ASUC Senate votes no confidence in administration’s handling of sexual assault

Berkeley, California (04/03/2013) – Tonight the ASUC Senate voted to approve SB 130, A Bill of No Confidence in UC Berkeley’s Disciplinary Policies Regarding Sexual Assault. Authored by Anaïs LaVoie, Aryle Butler and CalSERVE Senators DeeJay Pepito, Megan Majd and Klein Lieu, SB 130 passed with 12 Senators in support, 5 against, 1 abstention and 2 absences. The bill calls into question current policies’ inadequacies, suggests revisions to promote campus climate and safety, and supports the 6000 in Solidarity campaign – a CalSERVE effort to identify 6000 students willing to pledge solidarity to the estimated 6000 students on our campus today who will be sexually harassed, assaulted, or raped before they graduate from UC Berkeley.

Womyn present at the meeting shared stories of sexual assault and rape, proving the cruciality of campus work on this issue and the fundamental importance to students’ lives on campus. The bill is a step forward in making sure UC Berkeley policies around sexual assault are accountable to those harmed by it. Currently, survivors of sexual assault are afforded no rights in campus conduct procedures; this bill seeks to equalize the rights afforded to both assailants and reporters without infringing on the due process rights of the accused. The bill suggests the creation of a Crisis Management Center for survivors, an appeals process for survivors unhappy with the handling of their case, and the prohibition of using survivors’ sexual history as evidence in conduct hearings.

In support of the bill were: CalSERVE Senators DeeJay Pepito, Megan Majd, Nolan Pack, Sidronio Jacobo, Daley Vertiz and Klein Lieu; Student Action Senators George Kadifa, Emily White and Jeff Ma; Independent Senator Sadia Saifuddin; Cooperative Movement Party Senator Jorge Pacheco; and SQUELCH! SenatorJason Bellet.

Student Action Senator and Presidential candidate Rafi Lurie co-sponsored SB 130 in External Committee on Monday – but without explanation, and without removing his name as a co-sponsor, voted against it when it came to the floor. Joining him in voting against the bill were Student Action Senator and Executive Vice Presidential candidate Chen-Chen Huo; Student Action Senator and Academic Affairs Vice Presidential candidate Ryan Kang; and Student Action Senators Rosemary Hua and Mihir Deo.

Student Action Senator Nils Gilbertson abstained from voting; Student Action Senators Emily Chen and Tom Lee were absent from the meeting.

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