UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau will speak at the ASUC Senate’s final meeting of the semester Wednesday night but will not discuss the contentious events of Nov. 9 due to the lawsuit recently filed against the campus.
BAMN, a national pro-affirmative action organization, filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of various campus and community members in response to the Nov. 9 police action against Occupy Cal protesters, during which police used batons against the protesters.
In mid-November, the senate passed a bill that condemned the police response to that protest and requested that the chancellor address the senate. Birgeneau accepted the invitation, and senators received an email notifying them of his appearance Saturday night, according to CalSERVE Senator Andrew Albright.
“(The chancellor) was invited and was happy to accept the invitation,” said campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore. “He will be discussing budgetary challenges facing the campus and also challenges facing students, including middle-income families and their budgetary concerns.”
Albright said he was not sure what to expect given the constraints on what Birgeneau could discuss.
“We were all expecting to be asking him about Nov. 9,” Albright said. “But … even if we can’t talk about Nov. 9, we can ask him things in more abstract terms, like when is an appropriate time for police to use violence.”
The announcement came just days after Birgeneau canceled a long-planned appearance at the campus Graduate Assembly’s final meeting of the semester. According to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof, the cancellation occurred because Birgeneau needed to prepare for a Friday public higher education summit for the Student Advocates for Graduate Education.
“I am glad to see that he is speaking to the ASUC on Wednesday regardless of the topic,” said Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab. “We were hoping for grad students to be able to hear from him directly at our December meeting.”
Navab added that the assembly meeting would have been a “good opportunity for (Birgeneau) to tell graduate students what efforts he is making towards protecting public higher education at Cal.”