ASUC Senate to create ad hoc committee concerning anti-Semitism

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The ASUC Senate amended and passed a bill condemning anti-Semitism to include clauses concerning the creation of a senate ad hoc committee on the subject at its meeting Wednesday night.

Student Action Senator Ori Herschmann, who sponsored the bill, amended it to specify that the committee will be made up of the ASUC president, two ASUC senators, the Jewish Student Union president, one faculty member and one student. The faculty member and student will both be nominated by the rest of the committee and approved by the senate.

The senate ultimately passed the bill unanimously, in addition to adding amendments and discussing the bill at large.

Herschmann and many other senators pushed for the student representative position on the committee not to require senate approval, as he believed that the committee would understand the Jewish community better than the senate would.

SQUELCH! Senator Dree Kavoussi voiced concern that such a policy would take away autonomy from the senate, a problem she sees with existing senate ad hoc committees.

CalSERVE Senator Haley Broder said the JSU isn’t representative of all Jewish students and pointed out the necessity of giving Jewish students outside the JSU a voice in the committee as well.

Herschmann, however, calling that “an argument for the sake of an argument,” said the JSU is the “most representative voice we have … (as the) Jewish governing body on campus.”

The amendment also gave the committee the responsibilities of “discussing, deliberating, and further educating about Anti-Semitism on campus.”

Herschmann then introduced another amendment charging the committee with requesting ASUC funding for students or student groups to use for Holocaust Remembrance Day events.

Kavoussi also expressed concerns that the bill could be interpreted as a limitation on pro-Palestine speech. Other senators clarified that this bill did not address the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Some senators raised concerns from their community members that the bill should encompass many types of religious oppression, not just anti-Semitism.

UC Berkeley junior Michaela Jo Fried asked, however, that the bill not be co-opted by including other marginalized groups.

“We should have the right to fight for ourselves as a unique people and a unique nation with a unique history and a unique modern story,” she said during public comment.

Directly following the passage of the bill, Kavoussi emphasized the need to raise awareness of Islamophobia as well. Herschmann and independent senator Marium Navid, who has spoken out against Islamophobia, may release a joint statement about the issue.

Sonja Hutson covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson.