Vice Chancellor Marc Fisher discusses UC Berkeley reopening, sustainability with ASUC Senate

Photo of the ASUC logo
Cheyenne Tex/File
During an ASUC Senate meeting Wednesday, Vice Chancellor for Administration Marc Fisher discussed campus-related topics, including preparations for returning students, sustainability efforts and COVID-19 testing for students. The meeting also included updates from ASUC executive officials such as External Affairs Vice President Derek Imai, who confirmed that 100 gecs will be performing at UC Berkeley’s upcoming virtual Votechella concert.

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The ASUC Senate advocated for students’ needs to UC Berkeley administration, focusing on campus operations, at its weekly meeting Wednesday.

As the guest speaker of the night, UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Administration Marc Fisher informed the ASUC senators of what he is currently working on, including grappling with an effective $15 million budget deficit while trying to avoid layoffs, preparing campus for the return of students and managing a large team of people.

“There’s never a boring day in my position,” Fisher said during the meeting. “I really enjoy the complexity of the job.”

The COVID-19 pandemic was a major topic for Fisher, who has also been working on facility protocols for when campus reopens. Fisher said he is still planning for how waiting areas and outside spaces will be managed but added that campus will likely require students to get tested for COVID-19 at least once per week before entering campus buildings.

Fisher also announced that music groups may be able to begin practicing in person this semester if they are physically distanced outside. Campus administration also hopes to increase in-person research from 25% to 33% capacity, according to Fisher.

In addition to reopening, Fisher discussed sustainability and mentioned campus’s plan to put five megawatts of solar panels on building roofs and parking lots by next semester.

UC Berkeley is working on switching to full electrification and phasing out natural gas from the cogeneration plant, Fisher added.

“This is one of my great passions,” Fisher said at the meeting. “I love sustainability.”

After Fisher, ASUC executive officials gave their reports, during which External Affairs Vice President Derek Imai announced the confirmation of electronic pop group 100 gecs for his office’s regular Votechella concert. The show, which will encourage students to register to vote, will be held Sunday over Zoom.

ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Nicole Anyanwu also introduced a project of her office’s at the meeting: #CalDuringCOVID.

The project is a social media campaign sharing anonymous student testimonials about their experiences attending UC Berkeley during the pandemic.

“This is an unprecedented semester, regardless of what anybody says,” Anyanwu said at the meeting. “Students do need to be accommodated.”

Finally, near the end of the meeting, the ASUC Senate passed three resolutions — one in favor of completing the census, another in opposition to UC Berkeley layoffs and a third formalizing the ASUC Disabled Students Ad Hoc Committee into an official commission, which comes with funding.

The ASUC Senate also approved a financial package, two ASUC committee appointments and a judicial council resignation. The senate will meet again Oct. 21.

Kate Finman is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Nicole Anyanwu is lobbying campus administration for a default pass/no pass grading option. In fact, this was not a priority of her office.