ASUC Senate debates legality of Berkeley College Republicans funding reallocation resolution

Michael Wan/Blog Staff

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ASUC senators left the senate chambers on two separate occasions at Wednesday night’s meeting to discuss funding for Berkeley College Republicans, as well as the bridges Multicultural Resource Center, an organization that aims to recruit and retain students of color.

Senator Rizza Estacio proposed a resolution that would reallocate all of the Berkeley College Republicans’, or BCR, funding to the Black Student Union, or BSU. A second resolution would cancel funding for the bridges Multicultural Resource Center, or bridges. The senate will make a decision on these resolutions next Thursday at the final ASUC meeting of the semester.

Estacio said BSU is in need of additional funding and that BCR’s behavior during events such as Free Speech Week was inconsistent with school policy.

“Some of what this organization has done has broken regulations that we uphold to every registered student organization,” Estacio said. “I want to make it clear that if you break these rules, you are no longer eligible for our funding.”

ASUC housing commission member Matthew Lewis voiced his concerns about the legality of the BCR resolution, and president Zaynab AbdulQadir-Morris added that “zeroing out BCR is a lawsuit.”

“I am not a Republican, but this is the baseless and woeful targeting of an organization,” said Senator Megha Torpunuri at the meeting. “We should not be going back due to baseless targeting.”

The other resolution would withhold funding from bridges in light of the passage of the Student Transformation through Academic Recruitment and Retention, or STARR, referendum earlier this month.

The organization will not receive the funding until next fall, however, because the STARR referendum will begin in fall 2018, according to the referendum’s text.

“We’re really confused, because (the ASUC) said they are going to take away our bridges funding,” Randy Rivera, a finance manager of Raíces Recruitment and Retention Center and a bridges advocate, said at the meeting. “That means that next year, we will have to cut our programs. We still need money for programs that we do for orientation. STARR doesn’t pay out until a month after.”

The main issue with the bridges resolution is that it was submitted Monday, according to AbdulQadir-Morris. She added that resolutions have to be on notice for at least a week, except in an emergency — the senate discussed the legality of considering the resolution in the meeting, leading to a second recess.

Chancellor Carol Christ also made an appearance at the meeting to discuss her plans for housing, tuition and undocumented student safety, among other issues, after she postponed her senate visit earlier this semester.

Dominick Williams, EAVP legislative director, said he was disappointed in the way the bridges resolution was handled.

“Let me cut the senate some slack — some of the members are brand new — but I don’t think that excuses the impact of the actions that are taken,” Williams said. “I think that the ASUC Senate, taking a student perspective, is incompetent, ununified and just messy.”

Contact Isabella Sabri at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @isabella_sabri.