ASUC Senate votes to condemn Milo Yiannopoulos’ ‘Free Speech Week’

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Yiran Chen/Staff

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The bulk of Wednesday’s ASUC Senate meeting was devoted to negotiations surrounding the upcoming “Free Speech Week” at UC Berkeley, culminating in the passage of a resolution condemning the event.

Free Speech Week, a joint effort between conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos and campus publication the Berkeley Patriot, will take place on campus from Sept. 24-27 and will feature a variety of conservative speakers, including Yiannopoulos and David Horowitz.

After last week’s contention over conservative author Ben Shapiro’s presence on campus, the ASUC Senate echoed many of the same misgivings shared by students and faculty as the event looms near in what Chancellor Carol Christ has deemed a “free speech year.”

Senate Resolution 13, entitled “Condemning ‘Free Speech Week’ and Demanding the UC Berkeley Administration Prioritize Student Safety and Academics,” passed by a 19-1 margin amid mounting concerns among senators that the event will not only disrupt classes but also imperil the welfare and safety of students. The bill emphasized the continued importance of ensuring the physical, mental and emotional well-being of students during the upcoming week, and it also criticized the campus’s “extenuating security measures,” which would affect students’ access to campus facilities.

“As a member of (the Compliance and Enterprise Risk Committee) and the subcommittee on student safety, I see more than most on what administration is trying to do,” said ASUC Senator Alexander Wilfert, co-author of the bill. “What’s happening right now is that they’re in the dark and everyone wants answers. … It’s a matter of student safety.”

Wilfert went on to say that he believed the campus had not taken enough action in protecting the student body in light of these events, adding that he hoped the administration would consider student voices on future contentious campus issues.

Although the bill ultimately passed by a near-unanimous margin, there was some dissent among senators who disagreed with the particular language of the text, most notably in its condemnation of specific organizations such as Antifa with “past or potential violence.” Senator Juniperangelica Cordova-Goff said she feared that identifying these external organizations by name would only reinforce the conflation of particular ideologies or political beliefs with patterns of violence.

“Generalizations are really dangerous,” Cordova-Goff said at the meeting. “I don’t want a bill that once again perpetuates the idea that everyone is violent that is anti-fascist.”

The clause, which was later amended to omit such naming, also originally included Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group.

“We represent the voices of the 35,000 students on campus,” said ASUC Senator Rizza Estacio. “And I know there are mixed feelings about … Antifa, and what they do and their actions here on campus.”

The ASUC Senate will reconvene Sept. 27, the last day of Free Speech Week.

Contact Jared Brewer at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @JaredBBrewer.

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  • doctorweird

    In case you wanted proof that left coast Berkeley is full of airheaded twits, they vote to denounce free speech, conflate anyone they disagree with to Nazis, and then say they won’t condemn violent leftist organizations for fear of “generalization”

  • MagicalMcgoo

    this is sooooo awesome. the level of lunacy it takes to get to what these kids think is astounding. Who would really consider hiring these loons in the real world?

    • lspanker

      I certainly would not, and I’m a Cal alum.

  • Graeme Stewart

    Berkeley Student Government condemns Free Speech
    We are now though the looking glass…

    • jeyhovah

      This is insane, for sure

  • Fahargo

    They’re perfectly happy to conflate conservatism with violent Nazism. Antifa is just a name. Saying Antifa is a violent organization that uses anti-fascism as a literal club to bash people over the head would be true. You aren’t attacking protesters by attacking Antifa. Just as a nationalist can’t take the label Nazi anymore, protesters can not take the name Antifa without showing they are completely okay with Antifa’s actions. Find a new name or just call your self anti-fascists.

  • lspanker

    Condemning “Free Speech Week” – what a brilliant political move.

    Seriously now, regardless of politics, what type of idiots are we letting into Cal these days?

    • righteousreverenddynamite

      All of them!

      • EECS student

        Apparently we missed one.

    • CSears

      You sound like a Donald Trump tweet.
      Should you need that explained, no, that wasn’t a compliment.

      • lspanker

        “donaldtrump-donaldtrump-donaldtrump-SQUAWK!SQUAWK!SQUAAAAAAAAWK!”

        Liberal want a cracker?

      • roccolore

        You Democrats ARE the Nazis who hate free speech, hate Jews, hate Christians, hate our troops, hate cops, and love Islam. Democrats like you are unpatriotic because you hate our troops and hate America.

      • jeyhovah

        That’s not your decision to make and the point of the First Amendment.