ASUC Senate discusses 5 bills, future of Cal Lodge at meeting

Audrey McNamara/File

The ASUC Senate unanimously passed five bills at its general meeting Wednesday and discussed the future of the Cal Lodge — an ASUC-owned hotel-like property in Lake Tahoe, California.

The five approved bills focused on state, local and ASUC elections, with one addressing endorsements for public office candidates from ASUC officers and senators as private individuals. That day, the senate had its fourth closed session meeting to deliberate on whether or not to sell the property because its lack of revenue.

The Cal Lodge has been in deficit for the last two to three years, according to ASUC Chief Financial Officer Paul Cho. The lodge, which lost $169,326 between 2007 and 2013, has been a recurring topic of discussion for the senate in recent years to consider renovations and new strategies to make the property profitable.

“We’ve been bleeding money on Cal Lodge for quite a long time,” Cho said. “If the current practice continues for another decade, then it will definitely cause a financial problem to the ASUC.”

The Cal Lodge is currently used to create revenue for the ASUC via vacation rentals. The property can be rented by students and alumni at a discount, but is also listed on public platforms like Airbnb.

According to Cho, management of the Cal Lodge was previously handled by the executive vice president but was transferred, along with the ASUC Business Administration and Operations department, to the chief financial officer this year.

Cho said previous members of the ASUC Senate and executive boards were hesitant to sell the property because of its sentimental significance to campus, having been owned and operated by the ASUC since 1939.

Cho added that if the senate decides to sell the property, it would still take two years to complete the sale. In the meantime, he hopes to raise awareness about the Cal Lodge and the discounts students and campus-related alumni can utilize upon renting the lodge — $200 per night.

On Wednesday night, the Senate also considered a resolution that criticizes the UC’s current plan to increase student enrollment systemwide in exchange for increased state funds.

“Some campuses can handle this, but Berkeley is in no situation to be increasing enrollment,” said the bill’s sponsor, CalSERVE Senator Rigel Robinson, in an email, citing the lack of affordable housing and impacted courses. “It’s past time for us to recenter and prioritize making sure students at Cal are able to get the resources they need to survive and succeed here.”

The resolution criticized the abolition of housing guarantees for first-year students and stated that campus solutions like Global Edge and Fall Program for Freshman in San Francisco to address these issues have been ineffective.

The senate will reconvene for its next general meeting Wednesday. Senate meetings can be viewed live online.

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