The ASUC Senate is set to consider a bill Wednesday that asks The Daily Californian to apologize for what the bill claims is a racially insensitive advertisement the newspaper recently published.
CalSERVE Senator Sevly Snguon authored the bill, SB 17, in response to a Sept. 17 printing of an advertisement in the Daily Cal for Dr. Chase Lay, a Bay Area cosmetic surgeon, that emphasized Lay’s expertise in “Asian eyelid surgery” and “Asian facial plastics.” The ad also included photos of Asian women who had undergone eyelid surgery.
The bill was originally introduced Sept. 25 but was tabled until this week. If it is passed, the Daily Cal will be urged to publish an apology for the advertisement online and in print. ASUC President DeeJay Pepito would also be asked to create a task force to investigate campus climate for students of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.
Snguon said at the senate’s external committee meeting Monday that the advertisement was “defining forms of beauty.”
UC Berkeley is a “community where we should feel comfortable,” he said. “We’re not here to define what people should look like.”
At the committee meeting, Sarah Burns, the Daily Cal’s editor in chief and president, explained the newspaper’s process of screening potentially controversial advertisements. The Daily Cal’s Senior Editorial Board can review such advertisements prior to publication and determine whether to publish them. Although this particular advertisement was not reviewed before publication, the board decided not to let it print again after receiving criticism from the campus community, Burns said.
“We decided to pull the ad because we were cutting off a portion of our readership,” she said.
Lay said he understood why it was pulled but that he did not intend to offend the community.
“I just thought I’d put my expertise on display in areas where the demand was high,” Lay said in an interview shortly after the bill’s initial introduction. “It was not a chance to take advantage of a demographic or patients that are insecure about themselves.”
The external committee approved SB 17 unanimously Monday, allowing the bill to be considered by the entire senate Wednesday.