AS Senate Passes Resolution to Condemn Hamas, Amid Walkout Protest Transcript

text by digital-media

04 December, 2023

Our News Director attended the AS Senate meeting to report on the passing of a resolution to condemn Hamas, amid a walkout protest for Palestine. Find the transcript below. 

JOYCE: On Wednesday, November 15th, the Associated Students of UCSB Senate convened at Corwin Pavilion for their weekly meeting, where they discussed two major resolutions, S.R. 7-101A and S.R. 6-101B: one to condemn Hamas, and one to condemn both antisemitism and Islamophobia. The Senate session culminated in a walkout and the passing of only one of those resolutions.

ZOHA: I’m Zoha Malik. 

JOYCE: And I’m Joyce Chi. 

ZOHA: We were at that meeting. Here’s what we observed.

JOYCE: First off – it’s important to note that originally, there was only one resolution, S.R. 6-101, condemning both Hamas and antisemitism. AS Senators say that after reaching out to campus organizations and hearing students’ comments during public forum, they decided to split the resolution into two and to add a condemnation of Islamophobia. 

ZOHA: The original resolution’s student sponsors did not include a single Muslim or Arab cultural student group. It did, however, include representatives from several pro-Israel groups, including Tamid, an internship program in Israel, Chabad, a Jewish outreach and awareness group, the AS Jewish Commission, and Students Supporting Israel.

JOYCE: The original resolution, brought by AS Senators Coleton Cristiani, Michelle Lebowski, Mia Goren, and Ephraim Shalunov, was S.R. 6-10, which denounced, quote, “the hateful rhetoric of pro-Hamas student groups.” Many Palestinian advocates felt the resolution falsely equated the goals of Palestinian liberation with Hamas as a whole. 

ZOHA: Dozens of undergrads stated their concerns during long public comment periods at recent Senate meetings.

JOYCE: Though the original resolution stated AS would, quote, “mourn all civilian loss of life in Israel and Gaza as a result of the ensuing war” following the October 7th attacks, it was also criticized for not specifically condemning Israel’s military campaigns in Gaza, which have since killed over 11,000 Palestinians. One attendee told us that was what they wanted to see from the Senate – a resolution condemning Israel’s disproportionate retaliatory actions.

ZOHA: Another criticism focuses on the original resolution’s clause against misinformation. In spite of that, quote, “vehement condemnation of misinformation,” during a Senate meeting on November 8th, Senators Cristiani and Shalunov mentioned unverified claims when talking about their support of the resolution, including, respectively, of beheaded babies and of fetuses cut out from a pregnant woman.

JOYCE: Now, back to the AS resolutions. The Senate meeting was slated to begin at 6:30, but due to issues  with the Zoom livestream, it began closer to 7 PM. They also did not get recorded audio of the first thirty or forty minutes of the meeting. At times, the audio cut out, either due to technical difficulties or someone muting the livestream. The Senate would later be criticized, especially by the AS Commission on Disability Equity, or CODE, for failing to make proper accessibility accommodations for audiences listening at home.

ZOHA: Later, Dan Siddiqqui of CODE brought up these accessibility concerns and asked the Senators who just spoke to summarize what they had said while the video was down.

JOYCE: Though brief summaries were supplied, some Senators voiced concerns about time, as they were already an hour or two behind schedule. Senator Shalunov spoke about Siddiqqui’s request, saying, quote, “asking me to summarize everything I’ve said when everything I’ve said is on the minutes, has been recorded, and will be released… is obstructionism, designed to prevent us from getting to a vote.” 

ZOHA: Here’s Dan Siddiqqui talking about this. 

[Dan Siddiqui at the walk-out]

“I respectfully asked… The Zoom was not working for over two hours. There were over 40 UCSB students [waiting to listen over Zoom.] I respectfully asked could the Senators who made statements that lasted over an hour long, please, at the very least, give a short summary of these statements or repeat them for the entirety of the statements that they made, so that the individuals on Zoom can have an understanding of what was going on, before public forum started.

What I was met with, number one, was an accusation of obstructionism, by the First President Pro-Tempore, Ephraim Shalunov. 

