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Senate Report 4/18/07: Choose the subtitle that makes you feel safe

Student Senate had a meeting last night, and the wheels were clearly coming off. The meeting was gaveled to order by Jon Rosenberg, because Senate President and Executive Candidate Sara Hamilton had been summarily removed from Senate by Con Court hours before, for (get this) submitting meeting agendas only 24 hours before meetings, instead of 48 hours before. So, suffice it to say that things started off awkward, and they only got worse.

After wrangling and pettiness (nobody likes oversight in action) over special requests, and a brief and fruitless discussion about the Hamilton situation, it was time for Senator Nate Gulley’s ethics hearing. What happened next is difficult to describe accurately. A group of around 50 people arrived for the hearing, wearing “silenced” bands across their mouths, and holding signs with a number of messages for Senate. Among the messages represented were, that Senate lacked respect for students of marginalized communities, that Senate perpetuated white supremacist power structures, and that Senate is not a safe place from a number of “isms.” During the hearing, Gulley asked the crowd to defend him, and many present shared how they felt marginalized, and how institutional racism exists on Senate, but the only real defense of Gulley was based on the context of this institutional racism, rather than on his actions themselves. MCC Director Steve Morizumi summed up the defense by saying (and I’m paraphrasing) “If this racist institution finds Nate’s actions offensive, he should be praised.”

Long story short, Nate was cleared of all charges, Senate will be participating in some form of awareness and/or sensitivity training, and at the end of it all, Senators Karl Mourfi and Jacob Daniels resigned. I’m still processing what happened, but this discussion is not over. This situation won’t be resolved here, but I’m sure people want to share their thoughts from last night. One request for people on every side of this discussion: Let’s please keep our sense of humor.

Obligatory Emerald links here, and here. Video here.

  1. Tyler says:

    And that have better been Mr. T.

  2. Jacque says:

    Jack- You hit the nail on the head, I’m not gonna lie! I too have heard statements like “you’re so white!” or “that’s just because you’re not black enough” or “what, isn’t that how white people talk” all of which demonstrates a sense of closedmindedness and cultural INsensitivity that multi-cultural advocates seem to loathe so much.

  3. Jim says:

    I’ve heard a lot lately about this “institutionalized racism” in the ASUO, but NO ONE can give a concrete example of it. Sounds to me like a bunch of people who are eager to cry “discrimination” so they feel special.

  4. ASUO Insider says:

    Nate Gulley = Racist Prick

  5. T says:

    This had better fucking be Scandalios.

  6. Tyler says:

    Speaking of hypocrites, one of the signs held by one of Nate Gulley’s backers said, “Is this what professionalism looks like?: Side conversations, laughing, passing notes, and self victimization.” I thought that it was quite ironic that the sign perfectly described all of Senator Gulley’s actions at any given senate meeting.
    Nate Gulley is by far the least professional of all the senators. He believes that by dropping the f bomb, he can add merit, passion and power to any empty and useless statement.

  7. anon. says:

    it’s also racism when oscar guerra rolls his eyes and scoffs at a man when he says he’s “1/2 mexican”.

    and also when someone attacked “white” senators in the wed. meeting for not admitting to having “racism problems”.

  8. Jack says:


    I think you put that meeting under the correct headline. I think that if the ASUO and OSA and the student unions want to protect the student incidental fee as much as they claim, they better clean up their act and start acting a little more professional. Obviously, Nate Gulley is in the center of this controversy but to see students such as Remi with a scarf tied around her mouth saying”silenced” is just absurd. She has more control within the student government than the majority of this campus. Also, the letter to the editor from Josue and Mia….I am not going to touch the content of that letter but Mia is infamous for telling students of color that they are “white” is they don’t fully support the MCC and every idiotic decision it makes. Is that not racism as well?

  9. Jacque says:

    My headline for what happened last night would be “ASUO Student Senate Held Hostage by Race Card.” While I admit that there are time when race is truley an importnat consideration but there has to be a point were the self-victimization comes to an end. Really my question is this: Were all those people mad because there truely is racism within the senate body or are they made becuase they didn’t get their way. Every year the ASUO gives them more money and every year it is rolled over tons of money, yet we are the racists? I don’t think so. Moreover, if we want to celebrate diverse viewpoints then why is it acceptable for people to be effectively shut down when they try to speak (I am speaking of Mr. Brown and Mr. Neidermeyer). Yes we celebarate everyone’s viewpoints as long as they don’t conflict with our own. All that situation made me want to do is stay as far away from those programs as possible.

  10. Michael G. says:

    I just watched the video and I am now thankful that I graduated. However, once I have enough professional experience behind me I just might stop admitting it on my resume.

    For the record: It’s not the Senate’s money, and it’s not any other student groups money. It’s the money that was appropriated from tens of thousands of students and wasted on this kind of bullshit. It was money that might have bought textbooks, a few credits, or quite a few meals. Instead, largely goes to buying a bunch of groups that exist exclusively for the purpose of promoting themselves above other people (whether it’s the Senate, the Executive, the MCC, NASU, SIS, Women’s Center, Parents Attending Law School, OSPIRG, etc.)

    Just remember, especially you big budget programs, you and the student government screwed a lot of people out of their money and largely wasted it on yourselves and your agenda. And a lot of you doing the screwing are the same ones bitching about how education is difficult to afford.

