ASUC Senate discusses Wall Street Journal contract, lack of gender-neutral bathrooms

Sunny Shen/Staff

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The ASUC Senate held its first meeting of the semester Wednesday, discussing the Wall Street Journal partnership and the absence of gender-neutral bathrooms in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union.

The contract with the Wall Street Journal, which was approved by the ASUC Senate on Jan. 13, spans two years and provides currently enrolled students, faculty and staff with online subscriptions to the publication.

Ashle David and Kirstyn Shibla, representatives from the Wall Street Journal, outlined the positive aspects of students’ access to the subscription.

According to David and Shibla, the Journal aims to give students access to an unbiased and reliable news source in a world of “fake news.”

Senator Liam Will asked about resources the Wall Street Journal would provide to students on campus. David and Shibla responded that an editor summit would be held, as part of a collaborative effort.

“A lot of other newspapers just … focus a lot on local news,” said Senator Milton Zerman at the meeting. “(The Wall Street Journal) does the best job focusing on … geopolitical news.”

Also at the meeting, Varsha Sarveshwar, ASUC external affairs vice president and UC Student Association president, reported to the senate on her office’s work to delay the UC Board of Regents’ tuition increase proposal. The plan, which could raise tuition for the next five years, and its vote have been pushed back several weeks after the UC Student Association raised concerns about legality.

Sarveshwar also noted in her updates that it had come to her attention that her stipend — $4,000 a year — was about half that of her colleagues at other UC campuses, who make between $8,000 to $10,000.

“I’m sharing (this) … because the work that we do is really hard. … We’re underpaid here,” Sarveshwar said at the meeting. “The amount of people we lose to burnout each year is unconscionable.”

During ASUC Executive Vice President Andy Theocharous’ report, Senator Romario, who does not use a last name, commented on the lack of gender-neutral bathrooms in the student union, which could be remedied by renovating bathrooms to have ceiling-to-floor stall walls.

He cited an incident that occurred Tuesday, during which a transgender woman was verbally harassed for using the female-assigned restroom on the fourth floor of the student union. He added that he is currently looking for students to sign a petition to show support for gender-neutral restrooms in the building.

“It shouldn’t be dependent (on the LGBTQ+) community to advocate for ourselves,” Romario said at the meeting. “The incident that happened last night broke my heart. It happened to someone who was a really close friend of mine.”

Senator Media Sina reported at the meeting that she spoke with the dean of the College of Chemistry about implementing Course Capture in chemistry courses. She added that they were in the process of reaching out to donors and prioritizing classes to implement the technology first.

Sebastian Cahill is the lead student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SebastianCahil1.