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ASI Senate session puts students first

ASI advocates for part of the health fee increase to go toward resources for transgender and non-binary individuals.

James Chow, Staff Writer

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The Associated Students, Inc. Senate passed a senate resolution in its first reading that urges Cal State Long Beach to allocate health resources for transgender and genderqueer students, faculty and staff during a Wednesday session.

The resolution, called Support for Transgender and Gender Non-Binary Resources, advocates for a portion of the recent health fee increase to go toward areas of mental health service and specialty clinics that focuses on transgender and genderqueer – an inclusive term for individuals who do not identify with common conceptions of gender – health resources.

Part of the student health fee, which will increase from $45 to $75 by fall semester, would fund mental health services.

ASI Vice President Logan Vournas, who authored the resolution, expressed personal struggles involving genderqueer resources to the senate.

“As a genderqueer student, I can’t find any resources here with the issues I’m facing with my health,” Vournas said. “If I didn’t have doctors that are specifically for that, then that leaves me out.”

Vournas also delineated an issue for in-the-closet college students under 26.

“If you’re under 26, you’re typically under your parents’ health insurance. So, if you’re not out to your parents, then you can’t access those resources at all because your parents will find out and that’s a risk to your personal freedom,” Vournas said.

Also, the ASI Senate passed in its second reading a resolution that would alert students if the senate wanted to allocate funds to the Beach Pride Referendum. The referendum established funding for the athletic department through a student fee. This resolution would increase transparency on use of referendum funds.

The Beach Pride Referendum, which was approved in 2000, has had a controversial history since its inception. The referendum initially called for a $21 increase in student fees. During the fall semester of 2008, a different referendum dubbed the “Beach Legacy Referendum” was introduced and called for a $95 student fee increase.

The fee failed to pass by the student body in an online vote. But in 2011, the university president passed the $95 proposal under the Student Excellence Fee.

Vournas introduced a senate resolution called “Resolution to Reevaluate the Beach Pride Referendum” in last week’s ASI meeting. This would inform students of the fee and make sure that they want to continue paying for it.

According to ASI Executive Director Richard Haller, a referendum must go through the Student Fee Advisory Committee, or it wouldn’t be binding. One of the points in the resolution calls for a referendum to be conducted on May 3 and 4, dates that Haller fears are too “ambitious.”

A California State University systemwide executive order requires copies of a voter pamphlet to be available to students 30 days prior to the referendum.

Senator-at-large Daniel Gomez voiced his frustrations with the lateness of the referendum during the meeting. “The timing sucks,” Gomez said. “I’m just trying to figure out why we got this news so late.”

Also in the meeting, ASI President Marvin Flores reported that a subcommittee questioned the sale of alcohol on campus.

“Last homecoming, alumni were caught at the top floor of the parking structure and they were inebriated,” Flores said. “The subcommittee created a policy to contain people who drink alcohol from getting hurt.”

* The published version of this article read that Richard Haller introduced the Beach Pride Referendum Resolution, the current version reflects the correct information. Logan Vournas introduced the resolution.

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