ASUC Senate discusses partnerships, police relations at meeting

Kate Finman/Staff

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The ASUC Senate met for its penultimate meeting of the year Wednesday, discussing police-community relations and future campus partnerships.

The Senate meeting began on a tense note with an update from UCPD Chief Margo Bennett. Several ASUC senators questioned and argued with Bennett about her methods and timelines for disseminating information during events of heightened police presence, such as conservative author Ann Coulter’s visit to campus Wednesday.

“I can’t give specifics on what the police are going to do,” Bennett said. “I just cannot do that; I won’t do that.”

Bennett added, however, that she would be willing to meet with a “manageable” number of students to brief them before police activities in the future.

Bennett had to leave about 30 minutes after the meeting started but said she would return at the ASUC Senate’s next meeting Dec. 4.

During public comment, the Queer Alliance and Resource Center, or QARC, director Mia Villasenor and QARC operations coordinator Eleanor James Halloran spoke in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance. They read out the names of transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals who were murdered in the United States this year.

Later in the meeting, ASUC Senator Romario, who does not use a last name, also honored these individuals with a moment of silence during his senate announcement.

“These names represent siblings, parents and children, friends and lovers and humans who didn’t deserve their lives cut short for the simple sin of living as their true selves,” Halloran said. “You can remember them, and you can do better for the trans people on this campus.”

Andy Theocharous, ASUC executive vice president, shared an update about the negotiation process with The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal over a potential partnership.

According to Theocharous, The New York Times has offered the ASUC a three-year contract that would cost more than $50,000. The contract would include bringing esteemed journalists to speak on campus and provide an opportunity for students to have a lunch meeting with two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof. It would also send two student reporters to a writing conference and provide job positions for two campus ambassadors.

The Wall Street Journal’s proposal would be “a significant price decrease” from The New York Times’ plan, according to Theocharous. The proposal would include the opportunity for professors to easily aggregate materials, an opportunity for students to attend a large technology conference and subscription benefits for the duration of a two-year contract.

Theocharous recommended that both contracts be pursued.

The senate passed two finance resolutions at the meeting. It tabled an additional bill, regarding diversity and allyship training at the beginning of the year for ASUC Senate and executive officials, until the Dec. 4 meeting.

Kate Finman is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.