Update 03/18/2023: This story has been updated to reflect changes made to the S.T.R.O.N.G Act at the Governance and Internal Affairs Committee meeting Monday
ASUC Senators proposed new ballot referendums and resolutions during the weekly Senate meeting Wednesday.
External Affairs Vice President Bailey Henderson introduced resolution SR 22/23-047 in support of the Class Pass student fee renewal.
The Class Pass program, which provides students unlimited rides on all AC Transit local service, AC Transit transbay service, Bear Transit (Campus Shuttles) and Bear Transit Night Safety Shuttles, is set to expire at the end of the 2023 summer semester.
The resolution will add the program to the election ballot as a referendum for campus students to vote on its renewal for another six years.
Services will remain the same, with no BART discounts or BayPasses, but there will be a $10 increase in fees from $95 per semester to $105 per semester for years one through three to cover inflation for Bear Transit services and cost adjustment of AC Transit EasyPasses. There will be an additional $7 increase to $112 per semester for years four through six.
“We use (Class Pass) a lot and it’s meaningful to a lot of students,” Henderson said. “That’s why it’s so important that it gets on the ballot.”
Another resolution considered by senators was resolution SR 22/23-046 in support of the campus offering the Transfer Admission Guarantee, or TAG, Program.
TAG is currently offered at all UC campuses apart from UC Berkeley and UCLA. The program guarantees entry into UC schools to California Community College transfer students who meet credit and GPA requirements.
Campus does not currently offer the program but is considering introducing it after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Bill 928, in an effort to enforce the establishment of lower-division general education pathways for transfer students into the UC system.
The concern that transfer campus students such as Kevin Li and Ani Sahakyan voiced during the public comment period is that the program does not consider applicants’ backgrounds, as there are no essay questions and very limited room to provide information about personal circumstances.
They alleged that the standing application takes a “one-size-fits-all” approach to admissions, ignoring the complexity of applicants.
“This will disadvantage underrepresented minorities, but also many students who may excel in other areas besides academics which UC Berkeley values a lot,” Sahakyan alleged. “It completely ignores the complexities of individual students’ lives and backgrounds, which plays a crucial role in people’s achievement, especially transfer students, because underrepresented minorities often face a variety of challenges that can negatively impact their academic performance and GPA.”
ASUC Transfer Student Advocacy Director in senator Yasamin Hatefi’s office and transfer student Ashley Tigue, who has gone through the TAG process, worries that the program will harm the way the campus accepts transfer students because admissions will no longer take a “holistic” approach and solely consider GPA.
Senators did not vote on passing the resolution and will be revisiting it in a future meeting.
Resolutions that did pass from the consent calendar were resolutions 22/23-043 denouncing hatred towards the Jewish community, encouraging the campus to take “swift and decisive” action against acts of antisemitism, and 22/23-044 mandating antisemitism training as part of senators’ mandatory duties.
The Strengthening Transfer Representation on Necessary Grounds Act, or S.T.R.O.N.G. Act, was also passed. The bill, which was amended during the Governance and Internal Affairs Committee Monday, will be added to the election ballot as a proposition for campus students to vote on whether the transfer representative position can be limited to transfer students only.