ASOSU Reacts to ‘Students of Color Speak Out’

Riley Youngman, News Contributor

Standing before a joint session of the ASOSU Congress Wednesday night, Representative Sami Al-Abdrabbuh spoke to those gathered in the Memorial Union lounge about the need for ASOSU, and Oregon State as a whole, to address the discriminatory behavior that exists on campus and in the community.

“We need to tell students who are facing threats, facing online bullying, facing discrimination, we are here beside you,” said Al-Abdrabbuh.

Abdrabbuh, a doctoral candidate in industrial engineering, authored ‘JR-01.01, Resolution to support students of protected class from acts of discriminatory behavior’ as a response to student concerns following online hate speech from OSU students after the Speak Out OSU event Monday.

“Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of walking hand in hand.  When I raise my phone, I should not have to feel insecure or threatened.  This is not the dream he saw,” Al-Abdrabbuh said.

Pending a vote next week, the resolution will ultimately require a verbal or written report of the means and tools currently in place to help community members prevent and address acts of racism, discrimination, bullying, and harassment.  

“After recent events at various campuses around the United States, as well as events around the world, this is a step in the right direction for us here at Oregon State,” said Francisco Flores, a junior in public health and House of Representatives member.  “It’ll be a step forward to making Oregon State a zero tolerance campus for these types of matters.  Every student deserves to feel safe on campus.”

As detailed in the resolution, this report will be sent to OSU President Ed Ray, the ASOSU president, OSU Dean of Student Life, and the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

“The point is to address a problem that is here,” Al-Abdrabbuh said.  “Students have expressed concern, some for their lives.”

Other than a friendly amendment to change a small amount of wording, the resolution saw several Senators give their sponsorship to the bill on the floor.

As detailed in the resolution,

“While ASOSU strongly condemns the acts of violence and terrorism anywhere, it does not tolerate any acts of hatred that threatens any individuals or group because of their age, color, physical or mental disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

ASOSU President Cassie Huber appeared for the first time publicly since being found not guilty in her impeachment trial last week, and spoke to the importance of continuing forward with action to help all students on campus feel safe and welcome.

The goal of this resolution, as explained by Al-Abdrabbuh, is not to fix the problems that students are currently facing, but rather to investigate what is happening and compile a report that will be used to then pursue further action.

“This is not the solution, this is us saying we have a problem,” Al-Abdrabbuh reiterated.  “It is time to tell anyone who feels unsure or unsafe we are here for you.  ASOSU has listened.  It is time to speak up.”

The ASOSU Senate meets Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. in the Journey Room in the Memorial Union.  The ASOSU House of Representatives meets Thursday nights at 7 p.m. in the Journey Room as well.  Meetings are open to the public.