50 per semester student fee supporting the Daily Cal’s operations. The Daily Cal is currently supported by a $2 fee approved by the student body in 2012.

The Ink fee, which would run for five years starting after the existing fee’s expiration in 2017, would help close the Daily Cal’s operational deficit and provide more time for transition to a model with less reliance on print advertising revenue, according to Michelle Pitcher, Ink Initiative campaign manager.

Melissa Wen, editor-in-chief and president of the Daily Cal, said the fee would allow the Daily Cal to continue printing free newspapers and retain its training for UC Berkeley students in design, reporting and business operations, among other areas.

“This fee will ensure that for the foreseeable future, the Daily Cal can maintain its independence from the university,” Pitcher said. “(The fee would) ensure we’re able to produce news in its truest and most uninfluenced form.”

Students will also vote on a fourth referendum, the Green Initiative Fund Renewal fee, during the ASUC elections, which will take place April 4, 5 and 6.

Suhauna Hussain is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @suhaunah.

Correction(s):
The headline attached to a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that three referendums were included in this year’s ASUC elections ballot. In fact, three referendums were discussed at Wednesday’s ASUC Senate meeting, while the fourth referendum on the ballot, a fee renewal referendum for The Green Initiative Fund, was approved previously.