The Associated Students Legislative Council discussed the instatement of a new A.S. entity at last night’s four-hour meeting.
The council continued last year’s debate on whether to transform the campus’ Human Rights Council — currently an Office of Student Life unit — into a new A.S. unit, the Human Rights Board. While many board members thought the addition would fill a current void in A.S. Boards, Committees and Commissions, others felt another branch would add unneeded stress to current student government infrastructure.
Off-Campus Representative Chloe Stryker, who authored the bill, said the movement was practically retroactive.
“I think HRC should have been a BCC to begin with,” Stryker said. “An OSL is very specific and this group is very broad. Also, obviously if they were working as an OSL, they wouldn’t have come to us. How does it look if A.S. is turning hundreds of students trying to build a coalition away?”
Additionally, Representative-at-Large Danielle Mayorga said the absence of such an organization within the institution reflects poorly on the student body as a whole.
“It has to do with the way we are represented as a campus to our state, to our nation, to anyone who looks at the UC — they will look at our A.S.,” Mayorga said. “At this point, human rights aren’t even being addressed in our own student government.”
Off-Campus Representative Joe Lewis, on the other hand, said the association doesn’t have the funds to support a new board.
“I think it’s important to establish that the vote isn’t upon how necessary human rights are,” Lewis said. “It’s one of the most noble causes you can have in a BCC. But as A.S., we also represent the students and right now we’re in the recessionary period and other BCCs aren’t doing so well.”
The council ultimately shot down the bill with a 13–9–1 vote.
Furthermore, the council decided to take a stance against hate crimes towards the queer community.
University Owned Off-Campus Housing Representative Alfredo del Cid cited a measure he had written in response to a recent rise in suicide rates amongst queer youth.
“Sometimes the language we use has no intent, but does send bad messages — such as saying, ‘that’s gay,’” del Cid said. “That has recently driven nine young people to death. I’m asking that we pass this, but also take a moment to reflect on what we do and say.”
Lastly, the board approved a piece of legislation to support today’s Day of Action — a rally in defense of public education.
“It’s very important for us to show our support for this,” Representative-at-Large Jasmin Esparza said. “We need to stand by our students.”