Secondly, I was met with mockery, laughs, and sneers, from Sohum Kalia, the Internal Vice President, and the rest of the Senate […] during that meeting. Senators Shalunov, Carlson, and Cristiani all went to make a mockery of my request to give a summary and essentially make ableist comments, such as, ‘Oh, I said, blah blah blah.’ It is embarrassing and humiliating that a simple request to make a Senate meeting, that is supposed to represent all students, more accessible is met with ableist comments, accusations of obstructionism, laughs, and sneers.”

JOYCE: Let’s talk about each of the new resolutions now.

ZOHA: The first resolution, SR 6-101B, condemns Hamas. It was brought by the same four Senators who wrote the original resolution: Cristiani, Lebowski, Goren, and Shalunov. Student sponsors include the AS Jewish Commission and Students Supporting Israel – but again, not any Muslim or Arab student organizations.

JOYCE: The resolution’s “whereas” clauses, which provide the reasoning behind a bill, says Hamas’ 1988 charter declares its purpose as, quote, “the murder of the Jewish people, and that the terrorist group will never pursue peace through any other means,” end quote.

ZOHA: For reference, the Hamas Covenant of 1988 states, quote, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” And, quote, “Our struggles against the Jews is very great and very serious,” end quote. 

JOYCE: Hamas’ most recent charter, from 2017, states that the group, quote, “does not wage a struggle against the Jews because they are Jewish but wages a struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine,” end quote.

ZOHA: Back to the new AS Senate resolution, which says that, quote, “Some student groups have praised and justified the horrific actions of Hamas…holding rallies supporting the atrocities Hamas has committed under the false guise of liberation,” end quote. The Senators did not clarify which pro-Hamas student groups they were referring to.

JOYCE: Therefore, among other provisions, the resolution condemns Hamas for the, quote, “undeniably barbaric” October 7th attacks, which were carried out “primarily because the victims were Jewish.” The resolution also mourns civilian deaths in both Israel and Gaza and, quote, “finds it self-evident that legitimate expressions of solidarity for the Palestinian people are distinct from endorsements of Hamas and terrorism,” end quote.

ZOHA: The second resolution, SR 7-101A, condemns both antisemitism and Islamophobia. It was brought by Senators Shalunov, Cristiani, Lebowski, Alvin Wang, MingJun Zha, Diana Kero, and Eric Carlson. There are no non-senator student sponsors on this bill. According to Senator Carlson, student sponsors are generally rare, since people usually do not attend Senate meetings. More on that later.

JOYCE: The resolution’s “whereas” clauses lists several instances of hate speech and violence across American college campuses.

ZOHA: For example, as the Associated Press reports, a student at Cornell was charged with threatening to shoot and stab Jewish people. ABC News reports that at Stanford, an Arab Muslim student was injured in a hit-and-run, which is still being investigated as a possible hate crime.

JOYCE: At UCSB, the resolution says in May, the Chabad, quote, “was defaced with antisemitic graffiti before their Mega Shabbat event,” end quote. Specifically, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” was spray painted on the road.

ZOHA: Additionally, at the November 8th AS Senate Meeting, Arab and Muslim students reportedly  had flyers on their cars calling Arabs, quote, “wild, lawless, and crazy,” end quote. One Jewish student said their life was threatened and their door set on fire, and that they were subject to physical assault.

JOYCE: Therefore, SR 7-101A, quote, “strongly condemns the surge of Islamophobia and antisemitism,” recognizes that the war and conflict “may be categorized as ethnic or religious in nature,” and “encourages bold, controversial, and diverging discussions of all political issues, including the ongoing Israel-Hamas war,” end quote.

ZOHA: The AS Senators then spoke on the two bills.

JOYCE: Senator Coleton Cristiani said the bills respond to student concerns, and that the condemnation of Islamophobia was added after public input.

ZOHA: Here’s Senator Shalunov. 

[Senator Ephraim Shalunov]

“The first version of this resolution that was discussed last week – there was some pretty valid criticism of it. Namely that criticism was that it left it too vague as to who it condemned. There was this point about “Pro-Hamas student groups” that left people rightfully scared that they might be [relegated] something they were not.” 

