When Berkeley Redistricting Charter Amendment, Measure R, passed in November 2012 with 66% of the city’s vote, Berkeley was finally able to eliminate the 1986 district lines and redraw council districts to reflect updated populations. On Wednesday, March 13, a team of ASUC-affiliated UC Berkeley students submitted their own proposal which included a campus district outlined in purple below. As can be seen in the image, the student district includes south side housing, the Greek community, and residence halls. The Student District’s population is 90% students and will include over 12,000 UC Berkeley students.
Having a student representative on city council is important because not only is over 25% of Berkeley’s population students, but a student council member can help bring visibility to university policy issues.
“A student could bring a voice that’s been missing far too long,” said Cal student and former ASUC External VP Joey Freeman to NBC News. “There are issues like safety, lighting on our street, housing.”
Transparency with regards to local issues is very important because the average college student knows little of university and city policy. Greater awareness of city policies and student issues can lead to better communication between Berkley’s residential community and its student population. This isn’t the first time students have campaigned for redistricting; similar efforts in 2011 failed to pass. The redistricting proposals are expected to be evaluated by the end of the year, and if Berkeley students get their wish, a student may be sitting at the same table as Mayor Tom Bates as early as 2014.