ASUC Senate spotlights Black History Month, fraternity funding

Photo of the ASUC logo
Caroline Lobel/Staff
At their meeting, members of the ASUC Senate discussed potentially revoking funding from the International Fraternity Council and highlighting Black businesses in celebration of Black History Month.

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In January, three UC Berkeley fraternities were officially unrecognized. Now, the ASUC Senate may revoke funding for the International Fraternity Council, or IFC.

At the meeting, senators discussed a resolution that, if passed, would revoke funding of the IFC until it has made efforts to address sexual violence and sexual harassment issues, as well as become more environmentally sustainable.

“There is no reason the resolution should not have full support,” said ASUC Senator Kalliope Zervas during the meeting. “We are standing in solidarity with sexual violence and sexual harassment survivors. … It is time to acknowledge the problematic past of the IFC.”

While senators did not vote on the resolution, it was referred to the ASUC’s finance and governance committees, and Zervas said a majority of senators were in support.

Prior to addressing the resolution, senators and executive officers discussed initiatives centered around Black History Month and advocacy for hybrid learning options. ASUC President Chaka Tellem and Senator Jason Dones spoke about efforts to highlight Black businesses every week this month. Tellem and Dones will also organize speaker events discussing and celebrating Black history.

“We’re doing a spotlight on Black businesses … so people can put their money where their mouth is,” Tellem said during the meeting. “We’re encouraging everyone to support the Black community, and bringing attention to these businesses is one of the best ways we can give back.”

Regarding accessibility and accommodations, ASUC Disabled Students Commission co-chair Carlos Vázquez said they were working on advocating for a universal hybrid option for students and examining the cost of course capture software.

The commission is working to draft language for a hybrid access bill from Senator Amanda Hill’s office, according to Vázquez. He also touched on disability justice and filling gaps in service to students with disabilities later in the meeting.

Kyra Abrams, Office of Academic Affairs chief of staff, said the office will continue to work closely with campus and other unions on academic policy, particularly flexibility with grading options and online courses.

“Although on the dashboard it looks like cases are declining, it is not an indication that the omicron wave is behind us,” Abrams said during the meeting. “It doesn’t mean that we are going to stop working on fair COVID-19 and instruction policies.”

In a separate discussion, ASUC Executive Vice President Giancarlo Fernandez presented his office’s project tracker proposal, which he said would make the ASUC more transparent to representatives, staff and students.

In addition to improving internal transparency and communication, Fernandez said the tracker would help centralize the ASUC’s goals and accomplishments. This would help showcase the efforts of the organization, Fernandez added, and raise potential ideas that students can pitch to senators.

“The ASUC’s effectiveness is questioned by students because they don’t know what we’re doing,” Fernandez said during the meeting. “The project tracker would provide more information so people can work together on things and showcase what we do as an organization, and we benefit from sparking more engagement in the student body.”

Aditya Katewa is a student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @adkatewa1.