“I want to reiterate that this resolution is not against anybody in this room I hope, since I should hope that nobody in this room supports Hamas.”

JOYCE: Senator Eric Carlson’s speech was especially long and comprehensive. He discussed feeling disillusioned and a deep fear of making the wrong choice. Towards the end of the meeting, he would later attempt to resign from AS Senate. [Correction: To clarify, Senate Eric Carlson attempted to resign as Second President Pro-Tempore, but has not yet. As of the November 29 AS meeting, he is still serving in that position.]

ZOHA: Senator Carlson said he recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself.

[Senator Eric Carlson]

“I, as a college student at UCSB, grant Israel, because I have somehow that power, the right to defend itself. If I was a nation and I was attacked, I would go in there and probably kill everybody too.” 

Senator Carlson also said that Israel is a racist, albeit legitimate, state, and compared it to the United States.

[Senator Eric Carlson]

I recognize both are built on stolen land just as much as I recognize that both have contributed greatly to the loss of civilian life, when [this was] avoidable.”

He also criticized his fellow Senators.

[Senator Eric Carlson]

“The Senate does not debate in good faith, as you all know. There are cases where Senators have lied through their teeth and made up facts in the middle of debate for the sake of winning or advancing a set narrative that answers this view. I myself am sometimes guilty of this… The prospect of minimization of cultural, sexual, and racial identity does occur in the Senate, and I have bore witness to it on multiple instances.” 

“Is it too hard to ask the student Senate for something more substantial? Is it too difficult to condemn settler colonialism? 

“This resolution does not call or contain calls for a ceasefire. It does not contain condemnations of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. And it does not, but should, make calls from the pulling of student fees for funding the corporations that continue to build weapons used to slaughter Palestinian civilians.”

“I want you to go home after this meeting and tell your friends and roommates that you love them. Because doing that will do more good than passing anything related to this conflict that we could ever hope to accomplish.”

JOYCE: The meeting then moved to public forum, where speakers can talk about anything, not just what’s on the agenda. But of course, most talked about the bills at hand.

ZOHA: One speaker, Mariela, dismissed the idea of “pro-Hamas groups” on campus, while another, Caela, was disappointed that the bill failed to acknowledge ethnic cleansing in Palestine, denouncing the Senate as being too afraid to take meaningful action.

JOYCE: Now, here’s Alexa Butler, the co-chair of the AS Black Women’s Health Collaborative.

ZOHA: As she spoke, she was warned several times that she went over her allotted three minutes and was also asked to leave, but she continued on anyway.

[Alexa Butler in public forum]

“What we are experiencing is an orchestrated attempt to restrict our free speech and isolate our voices with censorship and intimidation. We refuse to be silenced any longer. In recent weeks, our commitment to advocate for marginalized communities have been faced with cowardly attacks, including unwarranted scrutiny, hostility, and intentional suppression rooted in systemic anti-Blackness. We once again emphasize our support with Palestine and recognize our shared struggles. On this campus, Black and Palestinian students have been continuously neglected. [Internal Vice President can be heard warning her that her allotted time was up.] Let it be clear, the BWHC stands in solidarity with Palestine. We hear you, we see you, we will continue to fight until Palestine is free.”

“I want to acknowledge and express my gratitude to the individuals sitting right here. I thank you for your courage, your bravery, and your unwavering support. This is a testament to the fact that I am not alone, you guys are not alone. You continue to advocate for each other, I’m standing with you and I thank you for standing with us.”

JOYCE: She then encouraged students to walk out in protest.

[Alexa Butler in public forum]

“I encourage all of you guys to get up and walk out, based on the ableist accessibility to this meeting. I need you guys to walk out right now, if you stand with the BWHC, if you stand [against] Islamophobia, and if you stand [against] anti-Blackness. Thank you, no questions [will be taken.]”

ZOHA: About a third of the students attending followed suit and then walked out of the AS Senate meeting. 

[Underlay audio from walkout]

“Free Palestine, free Palestine! From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

JOYCE: Attendees walked out in support of the BWHC, and other campus organizations, many of whom had previously expressed pro-Palestinian sentiments. More on that later. They gathered outside of Corwin Pavilion, where they held open three sets of doors so that their protests and messages would be heard by the Senate and others in attendance. 

