The UC Santa Barbara Associated Students 74th Senate discussed a Resolution to Condemn The Israeli Government’s and the IDF’s Dehumanization of the Palestinian People at its April 24 meeting.

The Associated Students (A.S.) Senate did not vote on the resolution, motioning to table it for one week. The Senate will discuss the resolution again at its May 1 meeting.

Second-year political science major and College of Letters & Sciences Senator Alejandra Martinez and fourth-year biology major and College of Creative Studies Senator Diya Bhandari co-authored the resolution

Nearly 150 students and organizations at UCSB endorsed the resolution, including the Muslim Student Association (MSA), Students for Justice in Palestine and UCSB Indus, among others.

The resolution calls for A.S. to “demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire between Hamas and the Israeli government and the [Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)] in Gaza,” “Demand the moral treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza” and “Recognize and unequivocally condemn the Israeli government and the IDF.”

The resolution also demands A.S. to “Recognize the definition of “terrorism” as defined and agreed upon by UN General Assemblies,” “Mourn all civilian loss of life in Israel, Palestine, and the surrounding areas” and find it self-evident that legitimate expressions of solidarity for both the Palestinian movement and the Israeli people by students and organizations on campus are distinct from calls for violence and endorsements of terrorism.

Martinez spoke about the importance of the resolution, and how it provides a voice for marginalized communities that have not felt like they were able to speak up.

“We bring this resolution on behalf of the many marginalized student communities who have trusted us to share their opinions and to represent when they cannot voice it out on their own, where they have been silenced or intimidated,” Martinez said.“There has been an unjust and unfair treatment of students who chose to put themselves out there on their campus every day to bring attention to the children, women and families destroyed. This goes to the alienation and dehumanization of students who publicly present themselves as Muslim, Palestinian or other minorities.”

“We must recognize that our university community is diverse, with students from all backgrounds, perspectives, political ideologies,” she continued. “It is our responsibility to ensure all voices are heard, especially those who are directly affected by this conflict, especially those who have been silenced or feel unwelcome in the space.”

After Martinez spoke on the resolution, several UCSB students and community members expressed their solidarity with the resolution during public forum.

There were no students at the meeting who spoke in opposition to the resolution.

UCSB MSA President and fourth-year biology major Maheen Ahmad emphasized during public forum that the resolution will be beneficial for the student community.

“This resolution has been long-awaited by the Muslim community at UCSB and its passing is long overdue,” Ahmad said. “I strongly believe that this resolution will be a step toward mending UCSB’s campus climate and making marginalized voices finally feel heard by the Senate after time and time again, many of you have failed us.”

After public forum, Off-Campus Senator, first president pro-tempore and second-year computer science major Ephraim Shalunov raised a point of order, stating that the bill was altered after it was posted on the agenda and that senators and the student body did not have adequate time to look over the bill. 

The original bill asked A.S. to call upon all university communities to “fully and completely condemn all actions of the Israeli government and IDF,” while the revised version asked university communities to condemn “war crimes and atrocities resulting in immense civilian casualties by the Israeli government and the IDF.”

Shalunov contended that this change was significant and that the Senate had previously agreed to release controversial resolutions well before the meetings at which they are proposed.

Shalunov also alleged that Martinez and Bhandari intentionally brought the bill to the Senate during Passover, or Pesach, so that no Jewish or pro-Israel students would come to speak about the bill.

“Right now is Pesach, and the middle of election season. The reason that there is not a single Jewish or Israel, so to speak, student here to speak to you in the audience is because the version of the resolution that was originally sent was expected to be so uncontroversially not passed that people didn’t want to break Pesach and come speak,” Shalunov said. 

“You changed the resolution minutes before, but we have made it inherently clear that when we’re introducing controversial legislation, we introduce it at least a week in advance,” he continued. 

The bill authors said that they made changes to the wording of the bill around two hours before the meeting — not minutes before — and said that they did not believe the changes to the bill were substantial.

Bhandari and Martinez also denied claims that they intentionally brought the bill to the Senate during Passover.

“The claim that we brought this over conveniently because it’s Passover were completely false,” Bhandari said. “This is something in the works since fall quarter when the Hamas resolution was initially released. Muslim students don’t feel comfortable in this space, and it took us some time to release this resolution.”

Internal Vice President and fourth-year economics and philosophy double major Sohum Kalia ultimately ruled that the changes were substantial, and suggested that the Senate discuss the previous version of the resolution before the edits were made.

Each senator then shared their thoughts on the original resolution: some senators called for the resolution to be passed, while others, including Shalunov, recommended that the bill be tabled.

The A.S. Senate convenes weekly on Wednesdays in the University Center Flying A Studios Room at 6:30 p.m. to pass legislation and discuss campus and student issues.

The Nexus will continue reporting on this issue as more information becomes available.


Alex Levin
Alex Levin (he/him) is the University News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Levin was the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. He can be reached at