UCLA – ground zero for vehement debates between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students – saw its student government recently pass a new bylaw which ostensibly prohibits it from taking a side in controversial global-political issues such as the Israel-Palestinian conflict.It is reasonable to say that the student government should concern itself with things happening on campus and not opine on every issue worldwide. But, of course, many students were offended by this idea, including, of course, Israel-haters.
The new bylaw restricts the current Undergraduate Students Association Council to only weighing and voting on “matters directly and substantially pertaining to student welfare issues,” defined as “issues pertaining to student (health), resources, education, safety.”
The student government adopted the resolution by a 9-4 vote on Nov. 17 after a lengthy debate, with some students who supported it saying they were elected to fight for students’ immediate concerns, not get bogged down by divisive global issues.
“USAC is not the United Nations and you weren’t elected to take stances on geopolitical issues that experts can’t solve,” said a student prior to the vote.
Members of Students for Justice in Palestine came up with a new reason to oppose this bylaw: not being allowed to spout anti-Israel rhetoric at student government events affects their "wellness." From the minutes of the meeting:
Arnie is the vice president for Students for Justice in Palestine and an Armenian student on campus. "I am here to call you all out on petty bullshit as a clear attempt to undue [sic] the resolution from last year. First you all want to do resolutions that have to do with wellness. For some students that has to do with wellness, who are you to tell them what is their wellness."You cannot parody these idiots; they do such a nice job by themselves.
-Annie is Arnie’s sister is here on behalf of Armenian Student Association and JSP [sic] and behalf for humans in general. "...You are in a place of privilege and we don’t have the power and this resolution is just really frustrating that we have to constantly reaffirm and what student wellness affects us. If we tell you something is our student wellness you have to believe us you cant [sic] pick and choose. I strongly urge all of you to think about the 28,000 students you represent and think of a different understanding of student wellness."
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