ASUC Senate standing committees convene for 1st official meetings

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The ASUC Senate’s three standing committees convened Monday night for the first time this year, launching discussions of future compensation for ASUC senators and a student-led sexual assault commission.

Alek Klimek, chief legal officer and attorney general of the ASUC, drafted the Governing Documents Modernization Act, which refines ambiguous language in the ASUC’s governing documents and specifies proceedings for new policies. The bill was passed by the ASUC Governance and Internal Affairs Committee, in which committee members discussed the introduction of ASUC senators’ biannual stipends.

The original bill, as drafted, stipulated that a senator’s stipend — $250 per semester — would be automatically reduced by 20 percent for every unexcused absence from a senate meeting. After discussion, committee members amended the text to not penalize senators for their first missed meeting as long as they complete three hours of tabling or holding office hours within two weeks of the absence.

According to Will Morrow, ASUC senator and committee chair, the amendments made Monday represent “some of the most important work” of his committee. While he acknowledged that there will be inevitable disagreement in any political sphere, he nevertheless voiced confidence that the senators will reach compromises efficiently.

During the ASUC University and External Affairs Committee meeting, committee members interviewed and nominated UC Berkeley senior Meghan Warner for the position of director of the ASUC Sexual Assault Commission. At Wednesday night’s meeting, the committee withdrew Warner’s nomination in order to allow more applicants to enter the running.

Cooperative Movement Party Senator Sheena Paul was appointed interim director for the commission while the University and External Affairs Committee continues to review applicants. According to SQUELCH! Senator Zoe Brouns, Warner will still be considered for the position, but the senate believes it’s important that the opportunity be open to a wide range of communities.

In April, the student-led commission organized Cal Consent Week and hosted workshops, events and displays for students in order to promote a culture of consent on campus. The workshops addressed issues such as survivor support, increasing men’s involvement in anti-sexual assault campaigns and promoting an education to end sexual violence in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The committee postponed interviews for the director of the DeCal Board Commission until two weeks from Monday. The senate passed Senate Bill 52 in February, which established the commission and gave the commission responsibilities such as managing the online course listings and helping facilitators get funding from the ASUC.

The ASUC Finance Committee met briefly to set community goals for the year but did not make any official decisions or pass legislation. Ultimately, committee members expressed their desires to focus on conducting fair and equal evaluations when funding student organizations, and to reevaluate the ASUC’s investment profile.

Contact Ariel Hayat and Jessie Qian at [email protected].