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Saturday, November 28, 2020

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‘Your inner misogyny came out’: SGA members spar after Senate rejects female Supreme Court nominee


Arguments over misogyny at the virtual Student Government Association Senate meeting followed the failed confirmation of an SGA Supreme Court nominee. | File photo

Arguments over misogyny at the virtual Student Government Association Senate meeting followed the failed confirmation of an SGA Supreme Court nominee. | File photo

An argument broke out at the Student Government Association Senate meeting on Wednesday night after a failed judicial appointment sparked accusations of misogyny among SGA members.

In her closing remarks, Vice President Hiba Rashid expressed her disappointment in the Senate after failing to confirm the nomination of management information systems senior Anusha Basra to the Supreme Court as an associate justice. 

“I’m just going to come out and say it, it was mostly men who voted no, and I think that’s because she went and talked a little about sexual assault,” Rashid said. “I think that your inner misogyny came out and you should check yourself and check your misogyny and that is all I have to say.”

Basra, who shared her negative experiences with the University and its Equal Opportunity Services office during the hearing, was rejected in a 14-6 decision that was one vote away from reaching the three-fourths majority needed to confirm a Supreme Court justice.

She had already been reviewed by President Jasmine Khademakbari and was missing only the Senate’s approval.

Accusations of misogyny came after a Technology Sen. Alexander Duvall inferred the applicant was incompetent during the hearing before against the nominee.

“When you apply to a position, you need to have the credentials and at least know what your job is, and I don’t see either,” Duvall said.“I don’t believe in incompetence. She does not have my support.”

Rashid responded to Duvall’s criticisms by saying an incompetent person would not have made it past Khademakbari’s “scrutiny.” She also pointed out Basra’s involvement in the community, campaigns and campus leadership positions. 

Following Rashid’s claim of misogyny, members of the executive branch and the Senate began responding, both verbally and in the Zoom chat box.

“I love you Hiba, and I think you’re a great person, but I hope you don’t take things personal again in the future,” said Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Sen. Arsalan Darbin in the chat. 

Natural Science and Mathematics Sen. Chiamaka Chukwu began discussing the difficulty of not taking the situation personally in light of how the confirmation hearing went. 

“Coming for Hiba and saying that she’s taking it personal, it’s kind of hard not to when you as a woman witness another woman being torn apart,” Chukwu said. “For what? For a University of Houston SGA position?

“We are not the United States Senate, so there really was no reason to put her down in the manner that you all did.”

While some senators voted against the judicial confirmation, others advocated against the language used to describe the applicant, saying behavior like that turns people away from getting involved in the SGA.

“The comments you made and the attitude you had towards her are the reason why so many students are turned off from joining this organization, me included at first,” said CLASS Sen. Matthew Gil. “Although I did vote no because I felt that maybe she should be somewhere else or would be better utilized somewhere else, that doesn’t give you the right to call her incompetent. 

“I think you made a mockery of this administration and of the Senate meeting.”

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