ASUC Senate passes resolution to increase diversity

Ariel D. Hayat/Staff

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The ASUC Senate passed a resolution that will build upon previous efforts to raise awareness about marginalized communities at its regular Wednesday meeting.

The senate passed eight resolutions at the meeting, one of which rechartered the Diversity Affairs Committee. The committee was formed to help the senate better support campus minorities.

ASUC Senator Zaynab AbdulQadir-Morris, who sponsored the rechartering of the Diversity Affairs Committee, said the committee is meant to make ASUC diversity efforts more efficient and spark dialogue between multicultural affairs officials in different offices.

“Many of my peers have multicultural offices and officers related to diversity. … What happens is that each new leadership contacts the (campus and administrative) groups … multiple times,” AbdulQuadir-Morris said. “I think that’s disrespectful for campus to have to answer the same email multiple time.”

The ASUC Diversity Affairs Committee previously existed as a commission until the end of the 2014-15 academic year, but was disbanded because of inactivity, ASUC Chief Legal Officer Alek Klimek said in an email. He added that there has been “community interest in reestablishing the Commission,” but it will need to be a productive committee for one year before it can be elevated into a permanent commission.

According to ASUC Senator Chris Yamas, there is also a Transfer and Non-Traditional Community Committee, which has representatives from every unit of the Center for Educational Equity and Excellence and supports dialogue between different communities and individuals. Yamas said their intersecting goals will help the two committees to better serve their communities.

“I see the two as being complementary and in support of one another,” Yamas said. “The transfer community is a more diverse racial (community) than the freshman admit body so that’s … one example of how I see the Diversity Affairs Committee and the transfer community being able to collaborate.”

The senate has taken other actions aimed at aiding campus minorities, including organizing Wednesday’s Basic Needs Resource Fair. At the event, about 15 campus and community organizations tabled on Lower Sproul to showcase the resources available for students and community members struggling with housing and food insecurity.

While this is the first ever resource fair, one of the organizers, Miranda Paez, who is Senator Yamas’s deputy community organizing director, said they hope to hold the event annually or even semesterly.

The senate will have a short meeting during RRR week and will reconvene after winter break. Likewise, the Diversity Affairs Committee will begin organizing at the start of the spring semester, according to AbdulQuadir-Morris.

“For some people (the committee’s goal) is policy oriented; for some people it’s just that conversations about greater student needs are intersectional,” AbdulQuadir-Morris said. “I think it’s more effective if we make this work more cohesive and centralized.”

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