ASUC Senate fails to pass resolution denouncing UC Berkeley subsidization of Ben Shapiro event

Catherine Wallin/File

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ASUC Senate convened Wednesday to discuss a highly contentious senate resolution that was pulled from last week’s agenda for legal reconsideration. After some minor amendments, the bill was put on the agenda for Wednesday but was voted down with five in favor and 15 against.

Senate Resolution 7, or “Denouncing and Demanding the Immediate Rescission of UC Berkeley’s Subsidization of Hate Speech,” was the main item of consideration for the evening. Several community members who spoke during the public comment session were highly supportive of the bill. While some said the actions outlined in the bill were necessary, others said they believed the language of the bill was not strong enough.

“I hope the resolution gets voted on unanimously,” Yvette Felarca, an organizer for the activist group By All Means Necessary, said during the meeting. “Sanctuary means protecting immigrants.  … I think this resolution should take stronger language.”

ASUC senators then debated the resolution on open floor. Several senators expressed reservations about the resolution, stating that it conflated different resolutions that did not need to be in the same bill. Senator Alexander Wilfert suggested creating one bill condemning UC Berkeley’s subsidization of the Ben Shapiro speaking event and a separate bill condemning hate speech in general. He also said if the current version of the bill is passed, the ASUC Senate would be “sending a message that conservatives are not welcome.”

Senators also discussed whether Shapiro should be condemned in a similar fashion to Milo Yiannopoulus and Steve Bannon. Senator Madison Miller said she believed Yiannopoulos and Shapiro should not be put in the same category.

“Being a right conservative person does not make you condemnable,” Miller said during the meeting.

Senator Adnan Hemani said in an email that the reason he voted against the resolution was that he believed it included “extensive language bashing” of a registered campus student organization. He added that he believed the more fundamental issue that the resolution should address is the condemnation of the campus’s decision to subsidize Shapiro’s speaking event.

“While my personal values do not necessarily align with that of the student organization, I do not believe that we as an Association can claim to represent all UC Berkeley students if we start talking hard-lined stances against fellow students,” Hemani said in an email.

Senator Juniperangelica Cordova, however, disagreed, stating that she believes Shapiro is a “hateful speaker” who has “consistently enacted hate speech” with regards to transgender people.

“He has questioned my existence,” Cordova said.

After the meeting, ASUC senators Rizza Estaccio and Nuha Khalfay, sponsor and co-sponsor of the bill, respectively, said there were some misconceptions about the bill that led to its failure. They added that “people voted as they saw fit,” but said they believed that the idea that the bill was somehow attacking all conservative ideology and students on campus was wrong.

Joseph Greenwell, UC Berkeley associate vice chancellor for student affairs, also attended the meeting to address senators’ questions and concerns about upcoming events on campus. He said the campus prioritizes “safety and security” and is working closely with groups that might be affected by Shapiro’s Sept. 14 event.

According to Greenwell, more information about potential resources will be sent out soon.

Azwar Shakeel is the lead student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @azwarshakeel12.

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  • Bruce McDonald

    Why are hate mongers and violent children like Yvette Felarca even given a platform?

  • Kala

    No Free Speech in California. It is a totalitarian state.

  • FreedomFan

    So the resolution went down 3 to 1. Outstanding. It’s refreshing that the entire university is not a fascist insane asylum. Even some liberals still believe in free speech.

    Ben Shapiro is literally a mainstream Conservative. Your bill is trying to censor all mainstream Conservatives. Have you no shame, leftists?

  • Contrarians

    “He has questioned my existence” is a real quote from one wing-nut LOL!…and what in the everloving F is that violent psychopath Yvette Felarca doing at the meeting. Kick that violent piece’o’chit to the curb.

    • FreedomFan

      Boys can become girls if they want to badly enough.

  • FreedomFan

    What “subsidy”, comrades? You are charging him $16,000– more than any other speaker at Berzerkeley. Ever.

    Yvette Felarca is a violent criminal who belongs in jail.

    Leftism = mental disease

    • solvingmystery

      It’s $9,500 for security. It was originally $15,000 (not $16,000). But since BCR only is using a smaller portion of the hall, the fee was reduced. Also, BCR is not paying for Zellerbach’s rental fee. Usually the student body who invites the speakers have to pay for both the security and the hall rental.

      • Contrarians

        Yea, since they realized that their previous policy of making security fees ridiculously high for people expressing viewpoints they disagree with was legally actionable they decided to jerk these speakers around by giving the diminished venues. Embarrassing little goose-steppers. It’s killing the Democrat party right now, too. Independents are abandoning leftist politics IN DROVES. I’ve never seen anything like it. The only thing worrisome is that as they become more isolated, and extreme, and the futility of their madness seeps in there likely will be real violence. Mark my words…these groups (Antifa, BAMN) will eventually start shooting at their political rivals. They’re absolutely convinced they are morally correct, and thus believe their violence is justified. It’s really only a matter of time before it escalates. I wonder if the moderate left will stand by silently. I always wondered how the great historical atrocities happened. I’m starting to see it now. A large segment of the population starts believing that what they are doing is MORALLY NECESSARY. It is not until much later that we look back and wonder where such monsters come from.

        • solvingmystery

          We are only talking about the seats here my friend. But the security fee was reduced because the # of seats went from 1,900 to about 1,000. So the security fee was properly adjusted. Not everything is political. Similar thing happened to me when I booked a hall on-campus for an event. The security fee was purely based on the # of seats.

      • Josh

        Seating number has also been reduced for Ben Shapiro of about 850 seats.

    • Choose!

      Yvette Felarca is a violent criminal who belongs in jail.