Transportation options to increase, students want separation of Graduate Assembly from ASUC as both referendums pass in 2020 ASUC elections

infographic 2020 referendum results infographic
Courtney Le/Senior Staff

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The student body passed a student fee for increased transportation options and graduate students voted in support of the Graduate Assembly separating from the ASUC with two referendums.

The Class Pass referendum, which was voted on by undergraduate and graduate students, will establish a reverse perimeter line on campus transit lines and renew AC Transit passes and campus shuttles for students. Students will pay an extra $15 per semester, or a total of $95 compared to this year’s $80 fee for the services.

“One of the beautiful things I’ve been able to see around Class Pass, being on the committee last year and being the author of the referendum is seeing the lives of the people the referendum impacts,” said ASUC Senator Omotara Oloye, a proponent of the referendum. “These are commuter students … being able to have a new line and being able to keep predominantly Black and brown drivers employed in a time like; it’s beautiful to see at least one thread of normality during this time.”

The Class Pass referendum passed with 9,517 yes votes, 720 no votes and 881 abstentions. It needed 20% of the student body to vote to pass, a margin that several said before the election they were nervous about.

Fortunately for the referendum, 25% of the student body voted in this election, according to ASUC Elections Council Chair James Weichert, a 1% increase from last year’s election.

Graduate students also turned out to vote at a higher rate than before. According to Weichert, 2,294 graduate students voted, a 487% increase from 2019. Adam Orford, president of the Graduate Assembly and proponent of the graduate independence referendum, said he recognized that graduate student turnout has been low in past years.

The passed referendum polled students to see what the public opinion was on Graduate Assembly separation from the ASUC.  The opportunity to vote on this was only available to graduate students and passed with a margin of 1,918 yes votes, 52 no votes and 324 abstentions. 

It is not the final step in the GA’s separation but allows the GA to move forward officially knowing the student opinion.

“We’re really thrilled since we’ve been working on this for the past couple of years,” Orford said. “We take this as a vote of support for what the GA has been working towards in becoming independent.”

Staff writers Tarunika Kapoor and Aditya Katewa contributed to this report.

Kate Finman is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Graduate Student Government Independence referendum would separate the Graduate Assembly from the ASUC. In fact, the referendum was a poll of graduate student opinion on possible separation.