ASUC officials reflect on their terms, table bill indefinitely

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Lisi Ludwig/File
During the ASUC’s general meeting Wednesday, officials heard updates from Chancellor Christ, reflected on their terms and indefinitely tabled a bill.

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During the ASUC’s general meeting Wednesday, officials reflected on their terms and indefinitely tabled a bill that would have made registered student organizations, or RSOs, ineligible for ASUC funds if used for member stipends.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ also gave some parting words to the ASUC. She provided updates on the campus’s budget, which has received some state and federal funding, and said campus is trying to secure student and faculty data on a UC-wide level after the recent breach.

ASUC executive officials and senators then reflected on their terms, the lessons they have learned and what they will be doing moving forward.

“For me, I know there was a lot of lessons that I had to learn coming into this role,” said ASUC President Victoria Vera. “My one presidency can’t just change the association entirely, but I hope that at least my presence and my voice is the start of the cultural change that we need.”

After updates from other departments, officials considered a bill that would make RSOs ineligible to use ASUC funding for member stipends in the 2022-23 school year.

In its reasoning, the bill states that the ASUC cannot meet the “high demands” for funding and stipend requests from RSOs.

James Weichert, ASUC chief of staff in the Office of Academic Affairs, encouraged senators to vote no on the bill, noting that the ASUC’s main problem is not a financial one, rather a lack of trust from the student body.

“We need to have conversations not only about stipends within the association, and outside of the association, but how we’re dealing with our finances,” Weichert said. “And how we’re ensuring that elected officials are the first and foremost people working on issues around finances and that they’re responsive and accountable to students.”

The bill also states that RSOs can still seek funding by passing a student fee.

Weichert noted that the process for preparing a student fee takes a significant amount of time and energy, which still does not guarantee that it will pass.

During public comment, several students voiced their opposition to the bill and their support for providing stipends for the Queer Alliance and Resource Center and the Black Student Union, or BSU.

“We literally retain students that are marginalized on this campus,” said BSU chair Kyra Abrams. “I don’t see any other reasons why we should not get stipends. We definitely deserve them for the work and the labor that we put in.”

Gabrielle Sharp, ASUC senator-elect, who is endorsed by the queer and transgender community and the Black community, also voiced her opposition to the bill and concern for meeting students’ needs. 

After more than an hour in closed session, most officials voted in favor of tabling the bill indefinitely.

Mela Seyoum is a student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @melaseyoum.