USG Senate passes Kosher dining resolution, confirms Speaker of the Senate

The 141st Undergraduate Student Government Senate convened for the second time under the newly-established Areias-Warren administration at Tuesday’s meeting and passed its first resolution on Kosher dining. 

Vice President Lucy Warren introduced the resolution, which was first presented last week by Benjamin Shiff, president of Chabad @ USC. The resolution focuses on establishing a University-recognized Kosher —  the term used to describe foods that meet the dietary needs of the Jewish community — restaurant. 

According to the resolution, USC originally began a Kosher food preparation program in Spring 2018, where students picked up pre-packaged Kosher food at the University Village. However, the program proved unviable due to finances, the lack of attention over its existence and its inability to correspond with students’ schedules. 

“Over time, [the Kosher program] was slowly phased out just because there wasn’t so much student support for it,” said Shiff in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “However, it’s hard to say if there’s [no] student support for Kosher food or just for this option. So what was recently decided was, if we’re going to push for this to be an option, we really want it to be something equitable to the regular meal plan.”

All senators voted unanimously to pass the resolution. In an interview with the Daily Trojan, Sen. Ruben Romeo III said the efforts towards implementing Kosher food in the dining hall would allow the University to be “more thoughtful” about student needs. 

“For someone who’s been working on this for four years, and on behalf of the partner organizations that have been working on this for far longer, it really meant the world to us,” Shiff said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to use this resolution … [and] further show [the University that] there’s student support behind this, and create an equitable Kosher food option on campus.”

During the Senate meeting, Warren also presented the nominations for the Legislative Branch Committee. 

The Legislative Branch Committee Chairs, operating under the vice president, hold policy-making and advocacy powers and consist of six permanent standing committees on topics such as wellness affairs, accessibility and affordability and basic needs. 

Zaid Diaz-Arias, a freshman majoring in public policy, will serve as USG’s first parliamentary secretary, a position that performs the duties of secretary and parliamentarian, including recording votes, taking minutes and sending documents to the president or Graduate Student Government. Juniors David Atash and Finley Davis to the Committee on Wellness Affairs and the Committee on Sustainability & Campus Infrastructure, respectively. In total, seven students were nominated. The Senate approved the nominations unanimously.

Chief Financial Officer Adenike Makinde also announced the Funding Department nominations. The branch provides fiscal support and resources to recognized student organizations and undergraduate students. Shortly afterward, Chief Communications Officer Kros Day announced the nominees for the Communications Department, which maintains communication between USG and the student body. Nominees will be approved at next week’s meeting.

Sen. Romeo was also elected Speaker of the Senate for the second year in a row. Romeo said he will also be a part of a potential temporary special committee of the legislative branch. Still unnamed, the committee will function as a coronavirus task force.