Senate meets to promote funding reform bill on special elections ballot


With special elections a day away, Senators and ASSU executives stressed the need for sustained advocacy for the funding reform bill on the ballot at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Undergraduate Senate.

In her executive report, ASSU President Elizabeth Woodson ’15 encouraged Senators to take advantage of the remaining time left leading up to the election to engage with students in conversation about the bill and funding reform.

“I think so many people have spent so many hours spending time into authoring that beautiful bill,” Woodson said. “I think that it’s important that we take the next few days and put in the energy that we need to.”

According to Sajjan Sri-Kumar ’16, SAL peer advisor, the bill must receive at least 1,094 yes-votes and must pass with at least two-thirds of the votes cast being in favor of the bill.

The minimum number of yes votes required is 15 percent of the undergraduate population (1,094 votes).

All students who are currently enrolled in classes and who have not conferred their undergraduate degree are eligible to vote. An email with the results of the election is tentatively scheduled to be sent to the entire student body at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

In addition to the special elections pep talk, the senators discussed at length a resolution authored by Deputy Chair Victoria Kalumbi ’15, called “Resolution Regarding Diverse Representation in Senate.” The resolution was created in recognition of “voiced concerns about faculty diversity, racial and gender representation on various university committees.”

Although the resolution advocates for increased diversity, it did identify aspects of the Senate body that are lacking in that aspect. The resolution states that “[t]he definition of diversity within Senate will be left open. Outlining what types of identities are going to be targeted on will not be specifically enumerated to avoid limiting what counts as diversity.”

The resolution, which passed 10 to one with four abstentions, will establish several educational and outreach initiatives. One such initiative is the formation of a group consisting of “elected members of Senate, GSC, Executive and SSE, various members of the Administration” that will meet monthly to “discuss issues of privilege, race, gender and other over or underrepresentation and how to work towards ameliorating this in the long term.”

Additionally, the Senate passed a resolution that expressed opposition to the University of California Board of Regents’ decision to increase UC tuition by 5 percent each year over the next five years.

“Victoria, Anna, and I reached out to members of the UC student government over Thanksgiving break and they have expressed support of this resolution and welcome it,” Senator Luka Fatuesi ‘17 said. “They would really like us to pass this bill.”

Although a majority of senators were supportive of the resolution, there were some reservations about passing a resolution that concerned another university.

Referencing a meeting with the Executive Committee, Senate Chair Ben Holsten ’15 reported that the ASSU Executives said they would not veto the resolution but that “they don’t think it’s [ASSU’s] place to pass a resolution about UC schools.”

Lastly, the Senate elected Rachel Samuels to serve as Deputy Chair for the remainder of the year, replacing Kalumbi who will be abroad next quarter.

Contact Chelsey Sveinsson at svein ‘at’

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