Monday, October 02, 2006

ASUC + Residence Halls = ?

With few notable exceptions, the Berkeley Residence Halls and the ASUC, Cal's student government, are completely seperate entities with their own management, ideas, and goals. One could argue we also have unique student bodies that we represent (first-year residents versus student groups). The Halls and the ASUC mainly interact only when it involves campaign violations during ASUC election seasons or illegal solicitation by ASUC-funded student groups on Res Hall property-- not a great basis for a relationship.

Knowing this, one may feel a little uneasy to read the Daily Cal reporting today that this will be changing very, very soon:

Earlier this month, UC President Robert Dynes issued a clarification to UC policy on university property that will now allow nonpartisan student-government organizations access to residence halls and dining commons to pursue potential voters for registration.

The clarification will allow campus organizations such as the ASUC to pass out voter registration forms and encourage voting practices in campus residential areas without being subject to solicitation restrictions.

Previously, policy regarding voter registration activities in areas that are not generally open to the public- such as dining commons and residence halls-was unclear, and campuses could have classified voter registration activities as a type of solicitation, said Valery Oehler, associate director for undergraduate and graduate campus life in the UC Office of the President.


This year, ASUC officials plan to take full advantage of the policy changes by working with and educating resident assistants in the UC Berkeley residence halls on how to register students, said sophomore Andy Kelley, director of campus mobilizing within the ASUC Office of External Affairs.

My stomach turns a little when I hear that the ASUC plans to "work with RAs", but I'll set aside my assumptions and watch how this voting season unfolds.

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