ASUC Senator Jenny Jungmin Kim resigns, campus partnerships with religiously-affiliated hospitals discussed

Emma Drake/Staff

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ASUC Senator Jenny Jungmin Kim announced her resignation at the second ASUC Senate meeting of the semester Wednesday, during which controversies behind potential campus partnerships with religiously-affiliated hospitals were also discussed.

At the start of the meeting, representatives from UCPD spoke about its new community engagement unit, which is comprised of dedicated personnel to support campus initiatives and will use one email address as a centralized point of contact.

Senator Romario, who does not use a last name, questioned the requirement for police officers to be armed and in uniform, to which the UCPD representatives assured officers will find opportunities to be in plain clothes to be more approachable to all members of the community.

UC Student Association President and ASUC External Affairs Vice President Varsha Sarveshwar later addressed the debate behind a campus partnership with Dignity Health, a Catholic nonprofit healthcare corporation.

While religiously-affiliated hospitals allow medical students to receive training and provide care, these hospitals can restrict certain types of help provided, including reproductive care, abortions and gender-affirming care, according to Sarveshwar.

Sarveshwar explained that this was a difficult issue, as some believe that UC system students should not contribute to hospitals that deny certain types of care, while others believe that limited care is better than none. According to Sarveshwar, the final decision will be made by the UC Board of Regents.

Sarveshwar then updated the senate on the diversity within her office. She said eight out of 10 of her senior staff members are female-presenting and eight out of 10 members are people of color, a change brought about during her term in office.

The External Affairs Vice President’s office will also collaborate with campus entertainment group SUPERB to hold the annual Votechella concert featuring rapper Waka Flocka Flame on Feb. 7, where attendees will be able to register to vote.

After Sarveshwar’s presentation, ASUC Student Advocate Nava Bearson also presented updates to the senate, mentioning that she is working to obtain institutionalized funding for free medical and psychological treatment of survivors of sexual assault and harassment, which would remove the need to continuously reapply for funding.

The senate then addressed the recent issues of vandalism, theft and unhoused people living in the Hearst Gym Cages, which are the storage spaces located behind Hearst Gym. ASUC Spaces Director Zeynep Yeltekin reported over thousands of dollars in losses from student organizations’ cages because of theft.

ASUC Executive Vice President Andy Theocharous suggested a security plan including security cameras and door alarms to prevent these occurrences.

Kim announced her resignation at the meeting, citing her need to take a break from work and school.

Kim added that her projects will be continued through other senators’ offices. Though she will no longer be a direct representative, she asked the senators to be receptive if she or her former committee members reach out.

“It was my blessing to know you guys. You are brilliant and talented individuals,” Kim said to the other senators at the meeting. “It was so nice to get close to you and your representing communities.”

Angelina Wang is a student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @dc_angelina.