ASUC Senate talks election culture, accommodations for international students

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During its general meeting Wednesday, the ASUC Senate discussed elections culture and supporting international students as the pandemic continues.

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During its general meeting Wednesday, the ASUC Senate discussed election culture and supporting international students as the pandemic continues.

After roll call, the Senate amended the agenda to include a closed session. After the session, during executive officer reports, ASUC President Victoria Vera spoke about COVID-19 guidelines and her recent meeting with UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ.

“We are role models, so please make sure to model public health guidelines yourself,” Vera said during the meeting. “It is very hypocritical if we don’t do that, and we are trying to get our campus back in person eventually.”

She added that senators should share information on the coronavirus and safety precautions from sources, such as the Tang Center, using their online platforms.

Vera also said she had been urged by students to address ASUC election culture as election season approaches.

“There’s a culture that comes up with elections that’s toxic, it’s ugly. I just want to name that,” Vera said during the meeting. “How can we do better, right? How can we model better behavior?”

Vera noted that discouraging others from running or engaging in “background deals” concerning the elections could damage campus’s democracy.

Later in the meeting, Academic Affairs Vice President, or AAVP, Nicole Anyanwu’s presentation, given by one of her chiefs of staff James Weichert, focused on how to provide additional support for international students.

In a time when remote learning forces students from different time zones to stay awake into late hours to attend classes, Weichert said the Office of the AAVP is seeking additional accommodations for international students, including alternative exam times and more flexible participation requirements.

“This year has been a difficult year for everyone, but that I think has been compounded especially so for international students, who are thousands of miles away from campus, but expected to go on with things like they were just across the street on Telegraph,” Weichert said during the meeting.

The Office of the AAVP will meet with campus’s Academic Senate in the coming week to discuss the feasibility of such accommodations.

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