ASUC Senate discusses injustices, Senator Milton Zerman resigns at meeting

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ASUC Senator Milton Zerman resigned at the ASUC Senate meeting Feb. 19, during which several grievances on perceived injustices were discussed.

Zerman resigned in protest of the rejection of his controversial bill to condemn Bears for Palestine for its cubicle display in Eshleman Hall at the ASUC University and External Affairs Committee meeting Feb. 10.

“The near-unanimous rejection of that bill has alienated the vast majority of Jewish students on the UC Berkeley campus and has in their eyes drained the ASUC of legitimacy and moral authority,” Zerman said in his resignation letter.

External vice president of Berkeley College Republicans, or BCR, Rudra Reddy, who is a former Daily Californian columnist, said BCR has unwavering support for the bill and spoke of plans to ensure the advocacy for conservative students in light of the loss of their senate representation.

ASUC Senator Shelby Weiss, who represents Jewish students, also said her support of the bill has not changed, but added her community’s representation will not be affected greatly by Zerman’s resignation.

“Senator Zerman accomplished nothing in the ASUC other than a divisive, failed resolution,” said ASUC Senator Romario, who does not use a last name, in an email. “I look forward to seeing his seat filled by someone who puts adequate energy into improving the general well being of the student body.”

Representatives from New Student Services, or NSS, also spoke at the meeting about the changes made to student orientation since 2017. NSS director Micki Antovich said the previous system did not serve international, low-income or transfer students, while the current weeklong Golden Bear Orientation serves most new students.

Antovich announced there will be orientation with the Disabled Students’ Program for the first time in the fall.

Afterward, UCPD spokesperson Sgt. Nicolas Hernandez spoke to the senate. Several senators questioned the actions officers took Feb. 10, during which UCPD attempted to stop a Native American student who issued a death threat toward Palestinians at the ASUC committee meeting discussing Zerman’s bill but instead stopped a different indigenous student, according to ASUC Senator Media Sina.

“A lot of communities are still really hurt by the wrongful racial profiling,” Sina said. “Is there any sort of remedial action that can be taken? Reaching out to the communities? Apologizing?”

Hernandez assured the senators that UCPD would be available to follow up on the situation.

Following other reports, ASUC Student Advocate Nava Bearson gave updates on her work with campus anti-discrimination policies. She explained that the current system allows students to file formal grievances if they feel they have been discriminated against, but these complaints often do not get processed. She said she is trying to improve the system through continuing conversation.

Angelina Wang is a student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @dc_angelina.