ASUC Senate hears local government candidate pitches, Vote Coalition updates

Daniela Cervantes/Staff

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ASUC senators heard statements from candidates for local office and learned about the Vote Coalition’s efforts, during Wednesday’s regular ASUC Senate meeting.

The Vote Coalition is in the office of the External Affairs Vice President, and is tasked with registering students to vote and keeping students informed during election years. City Council District 7 candidate Rigel Robinson and District 4 candidate Councilmember Kate Harrison both spoke during public comment to inform the senate about their campaigns for the upcoming November election.

“The endorsements of key student leaders should be valuable to anyone running for office in this city, not just me,” Robinson said. “The endorsements of ASUC leaders really do carry clout and should be taken seriously.”

As the November elections approach, Vote Coalition director Dana Alpert said the Vote Coalition is aiming to engage as many students as possible, including communities who feel disconnected from the political system, and wants to remind students that voting is an important civic duty. Jeremy Saraie, the Vote Coalition’s voter registration co-manager, also said the campus should look into establishing an institutionalized civic engagement process.

The Vote Coalition is planning to create a texting service that helps register students to vote and sends them reminders of when to vote. They are also planning a competition for student groups that would award the groups for adding students to the texting service.

Alpert said they are planning to launch the app and ensuing competition in October, one month before the elections.

“It’s a great way to be accessible to people. We’re hoping it’ll be really effective,” Alpert said. “(We’re) just holding them accountable for following through on voting.”

One senate resolution was introduced at the meeting — a proposal that would restructure the Housing Security Fee Oversight Committee, which is responsible for dispersing the Housing Security Award Fund to students who face housing insecurity. The resolution restructures the committee through adding a graduate student co-chair, along with institutionalizing the committee’s hiring and voting processes.

According to Senator Regina Kim, the resolution’s primary sponsor, the committee’s goal with the resolution is to improve how effectively and responsively it disperses the Housing Security Award Fund.

Kim said in an email that the committee met over the summer to determine “areas of adjustment” for the coming fall semester. She also said the committee is still in the process of establishing the timeline, budget and size of awards distributed through the Housing Security Award Fund.

“During this process, we are continuing to learn about how our Committee and the Housing Security Award Fund can play a role in the larger housing security climate on our campus,” Kim said in an email.

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