The ASUC addressed Senate Resolution No. 2023/24-008, which plans to allocate $3,000 in funding to the Middle Eastern, Muslim, Sikh and South Asian Coalition, or MEMSSA. The bill was sent to the ASUC Finance Committee at the senate meeting Wednesday.
The resolution is sponsored by External Affairs Vice President Alex Edgar and Senator Sama Zazai, and it includes $500 in funding for committee expenses and $2,500 in stipends for the Ad-Hoc MEMSSA Committee Chair.
“The bill was introduced because MEMSSA is a committee this year, so they do not have a budget,” said an ASUC senator who requested to remain anonymous due to safety concerns. “It’s really to give funding to MEMSSA initiatives, which now more than ever are crucial.”
According to the bill text, this is the first time in 16 years without a MEMSSA Senator in the ASUC. The Ad-Hoc committee was established in response to this vacancy last Spring in order to continue serving the MEMSSA community on campus.
Moving forward, the MEMSSA Coalition will continue its efforts to build a space for the communities it represents, the senator noted. The bill text explains that other committees receive $2,500 in stipends paid for by the ASUC Senate Contingency Fund.
“MEMSSA serves an important purpose in supporting marginalized MEMSSA-identifying students and the larger MEMSSA-presenting community at Berkeley,” the bill text reads.
Later in the meeting, the senator read a statement from a MEMSSA representative regarding Tuesday’s Palestinian death tolls from the latest Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. The statement called on students to educate themselves and support the lives of people in Gaza.
The ASUC also voted unanimously to appoint a representative from the Graduate Assembly, or GA, who is a current member of the GA Business Office to the Judicial Council, or JC. In the meeting, ASUC Chief Legal Officer Jason Dones said the ASUC constitution states that a JC member cannot hold a position in the GA business or administrative offices unless approved by a two-thirds vote by the Senate.
During his updates for the Senate, Edgar presented his office’s efforts surrounding United Against Hate Week, which began in 2017 in response to white supremacist rallies in the Bay Area. He stressed the importance of reporting both hate crimes and hate incidents to track and assess which communities are in need of additional resources.
In the meeting’s admissions update, the Office of the Academic Affairs Vice President announced that the computer science, data science and statistics majors have been officially moved to the College of Computing, Data Science, and Society.