A.S supports UCSA agenda

    The A.S. Council adopted a resolution supporting the University of California Student Association’s action agenda items for this academic year at its Nov. 19 meeting. The council also looked at resolutions in support of the United Food and Commercial Workers’ strike as well as a resolution affirming Africa’s right to health, but did not adopt either of these.

    The resolution in support of the UCSA action agenda asserts the council’s support of UCSA advocating the funneling of funding from prisons to education, for environmental sustainability at UC campuses and increases in student initiated outreach.

    “”We spend an insane amount on our prison system and very little on education in California,”” A.S. Vice President External Harish Nandagopal, the author of all three resolutions, said. “”More money should be put into education rather than incarceration.””

    The resolution calls for no new student fee increases, the creation of student-initiated programs to cut energy use by 30 percent and water use by 10 percent at UC campuses, and the creation of programs to facilitate admission of minority and underprivileged students following the $33.3 million cut from the University of California’s outreach budget for 2003-04.

    “”If it’s just UCSD that’s advocating for new policies … our voice by itself isn’t very powerful,”” Eleanor Roosevelt College Sophomore Senator Max Harrington said. “”But if all ten campuses come together to support the agenda of our statewide organization, which is UCSA, that makes us all the more powerful.””

    With no discussion on the council floor, the resolution was adopted by consensus.

    The council postponed indefinitely a resolution in support of the UFCW strike at area supermarkets.

    Council members opposed to the resolution cited constituent concerns and a reluctance to adopt a resolution that may not represent a majority of students at UCSD.

    Thurgood Marshall College Freshman sSnator Alan Haimowitz called the resolution “”blatantly one-sided.””

    Marshall Chair Travis Silva expressed concerns that passing a resolution in favor of the strike could alienate store managers and jeopardize donations the supermarkets make to UCSD organizations.

    “”This is biting the hand that feeds this campus,”” Silva said.

    Proponents of the resolution pointed to worker’s rights and the rising costs of health care as reason to support the strike.

    A vote to pull the item from committee in order to discuss it on the council floor failed, 1-18-1. Consequently, the council adopted the Internal Committee’s recommendation to postpone the resolution indefinitely.

    Debate on the resolution in support of Africa’s right to health focused around the question of the council’s purpose in adopting the resolution.

    The resolution affirms the danger of the HIV and A.I.D.S. pandemic in Africa and calls on the U.S. government to commit at least $15 billion to fight A.I.D.S. in Africa and support African governments’ access to generic drugs. The resolution also urges students at UCSD to organize for a week of action in support of the fight against A.I.D.S. in Africa..

    “”This has nothing to do with UCSD,”” Vice President of Finance Eric Webster said. “”We’re condemning a virus here. This is about a virus. Of course everyone’s against [A.I.D.S.].””

    Other councilmembers supported the council’s right to take positions on issues and the relevance of A.I.D.S. in Africa.

    “”This concept that Africa has no bearing on us just blows my mind,”” ERC Chair David Goodwin said. “”The point of this item … is to affect the lives of the students that are on campus who might find out about this and do further research on their own.””

    Former Sixth College Council Chair Christopher Sweeten authored the resolution with the hope that it would draw students’ attention to the A.I.D.S. crisis in Africa.

    “”I hope that through this resolution people will see the discrepancies within our social justice system in the world on who is receiving adequate relief from the virus and who is not,”” Sweeten said.

    A vote to pull the item from committee failed, forcing the council to temporarily accept the Internal Committee’s recommendation to adopt the resolution.

    At Nandagopal’s request, the council reconsidered the item and tabled it indefinitely with a vote of 15-2-2.

    Nandagopal asked the council not to adopt the resolution because he felt that neither the supporters nor opponents of the resolution were happy with the outcome of the discussion.

    Rather than “”railroad something through,”” Nandagopal plans to continue to plan for a day of action and other A.I.D.S.-related programming.

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