ASUC Senate discusses student fees, passes resolution advocating support for marginalized communities

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In response to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination, the ASUC Senate passed a resolution reiterating its dedication to protecting marginalized populations.

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During its meeting Wednesday, the ASUC Senate approved resolutions promoting campus diversity and discussed student affairs in light of upcoming local elections and the COVID-19 pandemic.

UC Berkeley senior Harsh Ainapure, who serves as chair of UC Berkeley’s Committee on Student Fees and co-chair of the campus Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Student Services Fees, opened the meeting with a presentation on various student fees, the uses of those fees and the operations of his committees.

“The more interaction between (the ASUC and the Committee on Student Fees and Budget Review) and the more kind of symbiosis between us, the better it is for student advocacy,” Ainapure said during the meeting.

After Ainapure’s presentation, James Weichert, a chief of staff for the ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President, or AAVP, shared the results of a survey his office deployed about students’ academic and general needs in the place of AAVP Nicole Anyanwu.

According to Weichert, with more than 400 respondents, about 32% of the responses included the word “stress” and almost 50% of the responses included “P/NP,” or pass/no pass, which was the default grading system last spring but is not the default for the current semester.

“It’s been a hard semester for everyone,” Weichert said during the meeting. “We’re pushing the administration and the Academic Senate to make the accommodations and allow for the flexibility for each student to do what’s right for them.”

After executive reports, the senate moved to consider resolutions, one of which urges UC Berkeley libraries to follow a standardized procedure when handling religious texts and scriptures.

The resolution alleges that UC Berkeley has failed to respect religious guidelines, such as those followed by the Sikh religion, and does not distinguish religious texts from ordinary library books.

“(Sikh students’) advocacy efforts fueled the resolution, and in the process we recognized that their experiences may not be isolated,” said ASUC Senator Aasim Yahya, the resolution’s sponsor, in an email. “Now that the resolution has passed, our advocacy efforts are being both continued and accelerated.”

In response to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination, the ASUC Senate also passed a resolution reiterating its dedication to protecting marginalized populations.

It also urges the UC Office of the President to release a statement committing to advocacy for all students, regardless of identity.

“Crucial issues impacting our most marginalized constituents … will be at stake,” the resolution states.

The final resolution addresses the campus DeCal program, which has faced limited staffing due to low turnout during this semester’s recruitment cycle, according to the text of the resolution.

The interim DeCal board, mostly consisting of former board members who have already graduated, has expressed it can no longer manage the program. The resolution, which was passed, creates a board with ASUC oversight to preserve the program.

Contact Kate Finman and Amudha Sairam at [email protected].