Referendum on 2018 ballot could revise ASUC Constitution

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Jinsu Elhance/File

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As ASUC elections draw nearer, more referendums are being added to the ballot — students will be able to vote on a referendum that will revise the ASUC Constitution, and, depending on the outcome of this week’s ASUC meeting, may also be able to vote on key housing issues.

After adding the Student Transformation through Academic Recruitment and Retention, or STARR, referendum in February, the ASUC Senate also added the Enrollment Clarification Act to the 2018 ballot Thursday. During a Wednesday meeting, senators will vote on the Affordable Student Housing Action Plan referendum to decide whether it will make it onto the 2018 ballot.

The purpose of the Enrollment Clarification Act referendum is to build more flexibility for campus students to participate in elections, said Jen Shi, ASUC chief legal officer and sponsor of the referendum.

The referendum aims to clarify the distinction between the terms “registered” and “enrolled” students because, under the ASUC Constitution, the terms are used interchangeably.

Additionally, with the revisions in the Enrollment Clarification Act referendum, the chief personnel officer can run for a fall or spring term instead of being in office for the entire academic school year, according ASUC Senator Taehan Lee.

“It’s a boring referendum; we’re expecting them to pass it,” Lee said.

Matthew Lewis, a member of the ASUC Student Housing Commission, said he is confident that the Affordable Student Housing Action Plan referendum will also pass when it is voted on Wednesday.

The Affordable Student Housing Action Plan referendum is a “follow-up” to the Student Housing Crisis referendum of 2016, which called for the addition of 6,000 student housing units, according to Lewis.

The Affordable Student Housing Action Plan for 2018 has six provisions: the immediate construction of 1,500 beds, a reiteration that the UC Berkeley administration must work in good faith with the ASUC, the prioritization of housing over parking, the effective and quick construction of affordable student housing, the requirement that at least 20 percent of newly developed units be partnered with affordable housing organizations, and the allocation of 5 percent of all units of new housing to homeless students in emergency situations.

Lewis said he feels that the UC Berkeley administration did not work closely enough with students to choose where to place new campus housing. He cited former chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ housing master plan as an example of a lack of collaboration between students and administration on these issues.

“They refused to let any students be in the committee, so not only is that inherently not working in good faith, but it violates an (agreement) between the ASUC and the university, which allows the ASUC to pick two students as representatives,” Lewis said.

Lewis said that with the referendum, he wants to make sure that students have a voice in both suggesting new locations for housing and removing locations suggested by the campus administration.

“The housing one is more major, the other one is more technical, but I think students will support all three referendums,” Lewis said.

Contact Isabella Sabri at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @isabella_sabri.