ASUC passes controversial bill commemorating victims of 9/11

Last night the ASUC passed a controversial bill recognizing, mourning and commemorating the “direct and indirect victims of 9/11.”

The bill, passed 16-2 with one abstention, calls to commemorate the lives lost on 9/11, as well as the more than 7,000 American soldiers and “over 1,000,000 innocent Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani lives…lost as a result of the tragic wars waged in these two countries.”

Student Action Senators Connor Landgraf and Daniel Ternan objected to the political aspects, such as Islamophobia, addressed in the bill.

“I don’t think, regardless of whatever language this bill is going to read, it’s going to represent the perspectives of every student here,” Ternan said.

Shawn Lewis, president of the Berkeley College Republicans, and Ariel Boone, former CalSERVE senator, presented opposing views on the issue at the meeting.

“Any commemoration that is there should focus on the original victims of 9/11,” Lewis said. “We see an injection of politics.”

While Lewis said the tragedy of the day should not be associated with the events that followed, Boone said she supported the inclusion of indirect victims of 9/11.

“By broadening this bill, the work and collaboration that has gone into this bill is perhaps most representative of the feeling that in death there should not be a hierarchy of memorials,” Boone said.

CalSERVE Senator Andrew Albright said due to the large population of Middle Eastern students on campus, not recognizing Islamophobia is a disservice to the students at this school.

Objections were also raised to the language of the final bill and its specification of victims. The original bill only addressed the victims directly and indirectly lost as a result of 9/11, but the final bill was revised to specify the victims as not only civilians who died 9/11, but also the American soldiers and Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani civilians who have died in the aftermath.

“A commemoration does not have to be a compromise,” Ternan said in criticism of the language of the new bill. “It’s too dangerous to be too broad and too narrow.”