ASUC bills propose new student committees in 1st fall semester meeting

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The ASUC Senate conducted its first meeting of the fall semester Wednesday night, introducing bills aimed at addressing student safety and campus technological changes with new student committees.

During the meeting, the senate also discussed changes made to the cancel for nonpayment policy, the deadline of which was extended following negotiations between the ASUC and the campus. The meeting was originally scheduled for last Wednesday, but was canceled because of a miscommunication, said Executive Vice President Alicia Lau in an email.

One proposed committee will focus on student safety, as outlined in a bill by Student Action Senator Jay Choi in response to the high rates of crime on or near campus — the highest rate of all UC campuses, according to the bill’s language.

“My office wrote this resolution in response to the senseless outbreaks of violence both on our campus and in surrounding areas, essentially affecting every student,” Choi said in an email.

Choi added that he plans for the committee to actively work with both UCPD and Berkeley Police Department on these issues.

SQUELCH! Senator Anthony Carrasco sponsored a different bill in support of the Responsible Bystander Policy that went into effect last month. The UC Berkeley policy aims to improve safety by exempting students who call emergency services for another intoxicated student from campus substance violations.

“The first eight weeks of the semester see a large number of drug and alcohol related transports, injuries, and even deaths,” Carrasco said in an email. “And given that the number of reason folks don’t call for help when they need it is fear of discipline, this should spur a lot of bystander intervention.”

In light of changes such as the cancel for nonpayment policy, or CNP, Student Action Senator Andrew-Ian Bullitt proposed forming a new student advisory committee to focus on issues relating to student information systems such as CalCentral. The committee would also aim to provide student representation prior to and after changes have been made to such processes by administration.

“This committee is crucial because policies like CNP that disproportionately affect certain groups of students (in this case low-income students) should always have student feedback before implementation,” Bullitt said in an email.

The bills submitted this week will be brought back to the senate floor if passed by the standing committees.

In addition, to avoid scheduling conflicts for future meetings, the senate moved the starting time for its Wednesday meetings to 8:10 p.m.

Senate standing committees will not meet next Monday on Labor Day, but the next ASUC Senate meeting will be held Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Vera Esail covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @vesaildc.