[Underlay audio from walkout] 

“We are bigger than AS Senate! […]”

ZOHA: Despite the Senate’s attempts to bring the meeting back on track, they eventually called the second recess of the night, for security reasons.

JOYCE: Using megaphones, around 50-60 protestors, who appeared to be mostly students, discussed the following grievances with members of the AS Senate and Internal Affairs Committee.

[Walkout speech]

“We feel as if ours and our fellow students’ voices are being silenced, which is why we are out here speaking.”

ZOHA: First, some AS organizations, or BCUs (which stands for Boards, Committees, and Units) say they were not given “essential resources.”

JOYCE: In an email sent by Alexa Butler of the BWHC, but representing a collection of BCUs, they said these essential resources include access to their emails and email lists.

ZOHA: One of the Chairs of the AS Student Commission on Racial Equity, or SCORE, said their work to combat hate and racism, quote, “starts with trust within communities, which cannot occur without proper access to our emails.”

JOYCE: These BCUs also say that “their consideration into conversations surrounding their organizations” was also not given.

ZOHA: Again, the President of the Muslim Student Association, or MSA, later told us that the group was never contacted about the resolutions, even the one condemning Islamophobia and antisemitism, which the MSA called “ironic” and “performative,” in a statement posted on Instagram after the Senate meeting. 

JOYCE: An anonymous source also told KCSB News that Students for Justice in Palestine were reached out to on Instagram two days before the Senate meeting, which did not give enough time for a resolution that should instead require weeks of collaboration. The AS Senate and Internal Affairs Committee (IAC) reportedly requested to invite the Black Women’s Health Collective, SCORE, and the Jewish Commission, quote, “into a dialogue about their statements on the ongoing violence in Palestine and Israel,” end quote.

ZOHA: For context, the BWHC and SCORE had both issued statements standing in solidarity with Students for Justice in Palestine and the Palestinian Liberation Movement. 

JOYCE: The BWHC said, quote, “it is not merely a conflict, but a profound liberation movement tirelessly fighting for justice by individuals who have long been subjected to discrimination.” Here’s a SCORE representative speaking during the walkout. 

[SCORE Representative speaking at walk-out]

“Before we begin, we would like to make something extremely clear. Before we are ever asked, we condemn all attacks on civilian life, which means that while we do condemn Hamas, we are making it clear that we also condemn the needless, ongoing violence the Israeli government has been committing to Palestinians…”

ZOHA: These BCUs contend that AS did not give adequate notice for the Senate and IAC meeting, as the invitation for this November 7th meeting was sent on November 4th. A representative of SCORE then said an AS Senator, who they declined to name out of privacy concerns, contacted them to, quote, “discuss the concerns they have received from the Jewish community.” The Senator allegedly asked SCORE to keep these communications private, since they did not go through the organization’s AS Senate liaison.

[SCORE Representative speaking at walk-out]

“At the end of this message, the AS Senator ended with this, quote, ‘there is absolutely nothing wrong with expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people or national movement. It is, however, completely unacceptable for your organization to publicly state its support for the murder and brutal abuse of civilians,’ end quote. Right here, and right now we say that it has never been SCORE’s intent, nor will it ever be.”

[Walk-out chanting]:

“You will hear us! You will hear us!”

JOYCE: A few Senators went over to the demonstration, most notably, Senator Renee Faulk. 

ZOHA: She alleged that an unnamed fellow Senator heavily discouraged her from bringing a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, or BDS, bill to the floor. BDS institutes economic sanctions against Israel to pressure compliance with international law in Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. For context, UCSB is the only UC that has not yet instituted BDS, despite attempts to institute a resolution to Divest from Corporations Violating Palestinian Human Rights as recently as 2021.

