From Daily Californian: “Senate meets to support observatory, proposition, research campus”

Daily Californian

The Daily Californian

October 24, 2014
Heyun Jeong

The ASUC Senate passed bills supporting the preservation of Lick Observatory, a state proposition and a new research campus on Wednesday evening.

UCO Lick Observatory
Lick Observatory

Adopted with unanimous consent, the bills establish the ASUC’s support for the different issues and order executives to write up letters or public statements on behalf of the ASUC.

In response to talks of terminating UC funding for Lick Observatory by 2018, CalSERVE Senator Lavanya Jawaharlal sponsored SB 25 to show support in continuing the observatory’s operations. The bill establishes a committee of students to raise awareness and propose alternative funding options and urges the UC Office of the President to recommit funds.

The talks of disinvestment make it “difficult to get outside funding, when private donors are wondering why they should invest money when the UC is cutting funding,” Jawaharlal said.

The committee, which will be made up of two senators and five appointed students, will work on increasing communication with the campus administration and raising student awareness not only on the UC Berkeley campus, but also across the entire UC system.

“It’s a UC-system owned observatory and not just Berkeley,” she said. “It affects all campuses. … It’s important to raise student awareness and mobilize all of the UC system students.”

According to Jawaharlal, the ASUC is the first student government to pass such a bill or create a special committee for the observatory.

The senate also passed a bill in support of Proposition 47, which would reclassify certain crimes to misdemeanors instead of felonies.

Sponsored by CalSERVE Senator Yordanos Dejen, the bill states that the proposition “will ensure that prison spending is focused on violent and serious offenses and will maximize alternatives for non-serious, nonviolent crime.”

The senate also showed support for plans of a research campus to be built in Richmond.

The Richmond Bay Campus, which will be developed in phases over the next 40 years, will provide additional research facilities for both UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. By having the second campus in Richmond, bill sponsor and CalSERVE Senator Austin Pritzkat said he envisions that the campus will provide a much-needed revitalization of the economy for the surrounding neighborhood.

Finance officer Dennis Lee was also confirmed as one of the two undergraduate representatives to the Student Union Board. He will replace Arushi Saxena and serve for the rest of the year with Ismael Contreras.

Lee said he hopes to increase transparency by connecting the Student Union and the ASUC as the board focuses on overseeing commercial activities concerning the new Student Union, set to open next fall.

See the full article here.

The Daily Californian is an independent, student-run newspaper published by the Independent Berkeley Students Publishing Company, Inc. The newspaper serves the UC Berkeley campus and its surrounding community, publishing Monday through Friday during the academic year and twice a week during the summer. Established in 1871, The Daily Californian is one of the oldest newspapers on the West Coast and one of the oldest college newspapers in the country. Daily Cal staffers have the unique opportunity of gaining daily metro news experience in the lively city of Berkeley. The newspaper has consistently covered the city and its institutions since its establishment, allowing student journalists to report on campus as well as city news. The Daily Cal also operates Best of Berkeley, a city guide and local arts Web site for the city of Berkeley.

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