Student gov threatens to give CR funds to Black Student Union
A UC-Berkeley student senator recently proposed reallocating all College Republicans funding to the Black Student Union, alleging that the group violated unspecified rules by inviting conservative speakers to campus for "Free Speech Week."
While the proposal was met with murmurs of agreement from most of the senators present, several voiced concerns that reallocating the funds would expose student government to legal action by the College Republicans.
A University of California, Berkeley Student Senator proposed that all student government funding for the Berkeley College Republicans be reallocated to the Black Student Union.
According to The Daily Californian, Senator Rizza Estacio made an amendment to the proposed budget allocations to student organizations and university groups which would eliminate the $1,000 funding for the BCR and add it to the budget for the BSU.
Estacio said that her reasoning for the reallocation is because the BCRs “have violated a lot of, like, lead center rules during like free speech week,” adding that because of this, the organization does not deserve funding from the ASUC.
The proposal was met with murmurs of agreement from across the room, but some senators were concerned with the possible legal obstacles to the amendment.
“I believe there are genuine concerns about the legal implications of taking away funding from BCR,” cautioned Senator Taehan Lee.
This concern was echoed by Matthew Lewis, ASUC housing commissioner, who stated that while he disagrees with the College Republicans, he fears the reallocation would result in a lawsuit.
“Before I speak I just want to acknowledge that people have feelings about wanting to defund BCR are very valid; they are a terrible organization,” said Lewis. “What will happen inevitably in court is not only will the courts order be for the ASUC to fund BCR, they’ll probably also order the ASUC to fund BCR at a higher amount, which would mean cuts to other student groups who actually deserve the money.”
Another ASUC Senator, Megha Torpunuri, also voiced opposition to the amendment, stating that it is clear targeting of an organization.
“I think this is baseless and woeful targeting of an organization,” Torpunuri said, “and I will not stand for that with any student organization here on campus, especially as a finance committee senator.”
The Berkeley College Republicans told Campus Reform that the club will consider legal options, if necessary, as its members have done in the past when their rights have been violated.
“The Berkeley College Republicans continue to take those who destroy our private property and violate our unalienable rights to court, and we will exercise legal routes to remedy instances of political discrimination,” the club declared.
According to the report, the ASUC Senate will vote on this amendment on Thursday.
Campus Reform has reached out to Estacio and UC-Berkeley, but has not received a response.
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