Senate passes bill on academic freedom after campus outcry over Palestine DeCal

Mikaela Raphael/Staff

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At their fourth meeting of the semester Wednesday night, the ASUC Senate passed all four bills put to vote after heavy deliberations on a bill concerning a controversial DeCal that was suspended and later unsuspended in the past week.

While all of the bills were passed, the senate debated a proposed amendment to  bill SR-12, which addressed the previous suspension of a DeCal on Palestine. Additionally the ASUC approved bills calling for improved student safety when abroad, standing in solidarity with all students of color and opposing the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

The amendment to the bill proposed by Student Action Senator Miranda Hernandez would have added a clause that stated that the bill’s support for the reinstatement of the Palestine DeCal was in no way “anti-Semitic,” Hernandez said at the meeting.

“I wanted to add a whereas clause in the bill that explicitly stated that the DeCal was not meant for political mobilization, and just for academic freedom,” Hernandez said. “There were some communities on campus that were uncomfortable with the syllabus of the DeCal, so I wanted to recognize their concerns but also further protect academic freedom.”

CalSERVE Senator Zaynab AbdulQadir-Morris disagreed with the proposed amendment, stating that it “will push it more to external conflict rather than focus on the issues of academic freedom.”

New language was proposed for the amendment to avoid specific political statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it was ultimately voted down by the senate.

“I agree in essence of the amendment but I was not elected to vote just because something sounds better and was elected to do what my communities want me to,” AbdulQadir said.

ASUC senators also approved a resolution expressing opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, which is designed to carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois.

CalSERVE Senator Rigel Robinson, the primary sponsor of the bill, stated that the pipeline was “a dangerous development that has risked compromising the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux,” adding that it is crucial for the higher education community to stand in solidarity to prevent the construction near Lake Oahe from resuming.

At the meeting External Affairs Vice President André Luu submitted another bill in support of the inclusion of an additional student representative on the advisory committee to the UC President that will engage in future searches for the new chancellor. Presently, the committee has two student members — ASUC President Will Morrow and Graduate Assembly President Iman Sylvain.

“The purpose of the bill is to increase pressure on the UC Board of Regents so they include this additional student, either a student regent or student regent designate, on the decision making process,” Luu said.

If the bill passes through committee meetings Monday, the senate will vote on it at their Sept. 28 meeting.

Contact Vera Esail and Parth Vohra at [email protected].

A headline accompanying a previous version of this article may have implied that the entire ASUC met Sept. 21. In fact, it was a meeting of just the ASUC Senate.
The photo attached to a previous version of this article depicted an ASUC Executive Cabinet meeting, not an ASUC Senate meeting.

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  • lspanker

    Please, Daily Cal, do us a favor and at least use some semblance of truth in your attempts at journalism. There was no “campus outcry”. A few people complained, a somewhat larger number supported the decision, and the remaining majority did not know or care one way or the other. Stop assuming that the few dozen perpetually offended and aggrieved individuals represent the campus as a whole.

  • Dan Spitzer

    Even though the course is a kangaroo court meant to find Israel guilty and half the Jews on the planet live in democratic Israel, the ASUC bill has dubbed the course not anti-Semitic. Imagine any other country where half its ethnic population was condemned. The ASUC and faculty would be up in the arms about that. Ditto a course taught by a Trump supporter on Islam or David Duke on racism. Somehow, anti-Semitism has become immune from rightful charges of bigotry when it rates its hatred head on UC campuses…

    • thompson_richard

      Again, the US gov’t committed to $58 billion for military aid to Israel over the next 10 years; $0 to Palestine. Doesn’t that seem a little lopsided? Not to you of course. Over two thousand Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip War — most of them children. Doesn’t that seem horrific? Not to you of course.

      • lspanker

        Again, the US gov’t committed to $58 billion for military aid to Israel over the next 10 years; $0 to Palestine.

        Given that the Palestinians spend “military aid” on shooting rockets at Israeli cities, and training their own children to be suicide martyrs in hopes of killing as many innocent civilians as possible, I would say our spending level on the Palestinians is just about right,

        Over two thousand Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip War — most of them children.

        Care to tell us why they were killed? It’s because Hamas chose to use children and teenagers as SUICIDE BOMBERS and HUMAN SHIELDS. Any culture that dresses up little boys in pretend suicide vests, and provides cash rewards for the families of suicide bombers, is sick by definition. But I bet they aren’t about to present those facts in this little DeCal course, are they?

      • Stacy Gittleman

        The US committed this “aid,” yes. Most of this $$ goes right back to the USA in terms that Israel buys American made military supplies. Why don’t you bemoan the fact that the Iran Nuclear Proliferation pact freed up $150 BILLION to go right to line the coffers of Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror? It is BECAUSE of this sham deal that the US certainly owed these billions to Israel, so Israel can now defend itself from the thousands of rockets that are now pointed at it, thanks to the fact that Iran is supplying Hezbollah with weapons now that it is so flush with cash. Actually, the US gives $400 million a year to the P.A. and for what? More terror. I only wish the US gave $0 to the fake and fictitious “Palestine.”

        • thompson_richard

          Perhaps we “owed” Israel only 38 billion. What do I know? Not a single rocket has pierced “Iron Dome.”
          The USA sequestered the Iranian funds.

    • Arafat

      What then is anti-Semitism? It is not a coherent set of beliefs but a set of contradictions. Before the Holocaust, Jews were hated because they were poor and because they were rich; because they were communists and because they were capitalists; because they kept to themselves and because they infiltrated everywhere; because they clung tenaciously to ancient religious beliefs and because they were rootless cosmopolitans who believed nothing.

      Anti-semitism is a virus that survives by mutating. In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were hated because of their race. Today they are hated because of their nation state, Israel. Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism.

      The legitimization has also changed. Throughout history, when people have sought to justify anti-Semitism, they have done so by recourse to the highest source of authority available within the culture. In the Middle Ages, it was religion. In post-Enlightenment Europe it was science. Today it is human rights. It is why Israel—the only fully functioning democracy in the Middle East with a free press and independent judiciary; is regularly accused of the five crimes against human rights: racism, apartheid, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide. This is the blood libel of our time.

      • Dan Spitzer

        Moreover, with so many Israelis murdered simply because they are Jews over the past year (with the murderers of old people and children dubbed “martyrs” by Palestinian leaders like the so-calles moderate Abbas), this is not dubbed what it would be in any other country on the planet: terrorism.

        If this mayhem was going on in Europe or anywhere else, it would be called what it is: killing based upon ethnicity/bigotry. But in this instance, because the victims are Jews, this is overt “anti-Semitism” However, don’t look for this rightful characterization from world leaders. After all, it’s “only” Jews who are being murdered. Hence the rightful term terrorism is not applied.

        Don’t look for Bazian’s course on “Palestine” (which has never existed) to call these murdering thugs what they are: nothing less than terrorists…