UCSC faculty votes to oppose war with Iraq

The UC Santa Cruz Academic Senate unanimously passed a resolution opposing a “”unilateral preemptive war against Iraq”” during its winter quarter meeting on Feb. 19. The vote was 58-0, with two members abstaining.

The resolution, brought forth by assistant professor Paul Ortiz, also urges the U.S. government to “”work with the United Nations to obtain compliance from Iraq.”” Through the resolution, the UCSC Academic Senate was able to establish concerns regarding the impending war.

The resolution has drawn responses from other California campuses.

“”We’re starting to hear back from different universities about passing the same kind of resolution,”” Ortiz said.

The effect of the resolution is being felt throughout the UCSC campus and the college communities at large.

“”The intended impact of the resolution on the campus is to impart a sense of shared concern, as well as to inform the campus community on the specific issues,”” said Academic Senate Secretary David Belanger.

Ortiz and other faculty members had been working on the resolution since the end of fall quarter and formulated amendments prior to the vote. Written support from 112 out of the Academic Senate’s 637 members was received prior to the meeting. However, the expected pull of the resolution is not clear.

According to Ortiz, the Academic Senate was not under the illusion that the resolution alone will put a stop to war. It is a way for educators to try to “”get the campus community, the University of California system and society at large to reflect”” on the dangers of a preemptive war against Iraq.

The controversial aspects of the resolution have also prompted the question of whether it was an appropriate decision for an Academic Senate of a public school institution to make. However, supporters point to the resolution statement that UCSC will be significantly impacted through the redirection of resources from education to warfare.

Additionally, the resolution states that the war in Iraq “”would interfere with numerous university international initiatives and programs.””

“”Students from the UC, Cal State University systems and community colleges are struggling,”” Ortiz said. “”Where are all the resources that could be devoted for financial aid and to reduce class sizes?””

Others feel that the resolution stems from a long tradition of faculty members from the University of California making an effort to give advice to the federal, state and local governments.

“”It is in times of crisis and controversy that the scholarly expertise of the UC

faculty can be most helpful to society and government,”” Belanger said.

Standing United for Peace, a UCSC student anti-war organization, was first to bring up the idea of a resolution against the war to faculty members.

Even though no specific action is mandated by the resolution, according to Belanger, the Senate’s purpose in passing it was to voice the principles held by the UCSC faculty.