GA delegates pass resolution to establish funding opportunities

Photo of Graduate Assembly meeting
Natalie Lu/Staff

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Delegates of the Graduate Assembly unanimously passed a resolution Thursday to create funding opportunities for campus groups and address student wellness.

According to the resolution, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it “impossible” for registered student organizations, or RSOs, to hold and fund campus events and projects.

“As my inbox can attest, RSOs are trying their best to work through funding events and activities during COVID, but it’s tricky,” said Connor Jackson, the assembly’s funding officer, during the meeting.

Jackson added that although campus departments and groups are trying to develop efforts and initiatives focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, they are often impeded by funding.

The resolution would revise the budget of the assembly to allocate a total of $10,000 in “diversity, equity and inclusion funds” to campus groups and affiliates.

Campus groups would be able to apply for these funds once a semester, and groups that are usually ineligible for funding from the assembly would be prioritized. Such groups include academic units and unregistered student groups, according to the assembly resolution.

The resolution also includes a budget amendment that would create a $20,000 fund called “Registered Graduate Student Organization Commercial Revenue.” It would be given to RSOs for events and activities that meet the assembly’s funding guide requirements but would be difficult to hold with only revenue from student fees.

As for the assembly’s funding guide, the resolution would amend it to establish a category for projects and events that address student wellness.

“That would be a valuable source of funding that we can offer, especially because we’re largely flush with cash at the moment,” Jackson said during the meeting. “We would like to give it to RSOs as much as possible.”

Adam Orford, chair of the assembly’s governance workgroup, said during his officer report that the committee was developing a referendum to replace the ASUC fee for graduate students.

Orford added that funds from the ASUC fee are “funneled” into the assembly, but UC Berkeley does not recognize the assembly as the recipient. The governance workgroup would be proposing that the ASUC fee be replaced by a “Graduate Student Government Fee.”

“That would then require the school, we hope, to sort of recognize that there is this graduate student government organization, which would hopefully then facilitate, eventually when we financially separate, moving that money very cleanly to the new organization,” Orford said during the meeting.

As the proposal currently stands, the fee would go up from ASUC’s $27.50 per semester to $33 per semester. This would maintain the amount of funds that go toward the assembly, and the assembly would return the rest to graduate student aid, according to Orford.

Contact Natalie Lu at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @natalie_c_lu.