ASUC Senate Tables Attempt to Override Athletics Bill Veto

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By an 11-7 vote, the ASUC Senate voted Wednesday to table a bill aimed at overriding President Will Smelko's veto of a resolution urging the campus administration to end financial support for the UC Berkeley Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Smelko vetoed the bill-which had been unanimously passed by the senate six days earlier-Nov. 10. An effort to overcome the veto failed to garner the necessary 14 votes and the bill was tabled for the second consecutive meeting.

All the CalSERVE Party, third-party and independent senators present voted in favor of tabling the motion while all Student Action Party senators present voted in opposition.

The ASUC Constitution and by-laws do not specify whether there is a limit to how long a presidential veto can be tabled. The by-laws state motions to override a presidential veto are added to immediate consideration for the following week's agenda.

Central campus financial support for the department has come under fire in recent weeks, including by the campus division of the academic senate, which passed a non-binding resolution Nov. 5 to urge the campus to make the department financially self-sufficient.

The department reported that it borrowed $5.8 million from the campus in the fiscal year 2008-09 as a means of overcoming a deficit in its $64.9 million budget.

An additional $7.7 million of the department's budget was covered by student registration fees and a discretionary fund overseen by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.

Student Action Senator Noah Stern, who voted against tabling the bill, said the bill has been under discussion for long enough and should face a vote so that the senate can attend to other more pressing matters.

"(Senators) should have a sense of urgency in this issue," he said. "I think we've drawn out the consideration of this override (and) there are a lot of other matters that we need to give our attention to."

Yet some senators said they still need more time to consider the vetoed bill.

"I haven't been able to talk to the community ... that I represent," said CalSERVE Senator Eunice Kwon.

Student Action Senator Minji Kim, who also voted against tabling the bill, said the senate should not override the veto because the bill impacts one student population in a negative matter.

"The ASUC should still be representing the intercollegiate student athletes' voices," Kim said.

Jonathan Gaurano, an independent senator and co-author of the vetoed bill, said he encouraged senators to table the motion for the second time because he said the move allows more time to convince Student Action Party senators to vote in favor of overriding the veto.

"We're still trying to find more info to try to convince others to support the override," he said. "Right now they are very headstrong on the idea of not overriding the veto."

Gaurano added he wants the tabling to go on indefinitely so that he and other senators can ultimately override the veto.


Contact Stephanie Baer at [email protected]

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