Senate looks at gender inclusion on CalCentral, meets Ben Gould

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The ASUC Senate met with City Council District 4 candidate Ben Gould, moved three resolutions into committees and passed two resolutions reforming the governing documents and and bylaws of the ASUC at its regular Wednesday meeting.

After Berkeley City Council District 4 candidate Kate Harrison visited the senate last week, campus graduate student Gould spoke during the meeting’s guest announcements session to introduce himself and his platforms to the senators.  The senate later sent three resolutions into committees: one speaking out against the city’s Group Living Accommodations, or GLA, Ordinance, one in support of a CalCentral gender identification option and one in support of a rearrangement of the makeup of chancellor search committees.

Gould, who will be graduating this May with dual master’s degrees in public policy and environmental engineering, said he plans on making the Berkeley community more vibrant, resilient and welcoming to everyone.

“I came to the senate because I wanted to reach out to the senators … to show that that I’m available and accessible,” Gould said.

Later in the meeting, three new business resolutions were passed into committees. One resolution deals with the GLAs, which have been historically opposed by the ASUC and, according to the resolution itself, provides unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles for student housing.  This resolution was passed into the University and External Affairs Committee for further discussion.

Another new business resolution, which was placed in the University and External Affairs Committee, supported efforts to create gender identification options on CalCentral’s webpage. The resolution’s primary sponsor, ASUC Senator Marandah Field-Elliot, and her office have been working on this project since the beginning of the spring semester. Adding this function to CalCentral would save gender-nonconforming students from the emotionally taxing work of personally contacting their professors regarding their pronouns, according to Field-Elliot.

“We’re hoping to work with administration and (the) folks who program the site,” Field-Elliot said. “The bill would be more of a symbolic gesture to show that the student body supports this.”

The other resolution, which was moved into the Governance and Internal Affairs Committee, was primarily sponsored by ASUC Senator Anthony Carrasco and is in direct response to a lack of student involvement with the new chancellor search, according to Carrasco. He noted that disputes from the previous semester spurred this new resolution, which calls for one of the five regent-allocated seats on any chancellor search committee to be allocated to either the student regent, the student regent-designate or the student adviser.

Carrasco noted that earlier drafts of the resolution included adding more students to the search committee, but he and cosponsor ASUC President Will Morrow were worried about congestion within the committee as well as backlash from the UC Board of Regents once the resolution was published.

“Now that they’re about to announce the chancellor, we need to revisit the topic of student representation on the board,” Carrasco said. “This is a very pragmatic and tangible step forward.”

Sakura Cannestra is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.