ASI Passes Resolution Against Flag Stomping
Organization says College Republicans were in the wrong
November 28, 2006 8:48 PM
Preceding an ongoing investigation into SF State College Republican behavior, the Associated Students board unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the student group for purposely stomping on flags containing the Arabic symbol for God.
“Associated Students, Inc. deems the College Republicans’ actions as contrary to university values and feel they should be held accountable by the university for their actions,” the resolution says.
The Nov. 15 resolution comes on the heels of several student and student organization complaints at board meetings and the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development, or OSPLD, which has also sparked a separate investigation and assembly of a special panel to decide if the College Republicans did indeed violate the university’s conduct rules.
The resolution cited a rule outlined in the university’s Strategic Plan saying, “SFSU facilitates teaching, learning and work experiences among students, faculty and staff that promote equity and social justice within a respectful and safe environment.”
Moreover, the resolution sets the stage for the College Republicans possibly losing official student group status and or ASi funding.
Amid heavy campus police presence at an Oct. 17 anti-terrorism rally in Malcolm X Plaza, some members of the crowd turned angry when the College Republicans stepped on homemade Hezbollah and Hamas flags, though the student group claims they were not initially aware the flags contained the Arabic symbol for God.
After that, the College Republican-organized rally dissolved into a heated shouting match between the group and a mix of students, including some Muslim students, eventually resulting in formal complaints to student representatives.
‘They were voicing their concerns that this event was even allowed. They were offended,” said Kimberly Castillo, board member and chair of University Affairs, the committee that drafted the resolution. “We felt it our duty to respond.”
Administrators have been criticized for even allowing the rally to take place.
“The actions on the part of the College Republicans amount to no more than hateful religious intolerance, and constitutes an attempt to defy policies outlined and defined by San Francisco State University’s values,” the resolution says. “Members… pre-mediated the stomping of the flags knowing it would offend some people and possibly incite violence.”
ASi board members Joicy Serrano and Faith Cushenberry have been appointed to the Student Organization Hearing Panel, which will convene when the OSPLD investigation concludes.
Joey Greenwell, director of the OSPLD, declined to comment and did not give a time frame when it might be finished, saying all matters of the investigation are confidential.
The College Republicans said they will take legal action against the university if sanctions are imposed upon them, citing their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Though ASi has taken a public stance denouncing the group before the investigation is over, Castillo said so far the resolution is the “facts speaking for themselves” not necessarily a license to take action against the College Republicans.
“We still want to wait for due process,” Castillo said.
Even so, the resolution says if the SOHP finds the College Republicans did violate University policies and purposely engaged in hateful speech they “will suspend any further funding of this organization’s programming.”
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