[Senator Renee Faulk at the walk-out]

“Now, here we are being forced to make foreign policy decisions again, on a different side. But, I was told that if I brought a BDS bill to the floor without telling this person, that they would block all bills I brought to the floor for the rest of my time as a Senator. [Crowd yells “shame!”] I apologize for the actions of my committee, I never wanted to hold that meeting. I was trying to delay it and I should’ve just stopped it. I should’ve communicated more with the people around me. I’m glad you guys gave me a chance to amplify my voice even though I’m not on the same side as you…”

ZOHA: Meanwhile, inside Corwin Pavilion — 

JOYCE: In front of a remaining audience of a hundred or so viewers, the majority appearing to be pro-Israel, the remaining Senators attempted to carry on with proceedings as the demonstration went on.

[Underlay audio from walk-out]

“From the river to the sea! Palestine will be free! From the river to the sea! Palestine will be free!

ZOHA: Other Senators temporarily left the building due to their concern for their safety. 

JOYCE: Senator Eric Carlson, upon hearing the chants, said 

[Senator Eric Carlson]

“I know that I try to present nuanced takes. But it is also my nuanced take that ‘From the river to the sea’ is a genocidal statement.”

JOYCE: And was met with applause from the remaining audience members [applause.] Senator Ephraim Shalunov also said this slogan makes Jewish people feel unsafe.

ZOHA: However, Palestinian-American writer Yousef Munayyer argues the phrase expresses a desire for a state where Palestinians can live in their homeland as free and equal citizens.

[Senator Emphraim Shalunov attempting to speak over demonstration]

“…You are more than welcome to stay here… there is no [megaphone audio from walk-out grows louder]… there is no…”

ZOHA: As the demonstration continued, with the speeches from outside drowning out much of the conversation inside, the police were called over reports of an assault. 

JOYCE: Our External News director, Zoha Malik, spoke briefly with one of the two UCPD officers — named Miller — who were called to the scene, and who remained nearby for the rest of the meeting. 

ZOHA: Here’s what he said when I asked why he was called out here today. 

[UCPD Officer Miller]

“Primarily we came out because there was a report of a small altercation, something with a cell phone… and just to come out and kind of have a presence and make sure everyone had equal rights to talk and converse and carry out their meeting.”

[KCSB’s Zoha Malik]

“And were the people involved in the physical altercation spoken to?”

[UCPD Officer Miller]

“Uh, I don’t know as of yet. Yeah, we’re still kind of sifting that out.”

JOYCE: Officer Miller affirmed this information would be available through UCPD’s public record. According to the crime log, there was one report filed for battery and vandalism at Corwin Pavilion that night.

ZOHA: We obtained videos of multiple angles of the incident. One student was filming the walkout from inside Corwin Pavilion, when two people from the walkout appeared to attempt to stop the person from recording. One put their hand up to block the camera, and another, who was holding a Palestinian flag, began counter-filming. We did not see that person directly touching the person recording when they hit the phone out of their hand.

[Video audio of incident]

“Assault! He just got assaulted!”

“I just got assaulted, wow.”

ZOHA: No charges were filed, and according to a statement later posted by UCSB’s Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter, the vandalism charge referred to the phone case of the person attempting to film. The matter was allegedly settled privately, with the other student agreeing to purchase a replacement phone case. 

JOYCE: Palestinian activists have previously had concerns about doxxing, often wearing masks during vigils and demonstrations to hide their identities, given things like the Canary Mission, which lists the names and faces of people who supposedly, quote, “promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews.” 

ZOHA: Canary Mission largely includes Palestinian advocates, including members of college chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine. According to the Intercept, many students were added after they got involved in campaigns led by SJP to get their universities to divest from corporations supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

JOYCE: Inside Corwin Pavilion, pro-Israeli students gathered in a circle and sang Hatikvah, the national anthem of Israel, against the sound of pro-Palestinian demonstrators chanting. 

[singing of Hatikvah inside alongside walk-out chanting of “You will hear us!”]

ZOHA: As demonstrators remained outside, the Senate meeting moved forward after motioning and voting to allow public comment from only three more speakers.

JOYCE: One speaker spoke about the Jewish community feeling unsafe due to the death of a Jewish man following a confrontation with a pro-Palestinian demonstrator in Thousand Oaks earlier this month, and because, quote, “so-called activists who’s hate of the state of Israel is stronger than the love of their own people.” The next speaker, Jasmin, alongside Senator Shalunov, condemned the usage of the phrase “From the river to the sea,” as genocidal. Here’s Jasmin criticizing the nature of the demonstration. 