    Unfortunately, someone’s effort to reign in the take resulted in cries of various “isms” even though it was quite obvious that the categories of groups that received cuts or (God forbid!) smaller increases were quite broad and especially not racist.

  11. ASUO Insider says:

    The only racists I see are Nate Gulley and his supporters, along with the people of the MCC. Steve is always the first to play the race card, even when Senate gave him money after they overspent their budget. He was the first to cry racism when the Senate didn’t want to give him EVEN MORE MONEY. What happened to his partner in crime Khan Le? Oh, I guess Nate Gulley was his replacement. Stupid me. It is sad that the “student leaders” of the campus, ASUO, MCC, etc, feel the need to create problems rather than solve them. Maybe if these “reverse racists” got the hell out of student gov’t, we would see some change.

  12. Toby says:

    Kyle, Natalie, you should resign too, props to Daniels!

  13. daniels says:

    i’m so happy not to be on senate anymore.

  14. Jack says:

    I am disgraced by many members of the senate last night and Kyle and Natalie are not one of them. Nate Gulley is a joke and I am saddened by his behavior that was upheld as acceptable because there is racism in the world… I guess I should go about charging everyone publicily of racism now simply because it exists.

  15. Jacque says:

    I guess that I would like to clarify that while noone overtly said to personally attack, the implication WAS there and the hostility WAS there. I found it incredibly hypocritical that someone would come in and promote to create a safe and open environment but snicker when people were talking or make comments that demonstrate their own social and cultrual insensitivity. I don’t say any of this lightly as I have thought a lot about the events that transpired last night and the precise reason why I felt so disgusted by the progression of the meeting. If we are truely to have this open and frank discussion than it must be done without anyone summarily dismissing peoples statements as “well you’re white so you couldn’t understand” (thats not a quote from anyone so don’t go there) Regardless of what tone everyone wanted to take it WAS accusatory and that needs to be recognized, in the same way that a person should recognize when they are being racist, classist, sexist…
    It is because that recognition was not there and because of the tone of the audience members that no genuine, safe, open, dialogue was started last night.
    As to some statements made by Senators Kinsey and McKenzie, they, like myself wanted to talk about the charges that were brought up however, gulley never really responded to them in relation to the position brought forth by Senator Kinsey (that his actions violate an internal code and roberts rules of order). Now noone claims to be perfect but that focus was lost the second that they were snickered at for making statements as to how they felt and trying to make the procedure go as smoothly as possible, so please excuse if I don’t see how their actions “discraced their peers”.

  16. Carl Ciaramella says:

    What’s this job you speak of, Niedermeyer? Oh, and I sent off a letter to the Emerald; mayhaps it will be in the paper tommorow, and then Nate Gulley can call me a racist.

    Sometimes I think Gulley confuses “racists” with “people who make fun of me for wearing my hat all silly.”

  17. Timothy says:

    If the ASUO Senate is the greatest oppressor these kids are fighting, I think they’ve got it pretty good.

    Dan: We all know that the Senate has a long history of being “helmet wearing special.”

  18. Niedermeyer says:

    Oh, I think a conversation was started last night. And part of that conversation clearly targeted Senators of color who didn’t agree 100% with the Nate and his backers. The conversation will have to continue until people can be open and honest about their experience without being called a racist or an uncle tom, either directly or indirectly.

  19. Amaury says:

    I was at the meeting and I do not believe that specific senators were attacked for “not knowing where they came from” it was simply said that just because you are a minority or from an ethnically diverse background in no way means you are not racist. For example, senator Chii-San Sunowen admitted that although she considers herself bi-racial, she recognizes that even she is racist sometimes. If you do not feel that a dialogue was started last night, then how do you suggest the students of this university should start one? It seems senate may never achieve this, especially with people like Kyle McKenzie and Natalie Kinsey who refuse to even consider any other viewpoint but their own and are a disgrace to their peers.

  20. Niedermeyer says:

    Yeah, the way Jacque and Karl and other Senators of color were attacked for “not knowing where they come from” was incredibly disturbing. I’m sorry things had to happen this way, because I don’t think last night made anyone happy.

  21. Jacque says:

    I want to say that the part that frustrates me is that although there is institutionalized racism it should not be used to explain every action. It is something that can’t be disagreed with. If you do you are a racist. Me, as a minority, if I disagree than I “don’t know where I came from”. This is incredibly frustrating to me because it can often mean that logic and reason and well founded concerns are not heard for fear of being labled racist. I left the meeting feeling like an open and safe dialogue did NOT in fact happen or begin to happen. It made me sick on many levels, but mainly on an intellectual and personal level given my own background and my own struggles to get where I am.

  22. Miles says:

    50 people in a space no larger than the Commentator office = Fire hazard.

  23. Danimal says:

    All this concern for “safety” is confusing. Does the Senate need helmets? A lifeguard? A guillotine? I don’t get it.

  24. Miles says:

    Senate Report 4/18/07: Karl Mourfy Unleashed

  25. Niedermeyer says:

    Want a job, Carl?

    Also, people should check out the Emerald video… it’s not the very best of last night, but there’s some fun stuff.

  26. Timothy says:

    Completely unsurprising in every way imaginable.

  27. Carl says:

    Senate Report 4/18/07: Beyond Thunderdome

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