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Campus Clash sparks a Senate debate on transparency

A proposed resolution was met with critical divide among Associated Students Inc. senators.

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The Associated Students Inc. Senate members found themselves in a heated discussion this Wednesday regarding how Long Beach State officials announced the occurrence of the Campus Clash talk back in October.

President Jane Conoley sent an email to all students just hours before the event was scheduled to begin, failing to mention the added police and K-9 unit presence for the event or of the total closure of the first floor of the University Student Union.

The resolution, according to one of its authors Sen. Megan Kim, asked the administration to “be more transparent, by giving two weeks in notice, so that students can be more aware of… where they should be,” citing how the police dogs and barricades gave the impression of a more dire situation without prior context.

Senator Alejandra Aguilar was the first to question the resolution, bringing up how she felt it seemed targeted against Campus Clash specifically and was not broad enough to really influence decision-making regarding other organizations’ presence on campus.

“This looks very just targeted toward this organization especially, and its making ASI look like we did not want this [Campus Clash] here,” she said.

Turning Point USA’s presence on campus on Oct. 23 received backlash from members of Antifa, a leftist anti-fascist group in Long Beach, prompting a tighter security response from campus police. Layers upon layers of concrete barricades and chain-link fences, in tandem with officers in riot gear and K9 Units, kept protestors outside and safely far away from those inside the Beach Auditorium.   

Kim expanded upon some of the clauses in the resolution when asked to by Senator Justin Contreras.

“The event made students feel unwelcome and very unsafe on campus,” Kim said. “By having the USU, which is funded by student fees, as a sanctuary and safe space, we just want to make sure students feel welcome on campus rather than feel that they shouldn’t be here.”

The rest of the senate discussed the resolution for another half hour. At one point, Kim began to tear up while having to further clarify her position.

Senator Melissa Mejia agreed on the removal or rewording of certain phrases, such as all references to the USU as a sanctuary space.

However, she added that Turning Point USA didn’t go about the event in the way that any registered organization would. On-campus publicity was kept to a minimum prior to the event, and many students who were in the USU in the hours prior to the event, had no idea why they were asked to leave.

After designating nearly 45 minutes of the two-hour meeting to one intense discussion, the committee eventually voted to approve a first reading of the resolution, agreeing that the issue of transparency was critical enough to student welfare to be worth more attention.

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