ASUC Senate passes bill declaring support for increased efforts to combat environmental racism

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Suyang Lu/File

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At its Wednesday meeting, the ASUC Senate passed three bills unanimously. Below are some details about the bills.

  • ASUC Senate Resolution 76 amends the general budget to increase the stipend of the chief technology officer, or CTO, and the chief accountability officer, or CAO, from $1,000 to $1,500 per year.
    • Sponsored by current independent ASUC Senator Sumayyah Din, the resolution states that the CTO and CAO currently receive $1,000 per year, $500 less than the stipends the chief financial officer, chief communications officer and chief legal officer receive.
    • The resolution will be effective immediately in the current term as well as all subsequent terms.
  • ASUC Senate Resolution 79 declares a support for increased ASUC efforts to help combat environmental racism and the climate gap.
    • The resolution, sponsored by CalSERVE Senator Wes Adrianson, cites a definition of environmental racism as “the result of poverty and segregation that has relegated many blacks and other racial minorities to some of the most industrialized or dilapidated environments.”
    • The bill references a 2012 explosion at a Chevron refinery that affected Richmond residents.
    • The bill affirms that the ASUC supports bolstering efforts to address environmental racism such as by actively promoting academics and media to address issues of environmental degradation.
    • It also asks the ASUC to actively question “systematic and environmental racism” locally and globally, according to the resolution.
    • The resolution establishes continued support for groups that address climate injustices, such as the ASUC Sustainability Team and Fossil Free UC.
  • ASUC Senate Resolution 80 establishes the Sustainability Team (STeam) as a commission in order to increase the ASUC’s commitment to environmental and sustainably focused projects.
    • Some of the responsibilities of the commission include creating projects to address campus environmental problems, to serve as a liaison between students and the ASUC and to promote ASUC internal sustainability.
    • In the past, STeam has coordinated projects such as Earth Week and The Local, the campus’s first student-run produce stand.
    • The opportunity will be provided for the ASUC to more directly pursue environmental advocacy.
    • STeam will receive a minimum of $4,000 per year from the ASUC.
    • The commission consists of seven voting members, including the ASUC executive vice president, and a potentially unlimited number of nonvoting members through a majority vote process.

At its previous meeting April 6, the ASUC Senate passed two bills:

  • The first bill, Senate Resolution 75, establishes an ad hoc general committee dedicated to exploring issues facing the undocumented community on campus, such as housing insecurity.
    • The committee is responsible for maintaining the Undocumented Theme Program, or UTP, to continue subsidizing the cost of residential housing, as well as work on the community and educational development for undocumented students living in the residential halls.
    • It is also responsible for bringing financial support for UTP, for example by contacting private donors or applying for the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Student Services and Fees grant through the ASUC.
    • The ASUC Undocumented Students Committee will be overseen by current Student Action Senator Grace Ho Jung Kim for the next year.
  • ASUC Senate Resolution 77 expresses “no confidence” in UC Berkeley’s current sexual misconduct adjudication and disciplinary procedures for cases involving faculty. The bill further states a list of demands — including one that calls for the resignation of  Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele — that aim to improve the current process.
    • The bill demands for the resignation or termination of Steele as well as former dean of UC Berkeley School of Law Sujit Choudhry.
    • The resolution calls on UC Berkeley to work with various entities, such as the department of gender and women’s studies, to find an appropriate third party to conduct investigations into the disciplinary process regarding faculty sexual violence.
    • The ASUC asks the campus to ensure there is proper support and resources for survivors on campus who were sexually harassed by a faculty member, referencing Geoff Marcy and Choudhry’s cases.

Sujin Shin covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sujinjshin.