ASUC Senate committee passes bill aiming to create Real Estate Student Board

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At its weekly meeting Monday, the ASUC Senate’s Governance and Internal Affairs Committee passed a bill on to the senate that seeks to create a Real Estate Student Board.

Written by CalSERVE Senator Haley Broder, the bill hopes to create a board that will act as a channel of communication between the student body and the office of the campus vice chancellor for real estate. The bill was passed to the senate floor by unanimous consent.

The office, headed by Vice Chancellor for Real Estate Robert Lalanne, has in recent months revealed plans to replace Ramona’s Cafe in Wurster Hall with a Vietnamese restaurant, create multiple new residence spaces for students with private partners and assist in the construction of the Berkeley Global Campus at Richmond Bay.

Some of these projects have drawn the ire of campus student groups. For example, objections to the planned expansion into Richmond Bay, which some students believe could have a gentrifying effect, helped fuel protests at last month’s UC Board of Regents meeting.

“There are a lot of valid student concerns that need to be discussed,” Broder said. “Hopefully, the creation of the board will streamline the communication process.”

If passed by the senate, the bill would facilitate the creation of the Real Estate Student Board, which would begin meeting at the start of the 2015-16 academic year. Twelve individuals would sit on the board, including 11 students — five of whom would be selected via an application process, and the rest of whom would be representatives appointed by the ASUC and the Graduate Assembly. Lalanne would also sit on the board and serve as a co-chair alongside a student.

Christine Shaff, director of communications for the campus real estate division, said in an email that the office was surprised at the level of interest the student body has in real estate. She added that the office welcomes the creation of the board and hopes it would increase the level of transparency in proceedings.

Shaff, however, did note the office’s concerns about the board’s ability to relay information about its discussions to the rest of the campus.

Additionally, the meeting saw a contentious discussion about the potential effect of an upcoming bill that would change the way funds are allocated by the ASUC to Greek organizations on campus, making it a first-come, first-served process.

Leaders of the National Panhellenic and Multicultural Greek councils spoke during the meeting. Both voiced concern regarding the effect the bill could have on their chapters, which they feared would not benefit from this bill as much as chapters in the Panhellenic and Interfraternity councils.

Discussion on the bill, including whether it will be passed on to the senate floor, has been postponed until next week’s committee meeting.

Contact Ishaan Srivastava at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ishaansriv.