The ASUC Senate passed five resolutions at its regular Wednesday night meeting, including one demanding the establishment of an independent police advisory board.
This new advisory board would be independent of UCPD and of the ASUC. The senate also discussed Title IX at the meeting and heard an announcement from the Berkeley Disaster Team, or BDT, regarding its program.
The resolution supporting an independent police advisory board was passed in immediate consideration, meaning the bill was proposed, discussed and passed all in the same meeting. While the ASUC did establish a UCPD Oversight Commission in spring 2018, the new board will be independent and have the power to review the campus’s police policy.
“I don’t understand how you are able to consider calling your model a community advisory when you have not spoken to students,” said the resolution’s primary sponsor, Senator Nick Araujo.
Currently, Sgt. Nicolas Hernandez is UCPD’s liaison to the ASUC. During the meeting, Araujo suggested inviting UCPD Chief Margo Bennett to at the meeting, alleging that Hernandez’s lack of engagement was disrespectful to the senate and student body as a whole.
Student advocate Sophie Bandarkar discussed pending changes to the UC system’s Title IX policies, such as expanding the definition of sexual assault to explicitly include nonconsensual contact, during her executive officer reports. She also noted that the UC Office of the President has been “really firm” that changes to the federal Title IX policies will not affect the university’s policy.
A resolution opposing the proposed federal Title IX changes, specifically the proposed definition of gender, was also introduced at this meeting. The resolution’s primary sponsor, Senator Teddy Lake, said the memo obtained by The New York Times has caused a lot of anxiety within the LGBTQ+ community.
“(It’s) very nerve-wracking to lose your right to legal recourse; when something does happen, that’s grounds for a discrimination lawsuit,” Lake said. “Folks are concerned about losing their rights to make the complaint about things that are grounds for a lawsuit.”
Lake said she has been in contact with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton and Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion Oscar Dubón on this issue and that Sutton had assured her that the current UC Title IX policy was protective of transgender people.
During the meeting’s general announcements, members of the BDT gave a presentation on their place within the campus’s emergency disaster plans.
BDT gives training sessions to student groups across campus and provides medical assistance in large-scale events, such as 2018 San Francisco Pride. The BDT was also called to work in the campus’s operations center during “Free Speech Week” in 2017.
“We have a general disaster presentation that covers mostly natural disasters, but also active shooters,” said BDT Deputy Director Mindy Dai. “Anything that has a potential of happening, like earthquakes or fires. … We just want to be as practical as we can.”
Contact Sakura Cannestra and Mallika Seshadri at [email protected].