ASUC President Alexander Wilfert discusses student committee for Berkeley mayor at senate meeting

Nicholas Chun/Staff

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The ASUC Senate heard updates from President Alexander Wilfert on the City/UC/Student Relations Committee, or the four-by-six committee, and moved one senate resolution into committee for review, during its regular Wednesday meeting, which was not livestreamed.

Wilfert sits on the four-by-six committee, along with three other student representatives and six city representatives. The meeting’s new senate resolution would be in favor of professors putting mental health resources on their syllabi, similar to how the UC Berkeley Code of Conduct excerpt on plagiarism is placed on each class’s syllabus, if passed.

During his executive officer announcements, Wilfert suggested a possible permanent student advisory committee that would communicate directly with Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín. Wilfert said in an interview with The Daily Californian that the current committee does not meet regularly enough to voice all student concerns to the city.

“We make up a huge proportion of the Berkeley community,” Wilfert said. “That committee meets seldomly. … Let’s say once every two months on a good year. That’s not enough to make sure that our voices are heard on the city level.”

Wilfert added that one of his platforms was to get students more involved in city politics, and that establishing this committee would address that goal. The committee would either be staffed through applications or through officially designated ASUC positions, and the “most equitable thing that will elevate students voices” is the first option, according to Wilfert.

Currently, Wilfert said the four-by-six committee is working to finalize the language in the city’s legal terms, and to finalize the details, such as how the committee will be staffed.

The new resolution’s primary sponsor, Academic Affairs Vice President Melany Amarikwa, said students have attempted to get mental health resources placed on syllabi before.

“I ran to get mental health resources on syllabi. … When I was running and campaigning, I met with the Tang Center about this,” Amarikwa said. “They’d heard of people trying to get it done, but not being successful. … This is an initiative that students have been trying to push for.”

Amarikwa said she and ASUC Senator Nikhil Harish, the resolution’s co-sponsor, plan to bring this proposal to the Academic Senate’s Undergraduate Council, and she hopes to have the rest of the ASUC’s support once they do.

If proposing this change to the Academic Senate does not pass, then Amarikwa said her next course of action would be to talk with Chancellor Carol Christ and the heads of each college to discuss this issue.

“By forcing mental health to be on the syllabi, it almost forces professors to talk about mental health,” Amarikwa said. “Just having mental health resources on the syllabus … almost has a cultural shift on campus, which I think is necessary.”

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