ASUC Senate meeting covers student involvement in city, local politics

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Wednesday’s regular ASUC Senate meeting focused on the relationship between city politics and campus students, and senators took action on bills related to endorsements and the campus political climate.

A new resolution regarding confusion from ASUC officials on their ability to make political endorsements was passed into committee. The senate also adopted a resolution regarding political inclusivity on campus and made its official endorsements of the local measures and state propositions that will appear on the upcoming November ballot.

The resolution, which was passed into the Governance & Internal Affairs Committee, proposes a new bylaw that would require private endorsements by ASUC officials to include a disclaimer specifying that their stance does not represent the views of the ASUC Senate. Chief Legal Officer Alek Klimek drafted the item after the release of an ad by City Councilmember Susan Wengraf that publicized her endorsement by External Affairs Vice President André Luu without a disclaimer.

“It is considered in good taste to explicitly put ‘title for ID purposes only’ on the endorsement, but I do not believe that this is (currently) an explicit legal requirement,” Klimek said in an email.

Additionally, the senate amended and passed a resolution in support of campus political inclusivity, condemning overtly hateful protests on Sproul Plaza. The resolution was spurred by recent violence against Berkeley College Republicans.

“In previous elections we’ve never had to say this, but unfortunately in this election we have to make (it) clear that violence will not be tolerated,” said Student Action Senator Miranda Hernandez, the resolution’s sponsor.

This resolution initially called for restrictions on protests and would have required campus groups to declare gatherings and demonstrations to the Office of the EAVP at least 24 hours in advance. The original version of the resolution called for a 10 percent decrease in funding for any group that failed to report a gathering that required UC Police Department intervention.

Hernandez noted that she removed these requirements after concern that the limitations may infringe on people’s rights to assemble.

City and state politics were also discussed during the meeting, which began with a speech from mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguin in which he presented his platforms to the senate. After his speech, senators asked him questions about how he would address student life and safety as mayor.

“I’m committed to continuing the work I’ve done on the City Council to fight for students and to make sure that the interest of students is at the forefront of what the city government is addressing,” Arreguin said.

The ASUC Senate also passed multiple resolutions officially endorsing several local ballot measures and California state propositions. Among the items supported were Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and Proposition 62, which would replace death penalty with life imprisonment.

Contact Sakura Cannestra at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.