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ASI Senate continues heated debate over new resolutions

Free speech resolution begins to lose its meaning as senators debate over its content, along with a new resolution causing argument amongst the floor.

Illustration by Bobby Yagake

Illustration by Bobby Yagake

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Associated Students Inc.’s resolution against hate speech faced backlash this week as some senators claim it was “whitewashed.”

The intent of the resolution is to let students know ASI recognizes the hate crimes that have happened on campus and the impact hate crimes have on students of color. Such incidents include the La Raza death threats and the racial slurs vandalism that occurred earlier this semester.

Senator-at-large Thulani Ngazimbi addressed the group, suggesting student government must diversify the resolution to obtain a clearer message.

“This entire discussion is a singular white narrative,” Ngazimbi said. “It hasn’t been the voice of any minorities at all and I feel as though we need to have an expert [on the First Amendment] who is not white come and speak to senate.”

According to Ngazimbi this resolution hasn’t addressed institutional racism or social constructs as it originally intended.

Kyari Cail, commissioner for cultural affairs, asked Senate to take the advice and recommendations of the Social Justice Equity Committee to allow International Studies professor Yousef Baker to come speak to senate, and urged for transparency among senate and the students.

“What’s very pertinent with this conversation is that there isn’t a well-versed conversation when we’re talking about hate speech, it’s coming from a legality approach,” Cail said. “We need to add the historical component to it. The institutional racism component is often missed we when we talk about the founding origins of this particular controversial subject.”

Senators debated whether the term “hate speech” should be included in the resolution. Leen Almahdi, senator of health and human services, argued that the term should be included.

“As a representative I state what students of color need, and a lot of times it’s overlooked,” Almahdi said. “We can’t dilute the issue by removing that phrase, removing the phrase doesn’t change what happens but it does change the fact that we aren’t acknowledging it. It makes us sugarcoat what the issue is.”

The third and final reading of the resolution will be voted on in next week’s senate meeting.

New resolution for ASI requirements to run for office fails

A new resolution requires undergraduates take a minimum of nine units to run for ASI and also may not exceed more than 135 units. The resolution was shot down 6-12-5, arguing that it was ageist and creates barriers for students.

The idea of the resolution was to minimize the mid-year turnover according to Richard Haller, executive director of ASI.

“It really does harm the organization with a turnover in leadership,” Haller said. “Then to have a significant number of student leaders leave when there are four or five more months left in the fiscal year sets the organization back.”

For senators, the resolution illustrated something different.

According to Almahdi, the university prides itself on offering opportunities.

“We’re creating barriers,” Almahdi said. “Some students really can’t afford to be a full-time student. For us to say you must have nine units instead of six, the tuition difference is significant and we need to take that into consideration.”

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