ASUC referendum could secure long-term funding for underrepresented students

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The ASUC Senate passed a resolution in support of the Student Transformation through Academic Recruitment and Retention, or STARR, referendum at its regular Wednesday meeting, securing the referendum’s spot on the spring 2018 ballot.

The STARR referendum will secure long-term funding for the bridges Multicultural Resource Center, or bridges, and its affiliated recruitment and retention centers, as California law prohibits schools from funding these types of programs. The senate also passed a resolution dispersing the money gained from the sale of Cal Lodge, which was authorized in a senate resolution Feb. 7.

“With the passage of STARR, bridges staff will be (paid) workstudy rates, professional staff can be hired to support bridges, and programing that is instrumental for the outreach to high school/ transfer students can increase,” ASUC Senator Rizza Estacio said in an email. “Other UC’s that passed similar referenda saw an increase in student body diversity!”

Bridges will use the fee to recruit and retain underrepresented students “through outreach programs, academic services, mentorship programs, tutoring services, peer counseling services and educational development programs,” according to the senate resolution.

If the referendum passes, the current $3 campus fee that funds bridges would increase to $26.50 in the fall and spring semesters.

“STARR is a referendum of protest, of calling out the University’s complicitness is the dwindling of student services geared toward students of color, and forcing them to understand how students, staff, and faculty consider diversity to be their top priority,” Estacio said in an email. “We want the study body to stand together to show the university that diversity is our strength and without it we cannot claim to be a great ‘public’ institution.”

Also voted on at the meeting was a resolution outlining the allocation of the revenue gained from the sale of the Cal Lodge, which closed within a week of Jan. 17. Of the the $502,000 earned in the sale, $70,000 was allocated to the acquisition of Berkeleytime software and the rest was set aside to be allocated at a later time.

Cal Lodge was a retreat lodge in Norden, California that the ASUC owned; it was listed to be sold Dec. 6, 2017 because of deficits from disrepair. While Cal Lodge was originally purchased for campus student organizations to rent, low booking and constant disrepair of the cabin resulted in the money allocated toward keeping the lodge being spent faster than it could be replaced with bookings.

“This bill would entail listing Cal Lodge on the market to be sold to Beriha Magalli Yoho for a purchase price of $502,000.00,” the resolution authorizing the listing reads. “The property will be sold in its entirety and in its current state.”

Contact Mariam Zagub at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @MZagub.