ASUC Senate discusses advocacy, passes bill in support of international community

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At its meeting Wednesday, the ASUC Senate had presentations from CalPIRG, PATH to Care and the Open Computing Facility. During the meeting, the ASUC Senate also voted on four resolutions, with all but Encouraging Effective Personnel Transitions in ASUC Chartered Programs passing.

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During an ASUC Senate meeting Wednesday, senators and executives expressed support for the international community and passed several resolutions, with one resolution urging UC Berkeley to provide additional support for international students.

The meeting began with several presentations from CalPIRG, PATH to Care and the Open Computing Facility. PATH to Care peer educator Sally Nelson’s presentation centered around the workshops and virtual “toolkits” on preventing sexual harassment and violence that the center offers.

During executive reports, James Weichert, a chief of staff for Academic Affairs Vice President Nicole Anyanwu, gave updates for Anyanwu. He ceded two minutes of his time to ASUC Senator Rex Zhang, who spoke out against the current campus policies in place for international students.

Zhang noted that some students in the international community are forced to stay up very late for classes and exams, while other students are taking exams at the local time in California.

“Do you think staying up at night is just an important part of academic life?” Zhang inquired at the meeting.

Later in the meeting, the ASUC Senate voted on four resolutions, namely Encouraging Effective Personnel Transitions in ASUC Chartered Programs, International Community Act for Addressing Academic Needs, or ICAAAN, ASUC Support and Solidarity in the Defense of People’s Park and Allowing Co-Chairs for ASUC Commissions.

All resolutions passed except Encouraging Effective Personnel Transitions in ASUC Chartered Programs.

In its text, the ICAAAN resolution noted the “damage” done by synchronous class participation to international students and called for more equity from faculty.

“The Associated Students of University of California calls on the Academic Senate to urge faculty members to implement policies that ensure equitable academic access for international students for the rest of Spring 2021 and Summer 2021,” the resolution reads.

Among the policies proposed are offering alternative exam times or opening up a 24-hour window for their submission, eliminating grade penalties for students in significantly different time zones unable to attend mandatory synchronous sections and making additional office hours and participation options available.

The resolution further asks UC Berkeley to consider the physical and mental wellness of international students and work on a plan with the ASUC for the fall semester that addresses their needs.

In regards to People’s Park, the resolution passed in support of the park urges campus to allow residents to remain in the park if they so desire, expand services such as electricity and hygiene facilities and work with the city to open a 24-hour restroom in the Telegraph district, among other actions.

The resolution includes a number of additional suggested actions, such as campus delaying construction on the park until a sanctioned camp for residents is opened, collaborating with the city to open such a camp with resources and allowing for open dialogue with residents and the People’s Park Committee about changes being done to the park.

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