The ASUC Senate unanimously passed a resolution at its meeting Wednesday to temporarily move the bridges Multicultural Resource Center and the Queer Alliance Resource Center to the fourth floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union and provide them priority reservations on the fifth floor.
The resolution comes after ongoing protests by bridges and QARC, in which the centers demanded the Cal Student Store and the fifth floor of Eshleman Hall, respectively, in place of their current location in the Eshleman Hall basement. The resolution states that the new spaces will serve only as temporary locations for the centers and demands that campus administration work to provide QARC and bridges with a permanent location.
“We were working on that bill for a really long time so we’re super grateful that it passed,” said Executive Director of bridges Carolyn Nguyen, who added that the organizations will likely move into the new space by spring 2017. “It’s one step toward our longer vision and our longer goal to get a space that we deserve on campus.”
The unanimous senate passage of the resolution was met with applause by members of QARC and bridges present at the meeting. To be implemented, the resolution must now be approved by the ASUC Student Union Board of Directors.
ASUC senators at the meeting voiced their support for the student centers and their work.
“I want to applaud everyone in this room for the work that they’ve done … I’m extremely honestly humbled by the work that you all do,” said independent Senator Alaa Aissi during the meeting. “This is a big step forward and I’m looking forward to what’s to come.”
Various senators said that going forward, they hope to form a better dialogue with QARC and bridges, noting previous tensions between the centers and the ASUC.
“There’s a difference between holding folks accountable and bullying them,” said Student Action senator Miranda Hernandez in the meeting. “I really wish that our conversations first started out as more of a dialogue instead of students being pit against students.”
The bill demands that campus administration make adjustments to the fourth floor of the MLK Student Union to make the space more visible and useful for bridges and QARC by placing signs that identify the locations of the centers, increasing light in the space and modernizing furnishments.
The ASUC Student Union Board previously offered the centers spaces in the Anna Head Alumnae Hall, the fourth floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union and Hearst Field Annex Building A, which QARC and bridges rejected.
According to Nguyen, the centers are currently in conversation with UC Berkeley about determining permanent spaces.
“Given the post-Trump election … there’s a lot of sentiments that are anti our own communities or the communities that we do serve so (we’re) finding ways how we can empower these students and that, in part, is physical space,” said bridges Director of Retention Janice Le. “But there’s a much longer fight in terms of what students of color and what queer and/or trans students deserve.”