Dear UCSB,

I have sat back for many weeks and read numerous front-page articles and opinion columns concerning myself, and the alleged incident that occurred on Nov. 12, 2004. Although I am unable to comment on my legal situation, due to the fact that there are criminal charges pending, I have decided that it is necessary for me to write to those who are willing to listen.

It has been suggested, by people whom I do not know, that I should resign from my position as president of Associated Students. Agitated readers who have been following the incident by means of the Daily Nexus have called me a “disgrace” (“Our A.S. President Should Step Down,” Daily Nexus, Jan. 7) and many other shameful things. Where do we draw the line?

Last year, before deciding to create my own political party – Students’ Party – with the advice and support of others, I scrutinized the former administration – Student Action Coalition – and the ways in which they sold the students short. Among many other things, they were simply too exclusive and did not take the time to address the issues that were important to UCSB students. Another thing that I believed needed change was the lack of visibility of Associated Students and its student representatives.

From the beginning of Fall Quarter 2004, I have made a point to be visible to students as their representative in Associated Students. I am frequently in the Arbor or the UCen tabling for something that has to do with Associated Students – even when I should be attending my classes. Although the A.S. Initiative failed by only 148 votes, I had physically given every ounce of energy I had to the campaign. I am passionate about my work at Associated Students and I give 110 percent in everything I do here.

Whereas my legal situation has only been alleged, and I have not been found guilty of any charges, I understand how terrible it must look for someone in my position to be at the center of such a situation. For that, I do apologize. It is in no way my intent to bring a bad name to the university or Associated Students. If you knew me personally, you would know that I care very much about our campus and its image.

People have said that I am using my position to sell “Free Curve” T-shirts, and I must say that it is not true. I do not wear the T-shirt, nor have I personally sold any of them to anyone. My friends are the ones selling shirts, and the T-shirts were not made to in any way copy and/or make fun of political prisoners, such as Mumia Abu-Jamal and Tenzen Delek Rinpoche. My friends designed the T-shirts and are selling them to raise money for my legal expenses, because they would not like to see me go to jail or be deported back to Trinidad just because I was unable to pay my lawyer.

Despite all the difficulties I continue to face, my work in Associated Students has not been affected. In my opinion, I have always put the students first in everything I have done in A.S. I ask for those who truly believe in my work to support me as I go thorough what has so far been the most difficult situation of my life.

Cervin Morris is the Associated Students president and a junior English major.