ASUC Senate discusses potential in-person classes, public election funding

Photo of ASUC logo
Lisi Ludwig/File
The ASUC’s first regular meeting of the spring semester featured campus Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education Cathy Koshland as a guest and included a report from the Better Elections Reform Committee.

Related Posts

The ASUC’s first regular meeting of the spring semester featured campus Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education Cathy Koshland as a guest and included a report from the Better Elections Reform Committee.

After the agenda was adopted, Koshland began by discussing the presidential inauguration and noted the possibility of limited in-person instruction.

“(Alameda County is) still in the beyond purple or deep purple zone, so we’re technically not supposed to be doing anything outside of our bubble,” Koshland said during the meeting. “We are setting things up in hopes that by February 1 we will be able to do limited in-person instruction.”

The first classes to potentially be offered in person will be studio and lab ones, according to Koshland. About 20 Tier 1 classes with 380 cumulative enrollments have been approved for possible instruction, as of press time.

Should public health conditions improve, Tier 2 classes may open later in the semester, Koshland added.

“It’s out of our hands in the sense that that determination is made by Berkeley Public Health,” Koshland said during the meeting.

ASUC Senator Apoorva Prakash later asked Koshland about commencement plans for the spring semester. Although there is no definitive answer yet, Koshland said options for in-person commencement for schoolwide and department-specific celebrations are being discussed.

After executive officer reports, during which ASUC executive officers recapped their winter break meetings and laid out their goals for the semester, the Better Elections Reform Committee gave a presentation on the feasibility of a publicly funded ASUC elections system.

To create their report, the committee contacted previous senators and executives about their campaign costs and how other personal commitments affected their campaigns. According to the report, candidates spent an average of $158.125 on their respective campaigns.

Of those interviewed, 57% reported they would have considered opting into a public campaign finance system, while the remaining 43% of respondents were unopposed to such a system, said committee Vice Chair Aditya Dev Varma.

The committee calculated that such an endeavor would cost the ASUC about $20,000, with about $9,000 allocated to senatorial campaigns and about $7,500 allocated towards executive campaigns. Varma added that those calculations assume all candidates will use public funding, which may not be the case.

The committee suggested that commercial revenue be used to create the campaign fund as it has the least legal restrictions. The report notes, however, that commercial revenue has suffered recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Committee believes that commercial revenue should stay lucrative enough to fund a public elections program, but advises the Senate and Elections Council to keep the macroeconomic view in mind with this funding avenue,” reads the report.

Sebastian Cahill is a student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SebastianCahil1.