Queer Alliance Resource Center calls for resignation of ASUC Senator Isabella Chow

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Updates 11/05/18: This article has been updated to reflect information from ASUC Senator Teddy Lake, ASUC President Alexander Wilfert and QARC Director Regan Putnam. 

The Queer Alliance Resource Center, or QARC, at UC Berkeley created a petition Monday calling for the resignation of ASUC Senator Isabella Chow.

QARC is on track to have more than 1,000 signatures on its petition as of press time, according to QARC Director Regan Putnam.

At last Wednesday’s ASUC meeting, Student Action cut ties with Chow after comments she made about the LGBTQ+ community. At the meeting, Senators discussed a resolution opposing the Trump administration’s proposed Title IX changes and standing in solidarity with transgender, intersex, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming students.

Chow said she could not support the resolution because she believes that God created man and woman and that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. She said that, as a Christian, she believes certain lifestyles “conflict with what is good, right and true.” Chow could not be reached for comment as of press time.

The QARC petition demanded that Chow resign from her position as senator and said Chow’s views are “antithetical” to the values and mission of the campus.

Chow’s actions in Senate are harmful and cannot be normalized; we cannot tell trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer folks that they are wrong for their authentic selves,” the QARC petition said. “We must embrace and celebrate them for who they are, not in spite of it.”

The petition also claimed that Chow is in violation of Article XI, Section 7 of the ASUC Constitution, which prohibits ASUC participation in or endorsement of activities that disadvantage any marginalized identity.

ASUC President Alexander Wilfert said he supports the language used in the petition and stressed the importance of QARC speaking up in response to a “direct attack on their community.”

Wilfert added that, along with other ASUC elected officials, he is trying to figure out next steps in terms of responding to Chow’s comments. He said one idea he is looking into is the possibility of a recall of Chow’s seat — recall elections can be initiated at any time by a petition signed by 25 percent of the number of people who voted in the previous election.

Weighing the ASUC’s options moving forward, Wilfert said he does not want the ASUC to be put in jeopardy in the scenario that conservative organizations point to the ASUC’s response to Chow’s comments as a threat on free speech.

“In theory, I agree that this individual should not be holding a seat with views that are so contradictory with what we should be standing for,” Wilfert said. “I’m worried about consequences on the other end.”

The petition said it is not an official petition but “a form to engage with and gauge the interest of the UC Berkeley community in this cause.” The form called for signatures in support of Chow’s resignation and urged people to show up to this Wednesday’s ASUC meeting to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.

ASUC Senator Teddy Lake said in an email that she will sign the petition in a “personal capacity” and that she hopes her fellow ASUC officials will be respectful of the members of the LGBTQ+ community who choose to speak at the upcoming ASUC meeting.

“The petition is a reflection of the outrage and hurt my community feels in light of Senator Chow’s reprehensible comments in Senate,” Lake said in an email. “Hopefully, the petition will help to contextualize the harm Senator Chow has caused and allow her to realize the necessary next steps.”

Hannah Piette is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Hannah_PietteDC.