ASUC reestablishes Diversity Affairs Commission after suspension

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ASUC senators reestablished the ASUC Diversity Affairs Commission as an active body Wednesday, lifting its previous suspension.

ASUC Chief Legal Officer Jedidiah Tsang commented on what commissions must do in order to maintain their active status. He said commissions must hold business meetings and produce 48-hour notices that allow the public to be aware of ASUC activities. Commissions are also required to submit oral or written reports to the ASUC Senate and the ASUC chief personnel officer.

Tsang noted that the Diversity Affairs Commission faced suspension specifically because it failed to hold regular business meetings and send out public notices. Victoria Vera, ASUC president-elect and former chair of the commission, confirmed that this was the case, citing a lack of enforcement by the ASUC as the reason the commission did not submit weekly reports.

Vera and ASUC Senator Romario, who does not use a last name, with the support of other senators, drafted a bill, Senate Resolution No. 2019/2020-065, which the ASUC Governance and Internal Affairs Committee reviewed and approved after requested amendments were added.

“Senator Romario stepped up to help me write this resolution,” Vera said. “It was really helpful to have that partnership because that partnership in the ASUC is lacking.”

Regarding why the commission should be reestablished, the resolution detailed how the commission has benefited the campus since its creation in 2017. 

Vera said the commission conducted a demographic representation survey of the ASUC in 2018, which accounted for the types of students involved, revealing the degree to which all students on campus are represented in their student government. This survey aimed to ensure that no group of students felt unheard or forgotten by their student leaders, according to Vera.

According to the resolution, the commission also collaborated with Billy Curtis, director of the UC Berkeley Gender Equity Resource Center, in support of the handling and prevention of hate crimes. In addition, the commission assisted Romario’s efforts to make bathrooms on campus gender inclusive.

“It’s important to have this body for a level of accountability for our association itself,” Vera said. “It navigates issues of campus climate and uplifts those issues.”

The resolution also discusses the commission’s future goals, including anti-oppression and diversity workshops for student organizations and students in general, the creation of a task force on hate crimes and a “diversity week” that features the work of student organizations on campus.

As the next president of the ASUC, Vera hopes to work with the commission and its new leader to ensure adequate training with regard to diversity and anti-oppression. She added that she feels it is important to sustain conversations around pressing issues.

“As representatives, it is important that we are intentional and aware of how we use our voice and space to ensure we uplift and not hurt students with our decisions,” Vera said.

Contact Amanda McNamara at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @amandamcnamara_uc.