Opinions Editor & Senior Copy Editor
There has been a recent uproar from students demanding to revote for a new Associated Students (AS) president. Recently-elected president, Daevionne Beasley, has been accused of sexual assault, and Izzy Mitchell, a student activist and advocator for Gauchos4Transparency, has raised these concerns in the campus community. Mitchell created a petition in hopes to remove Beasley from his current position and hold a new election. In response to this accusation, Beasley, sworn to the AS Senate, denies these allegations and accepts investigation by the Title XI Office at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). With piling testimonies and accusations of sexual assault, only time and investigation will tell whether Beasley’s denial is true, however the real issue here is the Senate’s response.
As of May 17, the petition for re-election collected 600 verified signatures, however the Senate denied its appeal as the signatures were deemed unofficial and invalid. Moving forward, Mitchell then spoke at the Senate meeting on May 20 in which she expressed concerns for the Senate’s bias in protecting survivors of similar cases.
She also addressed the long waits between email exchanges with the board members as senators and executives’ responses were extremely delayed or completely absent. Mitchell also asked for clarification as to why former AS President Alison Sir had cut off all social media responses. Sir defended herself saying she had been harassed through her accounts as people accused her with hate mail and messages to which the situation had worsened to the point where her personal phone number was exposed and used against her.
The meeting continued with further discussion on the lack of action from the Senate, however many members opposed this silence, pleading with Mitchell and her petition. Soon after, the board created a rough statement which was not to be released until approval and further verification, and commenced swearing in the new AS board executives.
The most alarming thing about this case is not only the fact that there’s yet another sexual assault case at UCSB that isn’t being thoroughly investigated, but also the lack of responsibility that the Senate demonstrates on behalf of its students. Sure, we’ve heard about sexual assault and harassment throughout the years; it’s terrible, but it’s not surprising. Students know at least one victim, has heard about at least one case, and recalls one incident. We’re used to seeing a certain situation is “being investigated” or needs “further consideration,” and Beasley’s case is not an exception.
Considering these situations, I want to bring to question: why are students’ voices being suppressed and ignored? Why is the Senate not adhering to what the people want, if its organization was designed to do exactly that? Why is the Associated Students mission statement “to serve the campus community,” yet 600 signatures are ignored and deemed unverifiable?
Both parties aren’t innocent. Although the majority hasn’t, some students demonstrated cyber-bullying and intentional hate. There’s no reason for such harshness, and there’s absolutely no toleration for such threatening actions; Sir’s lockdown of her social media accounts is justifiable. But silence from the entire Senate body? Making decisions without consent on who they affect, and disapproving the community’s voices? That’s what I call injustice.
Link to Daevionne Beasley’s official statement can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TWTwsSWSjOoLCKvM34Q2YKuB64LcZdv5q5RMBkjtY2g/edit?usp=sharing