At Wednesday night’s Associated Students Senate meeting, senators and executive officers first discussed continuing efforts to deal with the ramifications of Deltopia and then voted to correct a mistake made in a previous meeting when they approved funding for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) that broke financial code.
News of the broken code was given by Internal Vice President Kyley Scarlet, who informed the Senate that the previous meeting’s decision allowed SJP to receive A.S. funding for transportation for the second time that year, even though A.S. groups technically may only receive funding for transportation once per year. A discussion ensued to determine whether or not to correct the mistake — despite SJP members’ understanding that they would still receive the money — with the final decision culminating in taking back the funding.
Before discussing the SJP fund issues, however, Executive Officers presented to the Senate the work their offices have been doing in light of the “civil unrest” that occurred Saturday evening of Deltopia, with senators later discussing potential strategies to prevent such occurrences in the future.
A.S. President Jonathan Abboud devoted most of his speaking time to the matter of Deltopia and its repercussions. Abboud said the events were distressing, with bottles and rocks thrown at police personnel and then the police responding with tear gas and rubber bullets. However, he said A.S. reacted quickly to the incidents and that their response was well received by the general public.
“The cool thing is that we were the ones sending out the message and not the university, so Associated Students was ahead of the game,” Abboud said.
Abboud also said most officials seemed open to working with students. In a meeting he attended with External Vice President of Local Affairs Alex Moore and all of the Senior Officers of the university, he said officials looked to find a solution with the students rather than seeking to enact harsher restrictions.
“We discussed just kind of what happened that weekend, and the tone of the conversation was surprisingly pro-student, and not, ‘Let’s just crack down,’” Abboud said.
Abboud said there would be a committee set up to assess the cameras that appeared in Isla Vista just before Deltopia, and he confirmed to Senators that the cameras were paid for by the university and were intended for temporary use only.
Student Advocate General Kristian Whittaker also spoke about Deltopia during his report to the Senate. According to Whittaker, the most pressing issue for his office since Saturday has been that some students have been told by police that they could be evicted from their homes or expelled from UCSB based on their participation in the civil unrest.
Whittaker said students can only be expelled if they engage in an act that “indicates a breach of the student code of conduct.” Eviction, he said, depends on specific lease agreements and would be left to the discretion of the landlord.
Moore’s report discussed the reasoning behind requesting an investigation from the Civil Grand Jury on Saturday night’s events. Moore said he and other officers felt it was important to request a third-party investigation since no such circumstances of riots, tear gas and other events came up during previous Deltopias. Moore said he hopes the investigation can shed new light or a different perspective on the incidents that occurred last Saturday.
“At the end of the day, we don’t have the answers … We’re looking to the Civil Grand Jury because it’s a fresh set of eyes,” Moore said. “We’re not looking to accuse anyone of anything, we’re just looking for answers, because we’ve had Deltopia for, what, a decade, and this is the first time this has happened.”
Senators proposed potential actions that the community can take in order to prevent future events from spinning out of control. Ideas suggested included enacting parking restrictions, blocking entrances to I.V. or making Deltopia an official, sanctioned event that could potentially make it easier to regulate.
After finishing the discussion about Deltopia, Senators went through details of the broken financial code in funding SJP. What initially occurred in the previous meeting was that the Student Commission On Racial Equality (SCORE) decided to allocate $250 for SJP for the group to transport a wall of photographs to the school. However, because SJP already received transportation funding earlier in the year in order to attend a conference, SCORE’S allocation broke code.
Since Senate approved the allocation in their previous meeting, however, they had the power to choose not to correct the error and allow the group to keep the funding. A debate ensued on whether or not they should revisit the previous meeting’s minutes and correct the mistake.
On-Campus Senator John Pena-Soriano said he felt Senators should allow the mistake to pass since the group had been operating under the assumption that they would receive the funding.
“It seems like it’s really on us,” Pena-Soriano said. “I feel that it’s unfair for us to take away their funding now that we approved it.”
Off-Campus Senator Derek Wakefield disagreed with Pena-Soriano. Wakefield said he did not have anything against the group or their reason for requesting funding, but he said he felt that Senators should abide to the legal code regardless.
“We have to follow policy, otherwise there’s no point in having policy in the first place,” Wakefield said.
Ultimately, Senators voted to strike the funding from SCORE’s minutes, thereby revoking their previous approval.
This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.