ASUC discusses modernization of governing documents, new referendum

Jihoon Park/Staff

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At its regular Wednesday meeting, the ASUC Senate passed into committee two new resolutions that would revamp three ASUC bylaws and heard a presentation from Senator Anthony Carrasco about a potential new referendum for the April ballot, which would help low-income students fund their housing.

Of the two new resolutions, one would modernize the space allocation procedure for student organizations, and the other would combine the Disability Inclusion Grant and the Educational Equity and Excellence Grant into the Non-Traditional Student Equity Grant, a similar grant targeting nontraditional students such as students with disabilities or student veterans.  During guest announcements, Carrasco also introduced a referendum to the Senate which would create a new branch of financial aid for low-income students to make security deposits. Carrasco is currently drafting a resolution to pass the referendum.

According to the text of the first resolution, it will create a new spaces director position in the office of the EVP, whose job will be to portion the areas of space available for use by student organizations and judge applicants on a number of standards, such as the “impact of applicant’s activity on the general welfare of the student body.”

The second resolution comes in response to a low number of applicants for both the Disability Inclusion Grant and the EEE Grant, according to AAVP Frances McGinley, who added that the former received only one applicant in the fall semester and one applicant in the spring 2016 semester. Samar Amidi, AAVP chief of staff, said the language of the EEE Grant was too excessive, and that it was unclear by the name who the grants were supposed to serve.

“We really wanted to continue serving that population but also we had a ton of leftover money in that fund every year, and when that money is not given to students it just goes back to the university, so hopefully this redistribution will help more students,” McGinley said.

Following the passage of the Community and Career Connections Initiative Referendum at the Senate’s special meeting on Sunday, Carrasco introduced the Housing Security Referendum, which would create a new form of financial aid for low-income students to take out security deposits for when they move into off-campus housing. The referendum will be funded through a $4 student fee in place for for four years.

Carrasco said he plans to adapt the referendum as a resolution within two weeks so it can be passed through the Senate, and added that he hopes to include it on the April elections ballot.

“In order to enroll you have to move in, and in order to move in you have to pay a security deposit, and if you’re a low-income student the way you pay the security deposit is through financial aid and the only way to get financial aid is … if you’re enrolled,” Carrasco said at the meeting. “It’s a confusing catch-22, and I found myself ready to start college but unable to do so for my inability to pull $500 out of thin air.”

Sakura Cannestra is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.