Of the two referendums on the 2022 ASUC ballot, only the Save the Daily Cal Initiative passed, leading to funds for The Daily Californian.
With a return to partial in-person voting this year, about 25.5% of eligible voters submitted a ballot, according to ASUC Elections Council Chair Ananya Narayanan. This is an increase from last year’s 22%, Narayanan noted.
Despite a lowered threshold of 14% of eligible voters required to pass, the Graduate Assembly, or GA, fee failed to pass, with only 12% of graduate students voting. The fee would have increased graduate student aid and later allowed their fees to be transferred to an independent graduate student government.
“It just highlights once again our struggle of navigating ASUC elections,” said GA fee primary proponent Jose Marrero Rosado. “We know graduate students do not feel represented by the ASUC. … We were trying to do things differently this year.”
Since the GA fee was only available for graduate students — and only 12% of eligible students voted — the lowered threshold of 14% was not met and the fee did not pass. Though 1,619 graduate students did vote, abstention votes on the ballot were not included.
The referendum also states GA funds may be transferred to an independent graduate student government, provided one is developed and acknowledged by campus in the future.
Marrero Rosado noted the GA has been working with the ASUC to improve their relationship. He added they will continue to work on different ways to pursue graduate student election items.
“Of course, these are not the results we wanted,” Marrero Rosado said. “We want more autonomy in our own elections.”
Passing with 7,224 votes, the Save the Daily Cal Initiative will partially fund the Daily Cal through a $6 student fee during spring and fall semesters.
The Daily Cal news department was not involved in the planning or promotion of the referendum.
The Save the Daily Cal Initiative fee will replace the current Ink Initiative fee, which is set to expire at the end of the year. The passage of this $6 semesterly fee and $2.50 summer fee will allow the more than 150-year-old publication to continue independent operations.
The initiative’s fee would expire in summer 2027 and would support additional online capacities and help maintain weekly production and distribution across UC Berkeley and the city, according to initiative primary proponent and Daily Cal Editor in Chief and President Jasper Sundeen.
“It means the world to us, just knowing that students do care and the Daily Cal matters,” Sundeen said. “Students have supported us, and now we need to continue to serve them.”
Election results must be certified by both the Elections Council and the Judicial Council before they are deemed final.
Senior staff writers Veronica Roseborough and Tarunika Kapoor contributed to this report.