69th A.S. Senate Shuts Down its First Meeting After Student Protests

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Justice Dumlao, third year global studies major, speaks to members of A.S. Senate about the divestment resolution failure.

Minh Hua
Campus Beat Reporter

After the 68th Associated Students Senate failed to meet quorum on Wednesday, ending their final meeting of the year, the 69th Senate held their first meeting in the Hub at 8 p.m. that evening. However, they voted to adjourn after only 15 minutes when student protesters arrived and took over the stage.

The 68th Senate meeting was set to pick up with the acceptance of the previous week’s agenda after 14 senators and proxies walked out of the May 16 meeting due to conflicts on a controversial resolution calling for divestment from companies who provide military support to Israel.

However, only 12 senators and proxies were present at this week’s meeting, resulting in outgoing Internal Vice President Jasmine Sandhu adjourning the meeting. TBL reporters spotted several of the absent outgoing Senators at a candlelight vigil for the 2014 Isla Vista tragedy.

“We are not meeting quorum so you are all terming out of recess. Next Senate is invited to convene their first meeting at 8 p.m. in the Hub, but this Senate has officially termed out. Congratulations,” said Sandhu.

Although the 68th Senate wasn’t able to approve the elections ballot, A.S. Executive Director Marisela Márquez told The Bottom Line that Elections Board had already approved the 2018 elections results, so the 69th Senate would instead ratify the election results.

According to A.S. Legal Code, “Unless otherwise specified in the Legal Code, the Associated Students Elections Board will have all jurisdiction in regards to election rules, policies, enforcement, and promotion at all times during the academic year.”

The 69th Senate began their term with the inauguration of 13 incoming senators and one executive, despite missing 11 senators and Internal Vice President-Elect Steven Ho. Outgoing IVP Jasmine Sandhu swore the 13 new senators into office, while outgoing President Hieu Le swore in the incoming President, Brooke Kopel.

Afterwards, Senate unanimously passed the 2018 elections results, taking their official places at the table at approximately 8:40 p.m.

Shortly thereafter, a procession of student protesters stormed the Hub and took to the stage, chanting “Shut it down!” In the face of the demonstration, Senate voting to adjourn the meeting early.

“We are having a civil disobedience because we think that what is happening now is illegitimate and unfair,” stated Justice Dumlao, one of the protestors. Dumlao proxied for Senator Uemura at the previous week’s Senate meeting, during which he was a proponent for the divestment resolution to be directional rather than positional.

“I will not stop this fight just because all of your bureaucratics don’t know how to sit down at a fucking table and look at a resolution for what it is,” said one of the protesters amidst arguments between proponents and adversaries of divestment.

Some outgoing senators expressed their concern about this form of protest.

“I wish this didn’t happen. It’s good that we have arguments, and it’s good that we are going to get angry and yell at each other, but not like this. It should be a civil discourse,” said outgoing Transfer Senator Kian Maalizadeh.

“It’s unfortunate that the 69th Senate had to start their first meeting this way because this was what our senate was supposed to handle and have a productive dialogue over. I think that this could have been resolved in a productive manner last week with acceptance of agenda and finding some compromise,” added outgoing College of Letters and Sciences Senator Grayson Hernandez.

The majority of protesters declined to talk to the press, except for Dumlao, who was hopeful about future communications.

“I think the 69th A.S. Senate is very capable of having dialogue. I think that they can work on things once a good dialogue is set up and people feel like they’re heard to the fullest extent,” said Dumlao.

The 69th Senate met for a second time on Thursday at 2 p.m. in the State Street room of the University Center.

Dominick Ojeda contributed reporting.