[Jasmin at public forum]

“..We gave them a voice to speak, and when you protest, you’re supposed to protest because your voice isn’t heard, but their voice was ready to be listened to, and they decided to walk out, which, like, look at the way we’ve responded to that! Look at how peaceful we’ve been!”

ZOHA: And here’s Tom Hirshfeld, Chair of the AS Jewish Commission, speaking about how the resolution to condemn Hamas would make him feel safer. 

[Tom Hirshfeld at public forum]

“… Hamas tried to kill my family on October 7th, there’s a lot of people here [who’s family Hamas tried to kill on October 7th…] these are people who are asking you to condemn Hamas, it’s not a big ask, it’s a terror organization. We would be a whole lot happier on this campus, and we’d feel much more safe engaging in that dialogue that needs to be engaged in for this campus to remain a space for learning, if this resolution was adopted.”

JOYCE: A.S. President Tessa Veksler also spoke in support of the two resolutions and discussed her heritage.

[Tessa Vekslar speaking at public forum]

“Yes, I am Jewish, yes, this is personal. I cannot remove my identity from my bones and my history simply because I’m your Student Body President, and you shouldn’t expect me to.”

ZOHA: The Senate then moved into debating on the two resolutions on hand. Senator Shalunov and Carlson introduced the resolution to condemn Islamophobia and antisemitism to the floor. 

JOYCE: Here’s some of what Senator Carlson said in his introduction. He appeared to disagree with the actions of the demonstrators and how other colleges have not condemned Hamas, as UC Santa Barbara is among the first of the UCs to do so.

[Senator Eric Carlson speaking]

“I think it’s very telling that the Jewish community here walked that line of peace tonight.”

“We vow to not go the route [other colleges in America have taken.]”

ZOHA: Senator Michelle Lebowski called the demonstration “terrifying,” but said UCSB made her feel safer than other UC campuses.

JOYCE: She also spoke in support of the bill, repeating that she believes this bill is uncontroversial. 

ZOHA: The Senate then went into a discussion about who was involved in the making of the bill. The first to bring it up was Senator Jeffrey Adler’s proxy, who said the original resolution seemed to be “only endorsed by a certain demographic.” As we mentioned earlier, the resolution the Senators were voting on – the antisemitism and Islamophobia condemnation bill – had no student sponsors. 

ZOHA: The discussion over the lack of student sponsors continued. Here’s Senator Faulk, Shalunov, Lebowski, and Carlson, in that order.

[Senator Renee Faulk]

“I feel like it would be stronger if we could get student sponsors who were both Jewish and Muslim.” 

[Senator Ephraim Shalunov]

“I think that this legislation is important in tandem with our condemnation of Hamas, which we can’t delay. And so, I don’t necessarily oppose the idea, but I think that that could easily be kind of followed up on.”

[Senator Michelle Lebowski]

“I also would like to reiterate how myself, and other fellow Senators, did meet with students this week. And, we also heard a great deal of students last week in public forum, this week in public forum…”

[Senator Eric Carlson]

“Student sponsors… if we still are interested in doing that, I’m still happy to [be] like, ‘send me an email.’”

Senator Nayali Broadway then asked if student organizations were involved at all in writing the resolution. Senator Carlson maintained that a public forum is the most public way to present a resolution and receive input. Here’s Senator Carlson and Gabrielson speaking on the lack of student groups consulted. 

[Senator Eric Carlson]

“Short answer is no, groups weren’t necessarily consulted with it. But, the long answer is, yes, because we took directly from the horse’s mouth… all the evidence that they gave us through public forum.”

[Senator Nicole Gabrielson]

“There is a lot of different Senators on this specific resolution with different viewpoints. So, it’s not like there’s a one-sided, biased Senator writing this entire legislation.”

JOYCE: Later, Senator Faulk would point out there are no Muslim or Arab students on the Senate.

ZOHA: The Senators then moved to vote on the resolution with secret ballots. However, during the secret ballot voting, a representative from the Muslim Student[s] Association said they were never contacted. Here’s Senator [Micah] Littlepage speaking about this. 

