Associated Students will go along with the United Farm Workers (UFW) if the organization decides to boycott table grapes, A.S. Legislative Council decided Wednesday.
A large audience came to argue over the future of a table grapes boycott passed by A.S. in 1993, which went along with a UFW boycott that protested farm workers’ poor working conditions and pesticide exposure. Although the boycott is no longer active, the original A.S. legislation stipulates that if the UFW were to call another boycott in the future, it would be automatically reinstated. A bill introduced last week by Off-Campus Reps Jonathan Kalinski and Josh Baker proposed repealing the boycott.
El Congreso members attended the meeting for the second week in a row to protest. They brought approximately three hundred signed statements from students saying they disagreed with reversing the boycott, which El Congreso said it collected in less than a day.
Some council members said that the boycott should be reinstated without discussion, and proposed a compromise, which would not repeal the legislation but require a majority vote to reinstate the boycott.
“We are at the mercy of the UFW,” Baker said. “Are we representing the UFW, or the actual workers?”
The bill was defeated 15-8.
Kalinski and Baker also tried to repeal a boycott of R & P Printing, a printing company that refused to publish Herstory, a campus literary magazine, due to content that involved poetry about a lesbian experience.
“For all of you who are emotionally attached to the issue, you need to come back to reality,” Rep-at-Large Chris Hook said. “Why don’t we boycott Disney for not creating lovable lesbian characters?”
Dora Morse, a member of Women’s Commission, said R & P Printing was homophobic and any student group who did business with them was promoting their discrimination.
“They’re a printing company; they don’t need to edit,” she said. “I hear what you’re saying about their right to not print something, but if a series of people refuse to print this, we’re going to have to keep running down the list.”
Off-Campus Rep Martin Doyle supported the repeal of the boycott and said his decision to do so was based on their “capitalistic right” to decide what to print or not print.
“I have nothing against pornography,” he said. “I have nothing against lesbians. In fact, I own a lot of lesbian pornography.”
The bill to end the boycott was voted down 9-13-1.
The council also unanimously repealed a boycott of Mitsubishi.
In other business, the council passed a bill that would end its ability to place a lock-in fee on the ballot without getting any student input for the next two years. The bill will not affect student groups that gather the necessary number of signatures or groups with existing lock-in fees.
“Leg Council should not be in the business of putting lock-ins on the ballot without student support,” Kalinski said.
Next Wednesday, Leg Council will debate two bills that will impact the spring elections, including a constitutional amendment to eliminate the position of Rep-at-Large, cutting Leg Council down from 24 to 18 members. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the Flying A Room of the UCen.