The ASUC is set to vote Wednesday on the Berkeley Community Angel Shots Initiative, which would fund the distribution of informational fliers in Berkeley restaurants, bars and eateries to spread awareness for sexual violence and sexual harassment, or SVSH, prevention measures.
“The Angel Shot is not actually a shot – or a drink at all,” said Jordan Ullman, chief of staff in the offices of ASUC senators Tyler Mahomes and Anjali Jogia-Sattar, in an email. “Put simply, the Angel Shot is something that a patron can order to let the staff at a bar or restaurant know that they feel unsafe. In this way, employees can intercede and potentially head off a dangerous encounter.”
The fliers list three types of Angel Shots – an Angel Shot “regular” signifies an escort request, “with ice” means the customer needs a ride home and “with lime” signals the bartender to call the police, according to Catherine Bauer, legislative director in Mahomes’ office and bill co-author. She added that fliers will be placed inside the bathrooms of alcohol-serving institutions, as well as behind the bar, in the view of bartenders but hidden from customers.
Bauer said she came up with the idea after speaking with Southern Methodist University Student Senate secretary Hope Heiden about the initiative and began drafting the legislation in August. Bauer noted that the ASUC’s bill is based on the successes of the SMU Senate’s and was adapted to fit the needs and circumstances of the Berkeley community.
“Having the cross-collaboration between SMU and UC Berkeley on this project is a huge step in the right direction,” Bauer said. “It made me feel really good that we were able to partner with them in this manner of sharing information and knowledge and promoting positive change across the United States and not just in isolated areas.”
Bauer said the angel shot initiative is “solution-oriented” and provides tangible measures for sexual violence prevention. She hopes the project creates a “backup plan” for anyone who feels unsafe at a restaurant, eatery or bar.
Bauer noted Mahomes’ and Jogia-Sattar’s offices will distribute fliers by speaking with restaurant managers door-to-door and cold emailing, along with the ASUC Sexual Violence Commission, or SVC. The SVC has allocated $300 in funding from their yearly budget to carry out flier distribution, which Mahomes said will occur within two to three weeks of the bill’s passing.
“Our initial hope is 4-5 businesses on its first wave, and then to continue to implement the Angel Shots Initiative to as many businesses as we can,” Mahomes said in an email. “It is my hope that this initiative will provide more safety and SVSH prevention for Cal students and the public and provoke other SVSH prevention projects.”
Mahomes added that he envisions future partnerships with campus’s Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils to implement similar SVSH prevention policies for campus Greek life events.
Greeks Against Sexual Assault Co-Director Cathryn Holmes said the project provides a “subtle avenue” for students to seek help before contacting public authorities. She is hopeful to implement similar policies in modules for students. Co-director Matthew Ramey added college students are at especially high risk for SVSH.
“This is a campus culture issue as much as it is an SVSH initiative,” Jogia-Sattar, who is the bill’s primary sponsor, said in an email. “To combat and truly prevent SVSH on campus, we must first tackle the underlying culture that sustains it.”