ASUC senators presented new resolutions and proposals and swore in two officials at their weekly meeting Wednesday.
The meeting began with a commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the passing of Grace Asuncion, who was a molecular and cell biology student and leader of the Pilipinx American Alliance. Asuncion was murdered in 1992 inside Eshleman Hall.
Her family was in attendance at the ASUC Senate meeting, during which Asuncion’s brother, Mark Asuncion, remembered her as “vibrant, spunky, intelligent, sister, niece, cousin, friend.”
Senator Stephanie Wong introduced resolution 22/23-033, commemorating the anniversary of Asuncion’s passing and honoring her legacy for posterity in light of the escalating hate crimes against Asian Americans.
The ASUC plans to publicize the current plaque of Asuncion’s life on the first floor of Eshleman Hall more and to continue to hold a moment of silence annually.
A 10-minute recess was held for senators to attend Asuncion’s memorial.
Following the recess, Bridgette Meshkani was sworn in as a senator, replacing Josh Lee, who resigned. Jennifer Rojas was also sworn in as chief communications officer, replacing Ryan Barba, who resigned last semester from the position along with the rest of his team after expressing a lack of a sense of belonging and alleged anti-transfer sentiment within the organization.
During executive officer reports, chief of staff for the ASUC Office of the President and Executive Vice President Alfonso Marquez — who helped write a letter in support of Barba’s resignation — expressed his support for Rojas’ appointment and urged senators to ensure they are fostering unity within the organization to avoid resignations like Barba’s in the future.
“(The new appointment) calls for a moment of reflection for the elected officials,” Marquez said while filling in for Executive Vice President Giancarlo Fernandez. “We are lucky to have Jenny.”
Rojas is expected to complete the ASUC’s website, which Barba’s office began revamping last semester, by the 10th week of the fall 2023 semester.
Political science and economics student Mark Basta called on the ASUC to sign a petition demanding the UC Berkeley administration acknowledge the academic and financial impact of the graduate student worker strike during general public comment.
“The strike left numerous students with missing and hurried grades, altered last-minute final exams and a loss of a significant portion of our education we have paid for,” Basta said.
ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President James Weichert announced that the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Student Services and Fees voted to eliminate the $10 late drop and $5 late add fees on Feb. 2. The recommendation is now with the Office of the Chancellor who will need to approve it in order for the fees to be dropped.
In light of the Disabled Students’ Program, or DSP, facing staffing shortages in a time of increasing student needs, the student advocate’s office announced that five new specialists will be hired.
However, DSP Associate Director Martha Velasquez will be taking leave in March, which will create a leadership gap and potential slowdowns in accommodations, according to Ari Krezt, who was standing in for ASUC Student Advocate Crystal Choi. To combat these prospective slowdowns, the student advocate’s office has hired new caseworkers and will begin training this weekend.
Another resolution passed was SR 22/23-028, urging campus administration to formally recognize and establish Oct. 10, World Mental Health Day, as an annual non-instructional day for all students beginning fall 2023.