This article is a response to Neil Visalvanich’s “Students Shouldn’t Fund a Campaign Shrouded in Mystery” (Daily Nexus, May 25). One of Mr. Visalvanich’s main points is that UCSB students do not know what Killer Coke means, and he is correct. However, I feel compelled to defend the integrity of my fellow students against the claim that if they did know, they would not care about it.
I personally was unaware of the situation until a few months ago, when I received a flier and looked at the website, . After being informed, I certainly did care, and I believe our fellow students will care as well. UCSB students are not prone to stand idly by when human rights are being violated. We see this in several of the “noble” causes UCSB students have taken up, such as oh, let’s say saving Tibet. And although Mr. Visalvanich may want to trivialize the murder of innocent people as “sob stories,” I think most students would stand behind a movement to stop unfair and oppressive labor practices in any part of the world.
There has been a lot of dispute recently over what students’ money should be spent on, especially since the budget cuts and fee hikes. In my opinion, protecting human rights around the world is exactly the kind of thing our money should be spent on. We are university students, and that means we are here to learn about the world so that when we enter into our careers, we can use our knowledge to make a difference and a better future for it. This is the purpose of the university system. By saying that students do not care about what is happening to innocent people, Mr. Visalvanich is doing a great injustice to the student body and the university itself. On top of which, students have the right and responsibility to hold the university responsible for its actions and contracts.
The university must also hold itself to the highest standards in researching and choosing the companies that it supports. It not only has the power to pull its support from those companies, it also has the responsibility to protect human rights and to educate its students so that they will do the same. Therefore, spending students’ money to educate the students does not seem contradictory to me. Nor is it wrong for students to allocate funds meant to hold the university responsible for its actions. Students, as the future leaders of America and the world, must be educated about human rights violations and must act on their convictions that these atrocities are wrong.
Mr. Visalvanich is correct that Killer Coke is a movement shrouded in mystery, but this is only because the American public has not yet been informed about it. Well, students are taking the charge to inform and mobilize people, and I would like to thank Mr. Visalvanich for bringing this issue to the attentions of us all.
Alicia Woempner is a junior history major.