ASUC inter-semester committee discusses student safety, cancellation fee

Daniel Kim/File

The ASUC inter-semester committee convened Wednesday to discuss student safety and passed three bills, including one urging the campus to amend the summer sessions nonrefundable cancellation fee.

Two bills on student safety — SB 108 and SB 109 — urged the campus to update its anonymous hate crime reporting system and implored UCPD and BPD to stop participating in the Urban Shield training program, respectively.

Resolution SB 108, which is sponsored by Senator-elect Nuha Khalfay, formally recognized the murder of Nabra Hassanen — a teenage girl who was recently beaten to death on her way home from a mosque in Virginia — as a hate crime and called on the campus to update its anonymous hate crime reporting system.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the weeks following the election of Donald Trump, hate crimes spiked in the United States.

Currently, campus students can report hate crimes anonymously through a universitywide process. The campus’s anonymous reporting webpage, however, is currently under repair.

“Anonymous reporting is really important and essential so that students feel safe reporting hate crimes when they happen,” Khalfay said.

The inter-semester committee also unanimously passed SB 109, calling on UCPD to end participation in Urban Shield. The bill, sponsored by Senators-elect Juniperangelica Cordova and Hani Hussein alleges that the Urban Shield program “puts communities of color in serious danger and escalates everyday crises to possible deadly encounters.”

In Feb. 2016, the ASUC passed Senate Resolution 048, sponsored by then-senator Boomer Vicente, which recommended banning Urban Shield training for UCPD.

“Ceasing UCPD participation in Urban Shield would be an important step to demilitarize the university,” John Lindsay-Poland, co-sponsor of the resolution and wage peace coordinator at American Friends Service Committee, a local advocacy organization, said in an email to The Daily Californian at the time.

During a contentious meeting on June 20, Berkeley City Council voted to continue using Urban Shield.

The committee additionally heard a presentation from BridgeUSA — a campus group that gained notoriety after inviting Ann Coulter to speak on campus last semester — about an environmental fair the group plans to host in April.

The event intends to depoliticize environmental politics, according to a handout the group distributed to committee members.

The committee also approved a bill that calls on the campus to amend its process for charging summer session nonrefundable cancellation fees — a $100 fee is currently charged to students who drop their summer classes after enrollment. Sponsored by Senator-elect Carmel Gutherz, the bill calls for the campus to clarify when and how the fee is assessed.

“Nonrefundable fee is overly punitive,” Gutherz said. “Even on a case-by-case basis, summer sessions refuses to be very lenient.”  

Karim Doumar is the editor in chief and president. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @dailycalkarim.