Wednesday, April 28, 2010

UC San Diego ASUC Presidents Statement on Divestment

The President of the UC San Diego Student body takes a firm and principled stand AGAINST Divestment

It is not often that a student association has an opportunity to consider legislation and take a stand on issues of national and international import. As an Association, we have passed resolutions to promote what we believe and hope will make a better world. We have taken stances against sweat shop labor, unfair trade practices, and violations of civil rights. We aspire not only to be students in support of the progress of our own nation, but to also be global citizens who answer the call for aid. It is a basic civic duty awarded to us as a representative government, and one that is codified in our Constitution.

However, these past few days, I have watched as our campus climate has gotten worse. I have witnessed the creation of two competing groups and camps around a singular contentious issue: the consideration of a resolution at our ASUCSD Council meeting today. In many ways, I am watching history repeat itself.

Last year, when a resolution was proposed concerning the conflict in Gaza, two student groups came to several ASUCSD Council meetings, passionately defending and advocating for their world point-of-view, their perspective on an issue that even our best international leaders have yet to successfully resolve. Some of these students believed they were compelled to come to this meeting to defend a country they hold dear. Others came to the meeting advocating for peace and human rights, hoping to lead the Association towards what they argued was progress. What is tragic is that both groups were correct, incorrect, misinformed, and made some good and bad points. The issue was a complicated one, something that the ASUCSD Council was obviously ill-equipped to solve.

Now that a year has passed, we are still ill-equipped to resolve this issue. Consideration of this resolution today will only prove again for us one thing: that it is divisive. It is dividing our students, pitting groups against each other who are fighting to be represented by their student association. They should not have to fight for the voice of our Association. We could not call any resolution approved through this process representative of the students at our university. And thus, I do not believe our student association can or should take a stance on this resolution.

I am not here to choose or argue sides. For me, the most important consideration is the welfare of the student body at the University. Passage of this legislation will create a divide that violates the goals and purposes of our Association. To this end, I will be voting against the passage of this resolution. I urge my colleagues to do the same.

I am truly proud to be a part of the extraordinary institution that is UC San Diego. The University has given us these words to live by: Local Impact, National Influence, and Global Reach. Issues such as these prove that, as a student body, we are strong and passionate. Despite what happens in our Council tonight, remember that, together, we are Tritons, and that we will continue to make an impact wherever we go.

Sincerely yours,

President, Associated Students
University of California, San Diego


Anonymous said...

The other side, however, is not handicapped by any similar sense of ethics.

From an e-mail circulated by Leena Barakat (One Democratic State Group):
"We call on you, as members of ASUCSD, to join us in declaring a stance of peace and neutrality by upholding the Resolution to Divest from U.S. Corporations Profiting from Occupation. This resolution is part and parcel of the historic movement for peace and human rights advocacy, particularly in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank, besieged Gaza, and annexed East Jerusalem."

Leena Barakat specifically targets only one country - Israel. Just one. No other.
None of the loathsome inhuman regimes that oppose Israel is mentioned, nor any of the failed states in Africa, Asia, and South America.
No other country is so villified and excoriated, no other country is held to such high standards, no other country need answer to university students in San Diego.

read more here:

The back of the hill said...

I note that Steffy has a similar post here:

Clickably: worries.

Anonymous said...

The organizers wnat you to think that BDS is a "grassroots" movement, but it is carefully finanaced and organized from outside sources.

These notes were taken at the Al Awda conference at La Mesa, California earlier this year:

Next up for SJP at SDSU came Lina Othman, head of the group’s outreach department. Othman, explained how the UC Divestment program had developed a campus-wide network in California tailored for each campus community. For example, she explained, the climate at UC Berkeley might be different than the one at San Diego State when it came to divesting from the Jewish state.

Othman epitomized the use of deception by the divestment movement just as Al Awda uses in giving such conferences. Othman told us how SDSU had already three SJP members on the Student Council and they were gunning for ten including the Student Body Presidency. Once they had control of the campus, she explained, they would then institute a campus-wide policy. It was bemoaned during this session that an earlier resolution by her campus against the genocide in Darfur had made a point of saying that it did not include Israel. To get around this, Othman explained that future boycott and divestment actions at SDSU would single out “human rights violations” as the cause of pointing out certain companies and individuals to boycott. It was to be specifically about boycotting and divesting from Israel—the Jews—but they wouldn’t say that so as to deceive people.

Steffy said...

What it all still boils down to is a singling out of one nation, and a consequent denial that any other issues have as much importance.

Maltreatment of Philippinas by Arabs in the Gulf? Not important!
Apartheid against Chinese in South-East Asian countries (legally enshrined, viciously enforced)? Not important!
The ongoing slaughter in the Sudan? Not important!
The daily brutalizing of Gypsies in Eastern Europe? Not important!
The endemic sexual maltreatment of women by Rednecks, Arabs, and Latins? Not important!
Sex slavery in Western Europe? Not important!
Ongoing Muslim genocide/cultural repression in every country they have taken over? Not important!
Starvation and savage repression in North Korea? Not important!

Nothing is quite so important to these dipwads as their whiny Pally pets. They are truly showing their racist double standards by their actions. They are, plain and simple, bigots.

Anonymous said...

No Divestment at UC Berkeley!
No Divestment at UC San Diego!

But they are already spinning this as "We really won, even though it looks like we lost"

Anonymous said...

Chancellor Birgeneau reacts to ASUC divestment bill related to disputed territories in the Middle East
29 April 2010

On April 28, the ASUC Senate upheld a veto of a bill that called for the UC Berkeley administration and the UC Regents to divest from any investment in companies with business interests which support "the occupation of the Palestinian territories" by Israel. Previously, the bill had been passed by the Senate and then vetoed by the ASUC president. In the statement below, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau reacts to the debate.

BERKELEY — Since the ASUC Senate passed Bill 118 "A Bill in Support of ASUC Divestment from War Crimes," followed by the ASUC President's veto of the bill, my office has been inundated with more than 28,000 e-mails, some arguing passionately that I should make a statement denouncing the bill, others calling fervently for me to celebrate and applaud it. Statements have come from our faculty, who have weighed in with their expertise and eloquence; messages have poured in from staff, students and alumni, and from people and organizations from around the world.

What has become abundantly clear is how deeply divided our campus community is on this difficult and complex issue. As chancellor, a pillar of my vision for UC Berkeley has been to create a campus where equity and inclusion are fundamental values that sustain our principles of community and allow freedom of expression to occur through civilized, informed debate.

The campus must be prepared to accept a diversity of views, and all of our students must feel that the campus is an inclusive environment for them, one in which they have the freedom to express their views without fear of intimidation.

While last night's vote brings this matter to a close within the ASUC for the time being, we remain concerned about the lingering effects of the debate in our campus community. We hope and expect that the ongoing discussion and dialogue about the conflict in the Middle East will happen in a manner that respects and acknowledges the views and beliefs of others.

Robert J. Birgeneau
Chancellor, UC Berkeley