ASUC Senate talks UC Berkeley event policy, Cal Lodge sale

Yiran Chen/Staff

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The ASUC Senate convened for its weekly meeting Wednesday to hear complaints about the new campus events policy and to discuss the sale of Cal Lodge.

Joseph Santolan, a representative of campus student organization International Youth and Students for Social Equality, or IYSSE, which discusses local and international issues of contemporary politics, attended the meeting to discuss the new campus events policy. Afterward, the senate briefly discussed a resolution to sell Cal Lodge before moving it to the meeting next Wednesday.

More recently, IYSSE has taken issue with the new campus events policy that went into interim effect this year, which would require an eight-week police review prior to the official event. Santolan said he believes this is “antithetical to free speech” and that the police already have the power to deploy forces, so they should not have the additional power to block speakers who come to campus.

“Outside speakers need to secure sponsorship. If they get that, they have the authority to come and speak,” Santolan said when asked about his organization’s stance on provocative speaking events, such as Milo Yiannopoulos’ appearance on campus Feb. 1, which ended in extensive damages to campus property and required a large police presence.

Santolan alleged that an event organized by IYSSE on the centenary of the Russian Revolution was nearly canceled after a police review of the speaker, Socialist Equality Party national chairman David North. He added that it was only because of departmental sponsorship that IYSSE secured afterward that the event was able to take place.

The issue does not pertain only to outside speakers, Santolan said. He said IYSSE was sent an email from the Cal Veterans Group alerting it that its tailgate party was canceled because it could not meet the mandatory eight-week prior review deadline.

Santolan said at the meeting that while the issue is large, most of the campus is unaware of it, and when his organization told students about the policy, most were shocked and opposed to it. Santolan suggested the ASUC draft a resolution with “teeth” that condemns this policy.

“Our liberties cannot be sold away for security,” Santolan said at the meeting. “Legacy and defense of the Free Speech Movement rests with the student body.”

After the guest announcements, Academic Affairs Vice President Ian Bullitt updated the senate about the events planned for the currently ongoing De-Stress Week, including Dogs in the Glade, Petting Zoo, Social Media Blackout Challenge and the traditional Llamas on Sproul.

Following these announcements was a discussion held on the sale of Cal Lodge, a campus property located in Norden, California. According to the bill text, the property is uninhabitable and requires extensive repairs estimated at about $30,000. An interested party was found with the help of a realtor, however, allowing for a quicker sale of the property with full disclosure of known issues and costs.

Some senators, including Senator Adnan Hemani and Chief Financial Officer-elect Sofie Yang, were in favor of selling the lodge that night. Hemani said at the meeting that the purchase of the website Berkeleytime is directly contingent upon the money coming in from this sale. Chief Legal Officer Jen Shi, however, disagreed at the meeting, saying that a one-page resolution is not enough for a sale exceeding $500,000.

The senators were not able to come to a consensus on the resolution. The senators will finalize the resolutions next week, at the final ASUC meeting of the semester.

Azwar Shakeel is the lead student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @azwarshakeel12.