A.S. Council Should Value Lives Over Rules

Dear Editor,

As reported in the Jan. 14 article “Haitian Capital Hit Hard by Quake,” a resolution proposing a $5,000 donation by the A.S. Council to fund relief efforts in poverty-stricken and devastated Haiti failed to pass. This was not because the A.S. Council did not have the money, but because the majority of the governing body thought it would create a dangerous precedence that would overturn standing rules on giving student fees and funds to a country so desperately in need of such aid.

The council debated the issue for a little over an hour, quibbling about whether giving such an amount of money was within the council’s rules. What appalled me the most was that my fellow councilmembers, educated and knowledgeable representatives who decide on and know the student body’s best interests, could sit there and argue over giving immediate aid to alleviate the suffering of their brothers and sisters in Haiti. Imagine if members of Congress quibbled over the legality of giving federal money to fund relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, only to issue a press release stating that they stand in solidarity with the victims of the hurricane.

If members of the council were keen on actually representing the student body’s best interests, they would have approved the resolution without hesitation, as opposed to merely standing in solidarity with the victims of the earthquake. Quite simply, my fellow councilmembers failed to take into account the brevity of the situation in Haiti. With over 50,000 people dead in a country essentially forsaken by most developed countries, my fellow councilmembers failed to take into account the human factor. They had the power to amend such standing rules, but they felt that violating the rules was a much more serious and pressing issue than sending the best form of aid available to a country reeling from the aftershocks of the earthquake and extreme poverty.

It begs the question, where are the council’s priorities? Certainly not in alleviating the suffering of Haiti’s denizens. Such a disconnect from the tragedy and horrors of a natural disaster only reveals the council’s callousness and lack of concern for anything that is perceived as not germane to student affairs at UCSD.

I understand that rules and laws must be followed in order to establish precedence and prevent chaos from reigning. But such man-made laws must be disobeyed in order to adhere to the higher law commanding us to be our brother’s keeper, to be responsible for securing the general welfare of all — especially those in dire need. Never have I seen such a casual disregard for the welfare of one’s fellow human. It seems that Haiti has already been forsaken and forgotten by the Associated Students of UCSD.

— Victor Lin

A.S. Physical Sciences Senator

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