The ASUC Senate passed a bill condemning cultural insensitivity within UC Berkeley’s Greek community at its meeting Wednesday night.
CalSERVE Senator Wendy Pacheco introduced the bill Sept. 25 to address cultural insensitivity on campus after the campus fraternity Delta Chi hosted a quinceanera-themed party Sept. 21.
The bill, SB 16, was discussed at Monday’s external committee meeting, where members of both the multicultural and Greek communities gathered to discuss concerns about Delta Chi’s party.
Many members of the campus Latino community said at the meeting that they were upset by party’s theme, which they claimed appropriated Latino culture and mocked Mexican traditions. Members of the Greek community at the committee meeting recognized the concerns about Delta Chi’s behavior.
The bill was amended significantly during the committee meeting after students in the Greek community raised concerns about what they said was harsh language in the bill. Student Action Senator Lauren Week, who is in a sorority, said she felt she was “being attacked” by the language of the bill.
Interfraternity Council President Andrey Kisel also emphasized at the meeting that the bill’s language was especially harsh toward the Greek community.
The amended version of the bill was altered to reflect these concerns and notes that “this incident (at Delta Chi) is not reflective of the individual sentiment of each individual in the Greek community.”
The bill’s title was changed from “A Bill to Censure the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) for the Appropriate of [email protected]/[email protected] Culture” to “A Bill Condemning the Negligence of Cultural Awareness within the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC).”
The amended bill addresses more specifically what the ASUC believes it and the Greek community should do to make the Greek community a more “culturally aware body.” According to the bill, Delta Chi will be asked to write a public apology to the [email protected] and [email protected] community, and “cultural awareness training (will) be urged by ASUC for all student organizations on campus.”
The bill calls for the implementation of additional training programs and provisions within the Greek community to increase cultural sensitivity as well as communication and collaboration between the IFC and the UC Berkeley LEAD Center to raise cultural awareness.
“This bill is not about communities of color versus the greek community,” Pacheco said in a statement. “Instead this is the start of a conversation and hopefully a partnership between both communities to not only address the issue at hand but also to create a safe campus environment for everyone.”
Kisel echoed Pacheco’s sentiment that both communities should work together to address the incident at Delta Chi.
“(We) agree that what happened is major issue,” Kisel said. “We don’t want this to be a battle between any two communities.”
After a short senate meeting Wednesday, SB 16 passed without discussion.
“I wasn’t that surprised that it passed, only because there had been a considerable amount of working together with the Greek community and the senators that represent (it),” Pacheco said after the meeting.