[Senator Micah Littlepage]

“They are saying they were not contacted.”

[MSA Representative in crowd]

“We never were. President of the MSA…”

[Senator Micah Littlepage]

“Never were. So, that being said, I was told that they were contacted, and knowing they weren’t — I think that does change the circumstances of the vote. I yield [my time.]”

Senator Lebowski, who previously maintained she had met with students, objected, saying, “I think this is obstructive to our vote.”

Senator Littlepage responded to this criticism, saying, 

[Senator Micah Littlepage]

“I had reservations about this bill, but I supported it because it was sent to Muslim students to approve… if it was not sent to them, then why are we voting on it? And to be accused of being an obstructionist, when we have had to sit through this entire meeting, it’s very upsetting, like, truly. So, I yield [my time.]”

JOYCE: After double-checking the bureaucratic processes with the Parliamentarian, a motion was made to rescind the previous vote. The Senate moved on to perform another vote through a secret ballot.

ZOHA: On the resolution to condemn antisemitism and Islamophobia, the votes were as follows: 13 yeses, 5 nos, and 2 abstentions. 

JOYCE: It would have needed 14 votes in the affirmative. The resolution to condemn antisemitism and Islamophobia thus failed to pass by one vote.

ZOHA: After expressing disappointment, Senator Shalunov moved to the resolution to condemn Hamas. Senators, including Goren and Shalunov in that order, reemphasized what they called the uncontroversial nature of this bill. 

[Senator Mia Goren]

“The issues that this bill raises are being conflated with the overall Israel-Palestine conflict.”

[Senator Ephraim Shalunov]

“The fact that this is the second week that we’re sitting through this mind numbing debate offends me, and is so totally preposterous to the values that I have heard people at this table claim that they represent.” 

JOYCE: Senator Carlson expressed support for the current resolution, which, unlike the original one, maintains that “legitimate expressions of support for the Palestinians are distinct from Hamas and terrorism.” By calling student groups “pro-Hamas,” he says, the original resolution equated them to terrorists.

ZOHA: The Senators then moved into the voting process. With support from Senator Zha, Senator Lebowski tried to move into a recorded or roll-call vote, but Senator Littlepage objected, saying that Senators have faced intimidation in the past. 

[Senator Micah Littlepage]

“We literally have had Senators talking about how they’ve been followed, having people take photos of them, having [people vandalize their houses]… why would we take an open vote on this?”

JOYCE: The Senators eventually agreed to a secret ballot.

ZOHA: The votes on the bill were as follows: 16 yeses, 4 nos, and 1 abstention – the resolution to condemn Hamas passed.

JOYCE: In a statement posted to Instagram on November 17th, two days after the Senate meeting, Santa Barbara Hillel, quote, “celebrated this extraordinary accomplishment.” Yet they also called on the UCSB administration to investigate Students for Justice in Palestine and “allied campus organizations” for their, quote, “organized effort to intimidate students, create a hostile environment, and disrupt an official student government proceeding.” According to SB Hillel, after passing the resolution, UCSB’s student government became the first of all U.S. public universities to condemn Hamas.

ZOHA: In their Instagram statement, the UCSB chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine expressed “deep concern” that the resolutions did not consult with or consider, quote, “students and organizations who would be directly impacted by them.” SJP said the perspectives in the resolutions were “one-sided” and “biased,” as they lack the voices of Palestinian students and advocates. They called on the AS Senate to table the resolutions until “all relevant stakeholders” could meet to consult on and write new resolutions.

JOYCE: Similarly, UCSB’s Muslim Student Association criticized the Senate’s claims they contacted the MSA, and the general lack of Muslim voices on the bills. They are demanding an apology from the Senate “for how they attempted to intimidate us, lied about our involvement, and excluded us from the authoring of the resolution.”

ZOHA: The replays of the AS-UCSB Senate’s November 8th and November 15th meetings can be found on their Facebook.

JOYCE: Thank you for listening. With KCSB News, I’m Joyce Chi.

ZOHA: And I’m Zoha Malik.