ASUC Senate passes bill to make DeCal Board into ASUC commission

Rachael Garner/Staff
The ASUC Senate meets Wednesday in Anna Head Alumnae Hall. During the meeting, the senate voted to pass the DeCal Board Act.

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The ASUC Senate passed a bill proposing the establishment of the DeCal Board as an ASUC commission at this week’s senate meeting.

SB 52, the DeCal Board Act, establishes a set of bylaws that outline funding procedures and specific position roles for the DeCal Board, on which the academic affairs vice president will sit as an ex-officio member.

As a commission and direct unit of the ASUC, the board will receive minimum funding of $5,000 per year and “preference in the funding and space reservation processes,” according to the bill.

For the 2013-14 year, the DeCal program requested and received $5,000 in funding as a student-initiated service group. In 2012-13, it received $5,148.78 after requesting $5,500.

CalSERVE Senator Melissa Hsu — who sponsored the bill — said she had “noticed a lot of inefficiencies that could easily be mitigated” from her experience on the board as an intern and budget manager in her first and second years, respectively.

DeCal Board president Xiu Ji Mia Keefe said talk of housing DeCals under the ASUC began at the end of winter break. She wrote the bill with two senior board advisers and board vice president Wan Wan Liu.

“(It’ll be a) great collaboration for (the ASUC) to learn about the DeCal program as well as for us to learn and be under the senate,” Keefe said.

She said she looks forward to “automatically” receiving funding every year as well as utilizing the ASUC internship program to receive a larger variety of applicants for the board’s own interns.

Hsu also said she hopes the board will be able to explore the possibility of receiving funding from the student technology fee as well as improving accessibility of DeCals on its website.

The board’s president, who will act as the chief commissioner, will be nominated by the commission and appointed by the senate. He or she can also be removed by a two-thirds majority vote by the senate.

At the same meeting, SB 44, entitled “A Bill Amending Finance Bylaws,” was also passed, adding further specifications on the spending of ASUC funds by student groups, such as prohibiting the purchase of prizes or gifts.

Funding caps for student activity groups — which are dependent on how long the group has received funding — were also increased from $200 to $400 for the group’s first year, increased from $400 to $500 for its second year and decreased from $600 to $500 for its third year. Student-initiated service groups were given new caps of $500 for their first year and $600 for their second and third years each.

The senate also authorized the $15,000 contract with Front Group Design, an outside website development and design company, to revamp the ASUC website.

The appointment of Shoujit Banerjee as the ASUC Judicial Council public defender was pulled and tabled.

The next senate meeting will be held Wednesday.

Heyun Jeong is a news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @heyunjeong.