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Student Council passes resolution calling for end of ABC's law enforcement power

BSA collaborates with Student Council on resolution

<p>Student Council President-elect Abe Axeler said the executive order enacted by the Governor Wednesday does not go far enough in it's reforms of Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control.</p>

Student Council President-elect Abe Axeler said the executive order enacted by the Governor Wednesday does not go far enough in it's reforms of Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Student Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday night calling for the Virginia General Assembly to repeal sections of the Virginia Criminal Code granting the Alcoholic Beverage Control law enforcement power.

Student Council President-elect Abraham Axler, a second-year College student, convened the session.

The resolution also asked for monthly conversations with all law enforcement authorities about the treatment of students.

The resolution was formed in consideration of the Mar. 18 incident in which third-year College student Martese Johnson sustained a head injury requiring 10 stitches as he was arrested by ABC officers, as well as a 2013 incident in which an ABC agent pulled a gun on University student Elizabeth Daly in the parking lot of a Harris Teeter.

Axler said he spoke with Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security, about Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Executive Order 40, which states an expert review panel should be created to monitor the ABC’s functions and make recommendations about needed changes.

“We have to be pragmatic,” Axler said. “I don’t think the governor’s order went far enough.”

Axler also said he urged Moran to place student representatives from Student Council and the Black Student Alliance on the review panel. He said these representatives would provide relevant input about the student perspective during the review.

“I think the students who are named to the committee are savvy enough to know their job isn’t to analyze the vagaries of Virginia criminal and contours of ABC’s law enforcement policies,” Axler said. “I’m relatively confident that Secretary Moran is not opposed to the idea. I am confident that the governor does care about students.”

Before voting on the resolution, the Council invited any individuals present to share their views on the resolution.

Law student Sam Shirazi said he thought the resolution and what it asks of Virginia’s government is positive.

“I think this is a bipartisan issue that can actually get done in Richmond,” Shirazi said.

BSA President Joy Omenyi, a fourth-year College student, said the BSA coordinated with the Council over the weekend as the resolution was drafted.

“Both organizations share the same end goal,” Omenyi said. “Of course, Student Council took care of the legislative part of it. The idea was in collaboration.”

Omenyi said it would also be productive to consider the enforcement powers of local law enforcement going forward.

“I think as much as we look at the ABC, I think it is important to apply the same quality control to the University of Virginia and Charlottesville Police Departments,” Omenyi said. “We interact with them more.”

Axler said special sessions are key in moments like this.

“It allows you to consider the most pressing issue of the moment and have a resolution on it,” Axler said.

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