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Berkeley College Republicans Face Defunding    

  By: Katie Petrick
   Published : May 7, 2018

The Berkeley College Republicans will be funded for another year despite the attempt to zero balance the organization and give the funds to the Black Student Union.

The group’s budget for 2018-19 was approved in the amount of $1,000 on Thursday, May 3 during a special Senate meeting to pass the Annual Budgeting and Spaces Allocation (ABSA). A week earlier, student Senator Rizza Estacio proposed to defund the College Republicans and provide the Black Student Union with the Republicans’ requested amount.

“It’s our responsibility as people who allocate these folks money. If you’re breaking these rules, you are no longer eligible for our funding,” Estacio said as fellow senators snapped their fingers in support. “There are a lot of organizations that could use the money.”

Estacio claimed that the Republicans violated school policy for their behavior during school events, specifically Free Speech Week in September. The College Republicans released a memo addressing the accusations as “based on complete falsehood,” and claimed that Estacio’s proposal was “poorly researched and unscrupulous.” The group denied any part in planning and the organizing of Free Speech Week. And, according to the university, the College Republicans are in good standing.

During the debate that proceeded after Estacio made her motion, Megha Torpunuri, a senator and finance committee vice chair, spoke against the idea.

“I am not a Republican … I don’t care about any of that,” Torpunuri said. “But this is baseless and willful targeting of an organization. I will not stand for that.”

Estacio’s own political agenda reveals itself, as her final attempt to impact the future funding of organizations with which she does not agree. Estacio ran for academic affairs vice president on the CalSERVE ticket, along with fellow senator Juniperangelica Cordova, who attempted to become Berkeley’s first openly transgender female president. Both lost in the April election.

Few students or taxpayers-at-large pay any attention to the breakdown of student fees and the organizations receiving the money. Berkeley is not unique by any means in how much money is allocated to groups that seem to have little purpose. And the senators are not unique in pulling such stunts as defunding a group based on ideology. What is unique, is that this may be one of the few instances where they did not get away with the politics. Unfortunately, this is happening more often than is being reported, and everyone is paying for the results.

In other Berkeley senate news, a sophomore who campaigned as a squirrel has been elected to the senate. Furry Boi, aka Stephen Boyle, won one of the twenty senate seats for next year. Everything is a bit nutty.

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