Graduate Assembly introduces formal resolution to secede from ASUC

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Nicholas Chun/Staff

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The Graduate Assembly, or GA, introduced a resolution to secede from the ASUC and heard from UCPD Chief Margo Bennett during a regular meeting Thursday.

The resolution to secede from the ASUC and create an independent association comes after years of tension, leading to undergraduate students voicing their concerns about the GA’s potential secession. The delegates also voiced concerns regarding racial profiling and police brutality to Bennett, prompting discussion on how to best review UCPD.

In the resolution, the GA governance working group suggests that the GA take the official position that the ASUC’s structure doesn’t adequately support graduate students and that the current GA bylaws be entirely deleted. Also in the resolution are the bylaws of a nonprofit corporation called the Graduate Student Association of the University of California, Berkeley — the suggested independent replacement to the GA.

“The GA has concluded that it would better serve the needs of U.C. Berkeley graduate students for the graduate student government to exist as an entity legally separate from, but working in collaboration with, the ASUC,” reads the resolution.

Some problems the governance working group noted in the resolution include a lack of graduate student voices in ASUC statements and lack of graduate student control over the allocation of fees pertaining to graduate students, along with the lack of certain independent powers, such as being able to secure legal and financial counsel.

The GA will vote on this resolution during a special meeting April 5, according to GA president Kena Hazelwood-Carter. Members of the ASUC, including ASUC President Zaynab AbdulQadir-Morris, have indicated their desire to search for a solution that avoids secession.

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During the presentation section of the meeting, Bennett and UCPD Captain Alex Yao spoke briefly about increases in crimes around campus, such as assaults, larcenies and robberies, before taking questions from the audience. Questions covered concerns ranging from police review and accountability to racial profiling and police brutality.

“The events are stop and go and our relationships have been after a lot of crisis events,” said GA presidential chief of staff Kerby Lynch. “One thing that came up was that UCPD has the absence of an internal review board.”

One issue that was brought up was the accountability of UCPD, and some delegates mentioned the arrest of UC worker David Cole at an American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299 protest Feb. 1. Cole has since been released, and the charges against him were dropped.

Bennett also addressed questions about student safety — specifically how UCPD approaches protecting students of color and what improvements will be made to solicit student input moving forward.

“Policing on a college campus is totally different from policing in a city or a municipal county,” Bennett said. “Frankly … this is a very tough time to have a relationship with your police department. We want you to have that relationship with us, so we’re trying devise a means to create that.”

Sakura Cannestra is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.