Senate to provide safe space to discuss protests in Hong Kong

Ryan P. Cruz, Staff Writer

The Associated Student Government approved allocating money to provide a safe space for students to discuss the protests in Hong Kong at its meeting Friday.

Bruce Wang, commissioner of international student affairs, proposed the idea and said the topic is very important to him.

“I want people to know how important it is,” said Wang, a Chinese native whose parents are still in the country. “We have a fear to speak up. If I were to say something against the [Chinese] government, and they were to find out, my parents would be fired.”

Wang said that many students aren’t aware of what exactly is happening in Hong Kong, and how important it is to preserve freedom of expression. Wang said he’s hoping that holding informative meetings will allow international students to have a space to talk about things they might be scared of bringing up.

“We have to cherish our freedom here,” Wang said.

The senate unanimously approved a grant of $250 for the meetings. This was the only money allocated by the senate this week.

The senate also discussed partnering with The Well to plan de-stress events in time for finals week. 

“As a student, I know how stressful it can be,” said President Alexandra Montes De Oca, who helped plan the event in collaboration with Rebecca Bean at The Well. “I’m an advocate for getting out of that headspace.”

Therapy Dogs of Santa Barbara will be providing the pups for “Wag Well Be Well,” which will take place Dec. 3 on the West Campus lawn. The event will also provide destress toys, games and activities to revive students’ minds and bodies.

“It’s a good way to free your mind,” said Natalie Blackwelder, commissioner of sustainability. “Not just mental stress, sitting is hard on your body.”

Therapy dogs have been on campus before, but it’s been over a year since there has been a similar event at City College.

“I was sad that we didn’t have them last year,” said Montes De Oca. “I’m really excited, I hope students have a great time with some dogs.”

The senate also discussed the possibility of debuting a video game center on campus in the near future, in hopes that students will use it as an opportunity to build community at City College.

Some senators were worried that it would be difficult to decide what types of games could be played on campus.

Commissioner of Events Nina Vukcevic suggested the game center should provide ping-pong and board games in addition to video games, and that they should consider group-oriented gaming systems like the Nintendo Switch instead of other consoles because “it would be hard to regulate what they could use.”

Violent video games were also a concern among senate members.

“There’s a lot of good alternatives,” Blackwelder said. “We have such a huge problem with gun violence already.”

The gaming center will be considered for the spring semester, though there are many logistical points to be ironed out.

The Associated Student Government will reconvene at its next meeting on Nov. 22.