ASUC Senate endorses Berkeley city ballot measures, discusses election activities

The ASUC Senate unanimously voted in favor of a resolution endorsing Berkeley city ballot measures FF, II, JJ, KK and MM.

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The ASUC Senate endorsed measures on the ballot for Berkeley voters and discussed COVID-19 academic policies and election activities during its meeting Wednesday.

The senators unanimously voted in favor of a resolution endorsing Berkeley City ballot measures FF, II, JJ, KK and MM, which “may have a positive impact on the student population,” according to the resolution. Of the endorsed measures, one would expand emergency medical response, another would tax building improvements per square foot to increase funding for fire response and wildfire prevention and a third would reform police oversight and accountability procedures.

ASUC President Victoria Vera reported that she met with Chancellor Carol Christ last week to discuss spring semester plans and COVID-19 policies. Vera stressed the urgency with which certain matters students face need to be addressed, such as access to technology.

“I don’t hold all of the experiences that students are going through right now,” Vera said during the meeting. “Having a talk with the chancellor about everything from grades to academics to what students are encountering was just very helpful.”

Vera is also collaborating with many ASUC offices and senators to work on a November election working group that will discuss campus proceedings for the election season.

“It’s not just a presidential election; it’s state and local elections. There’s a lot happening,” Vera said during the meeting. “One of the biggest things is trying to centralize the many debriefing groups for students, how we should promote different community spaces and ensure safety during the election.”

The ASUC Office of the External Affairs Vice President announced civic engagement efforts through a vote coalition, which has established on-campus polling places at Pauley Ballroom in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union and at the Lawrence Hall of Science.

The coalition is also attending town halls in almost every district and collecting public comments in opposition to the Trump administration’s actions regarding student visas. With those comments, the coalition hopes to start a lobbying trip to Washington.

Later, the Sexual Violence Commission announced its work on its “Survivor Support: Be Heard at Berkeley” page in collaboration with the PATH to Care Center, through which survivors will be able to anonymously share their stories and receive proper support, according to commission chair Catie Haddad.

The Mental Health Commission is participating in the first UC systemwide mental health coalition, according to commission chair Saran Uthayakumar.

“This is the first time in history that mental health organizations from every university in the UC system have gotten together,” said Uthayakumar during the meeting. “The culture around mental health is really important. We want to incorporate more student voices.”

During senator announcements, ASUC Senator Michael Savides announced the recent launch of an expanded COVID-19 testing program using saliva tests at Memorial Stadium, available to all UC Berkeley students in the Greek community.

The ASUC Senate’s next meeting is Oct. 27.

Gigi Nibbelink is a student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @giginibbelink.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Measures FF, II, JJ, KK and MM as Alameda County ballot measures. In fact, they are Berkeley city ballot measures.