ASUC Senate to consider bills regarding housing, Residential and Student Service Programs

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At their meeting Wednesday, the ASUC Senate will consider four bills passed by the University and External Committee this week, including one that addresses a recent city push to regulate activities in some student living spaces.

The bill would institute guidelines for living spaces that range from recycling to guest capacity to alcohol possession. Reorganizing the Residential and Student Service Programs, recognizing the contributions of Filipino farm workers and protesting a Regents’ surcharge were also on the agenda at Monday night’s committee meeting.

SB-84 opposes a city ordinance that was proposed to the Berkeley City Council on March 24, which sets guidelines and restrictions for mini-dorms, which the ordinance also attempts to redefine. According to the ordinance, a mini-dorm is any unit occupied by six or more unrelated adults. Greek and cooperative housing would not be considered mini-dorms as long as they have a resident manager.

One of the restrictions states that gatherings of 10 or more nonresidents must end by 10 p.m. on weeknights, and 12 a.m. on weekends. The senate bill claims that the guidelines put forth by the ordinance severely restrict the ability of students to “congregate, study, and interact” in their own homes.

In addition, the bill criticizes the city’s attempts to use this ordinance to curb alcohol-related injuries and crimes, calling them “ineffective,” and points out that the reason that group-living accommodations are necessary is due to the lack of affordable student housing near campus.

“The City could consider partnering with existing campus efforts like Party [email protected] and working with fraternities, sororities and cooperative houses to ask them how they think it should be addressed,” said Caitlin Quinn, external affairs vice president and the bill’s main sponsor, in an email.

Quinn also suggested the city require developers to build rent-capped units when constructing near campus and to work more closely with groups such as the Berkeley Tenants Union.

The committee also discussed a bill regarding the RSSP, which oversees several programs, including residential and housing services, child care services and Cal Dining. The main goal of the bill is to incorporate more student input into decision-making by having the ASUC president and other students collaborate with administration, according to ASUC Senator Bo Nguyen, the bill’s main sponsor.

The committee also discussed a bill suggesting measures to recognize Filipino farm workers’ contributions to the farmworker labor movement.

The final bill condemns the UC Board of Regents for its “collective punishment of students” through its imposition of an annual $60 surcharge. The bill claims the surcharge was instituted in response to two class action lawsuits filed by students, both of which the university lost. This bill calls for an end to the surcharge, as well as a refund for current and former students.

Contact Ivana Saric at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @ivanas26.