ASUC committee supports added resources for students after tragedies

Mitzi Perez/Senior Staff

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At its inter-semester committee meeting Thursday, the ASUC Senate unanimously passed two bills to increase support for the communities affected by the recent deaths of two UC Berkeley students in terror attacks abroad.

The two bills, along with a third that was tabled, were spearheaded by senator-elect Anthony Carrasco. One of the bills stipulates that the ASUC send letters to communities affected by the terror attacks, while the other bill advocates that the Tang Center hire a counselor “capable of satisfying the emotional health needs” of the South and Southwest Asian and North African community.

“I chose to take the lead on these bills because what happened in Dhaka affected many of my constituents and several people very close to me,” Carrasco said in an email. “I hope to further investigate and work towards tangible policy innovations regarding study abroad next year with many of my colleagues in the (ASUC) Senate.”

The bills had support from several student officials on campus, such as leaders from the Hindu Students Council, SQUELCH! policy director Anisha Chemmachel and multiple incoming and outgoing senators. The tabled bill — which proposed increased safety training for students enrolled in the Study Abroad Program — was set aside for later discussion until more contact could be made with the coordinators of the program.

Senator Zaynab AbdulQadir expressed support for these bills, which came after two July terror incidents claimed the lives of campus students Tarishi Jain and Nicolas Leslie. She advocated for the ASUC to take an active role in creating more resources for students in minority groups.

“I can help (by) holding myself and my Senate class accountable to honoring the needs of students at the deepest margins of campus,” AbdulQadir said in an email. “I think we’ve taken a lot of positive steps for those underrepresented on campus, but there is still much work to do, which we are getting towards via some of (Carrasco’s) bills.”

Outgoing Senator Zoë Brouns was also a supporter of the three bills, expressing in an email the emotional toll these tragedies have taken on herself and other students.

“I think overall it’s about mental health,” Brouns said. “I co-sponsored these bills because they’re about helping students feel safer in their home communities and their school communities.”

At the meeting, ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Frances McGinley also announced an upcoming report from the ASUC Student Advocate’s Office concerning the impact of the new campus tuition policy, with which she said the ASUC generally disagreed. The policy, which was announced July 18, states students must pay 20 percent of their tuition in advance of the start of classes or have all their enrolled courses dropped.

The next ASUC inter-semester committee of the summer will take place Aug 11.

Contact Vera Esail at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @vesaildc.