Student leaders pass resolution in wake of Casa incidents
November 3, 2016
The Associated Student Government is calling for more transparency by administrators regarding recent on campus incidents. ASG unanimously passed a resolution addressing the homophobic, anti-semitic vandalism found in Casa Italiana Residence Hall last month.
At their meeting last week, the student senators sought to recognize the incident by communicating Santa Clara’s commitment to fostering a safe, inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds. The resolution reaffirmed that “the administration should hold the concerns and the safety of the students to the highest degree.”
Before passing the resolution, senators debated over the use of specific language such as the phrase “hate crime.” Maureen O’Neill, senator-at-large for LGBTQ+ inclusion and co-author of the resolution, pushed for the use of stronger terminology.
“It is important to remember that Casa Italiana is not just part of a university, it is a home for students,” she said.
Throughout the session, the language of the resolution was edited for accuracy to express the severity of the situation. After a brief debate, the word “hate” remained in the resolution.
“I expected significant pushback so the reception in the Senate was actually a bit warmer than I anticipated,” O’Neill said. “Most of the issues centered around the phrase ‘these actions were not only an act of discrimination, but of hate’ found in the first ‘be it resolved’ paragraph.”
Senators referenced a similar incident that occurred at San Jose State University in September in which swastikas were found drawn in a dorm. The incident sparked controversy over the use of the term “hate crime” after SJSU was required to take back their use of the term due to its legal definition.
Because the Santa Clara Police Department has not yet deemed this incident a hate crime, Santa Clara administrators have labeled the vandalism a bias incident.
Within the resolution, ASG outlines its commitment to transparency for the university community, stating in the text that “transparency is needed more than ever during these times, as the ambiguity of the initial actions instilled more fear of the unknown than it did to mitigate their effects.”
“A resolution is only a small part of the actions needed to cause a paradigm shift on campus,” O’Neill said. “But I hope it can show that ASG is committed to supporting and voicing the concerns of all students.”
The meeting continued with announcements from the executive branch and other committees. The Communication Committee updated the senators about a civic engagement initiative that aims to inform students about the local police chief candidates.
In addition, the Facilities and Operations Committee announced that an a.a. bowl station will be installed in the Farmer’s Pantry section of Benson Memorial Center within the next two weeks.
ASG Senate will meet again on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.
Contact Sophie Pollock at firstname.lastname@example.org.