Despite the failure of the Faculty Legislature to vote on the issue of military recruiters on campus last week, student groups on both sides of the controversy are still making plans to keep the matter in the public eye and on the chancellor’s agenda.
A resolution to ban military recruiters from campus went before the faculty legislature last week, but was not voted on because not enough professors showed up to the special meeting. Chancellor Yang, who must approve any advisory vote by the faculty legislature, said he would decide on the issue only after hearing the faculty’s recommendation.
The resolution has been a controversial topic among student groups, including the Student Commission on Racial Equality (SCORE), who supported the resolution’s view that the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy conflict with the nondiscriminatory stance of the university. The College Republicans organized much of the student opposition to the proposal. Both groups said they would not let the proposal die, even though the Academic Senate will most likely not vote again until Fall Quarter.
SCORE member and third year Chicano Studies major Chris De La Cerda said because the Academic Senate has not taken a stance on the issue, SCORE would meet with the chancellor and attempt to convince him to make a decision by the end of the quarter.
“It was a complete failure on the part of the Academic Senate,” De La Cerda said. “We’re extremely disappointed that they wouldn’t do their job. The next step is pressuring the chancellor that this is something he needs to move on in a timely manner. We went through the proper channels of the Academic Senate and they failed. Now it’s time for the chancellor to do his job.”
College Republicans member and third year business economics major Antony Mascovich said his organization believes the issue will stretch into the next school year, and is planning events to discourage student apathy.
“We’re going to stage more rallies and support-the-troops events,” Mascovich said. “People have already forgotten about it. Especially at this campus, these issues are like a flavor of the week. Attention is going to taper off until next year. We’re going to address the issue in whatever events we have and address it in our weekly meetings. At least in our organization, we will keep the issue alive and strong.”
Second year law and political science major and Chair of the College Republicans Sally Marois said the group is going to concentrate on educating students about the real issues behind the debate.
“We’re going to talk to Santa Barbara County at large and all the groups on campus,” Marois said. “We’re going to make it a non-ideological issue. Gay, straight – it doesn’t matter. It’s more about students’ rights … We got a petition of over 200 signatures in just 45 minutes of students walking by and saying keep military recruiters on campus. I hope when Chancellor Yang sees this, he’ll see that it’s a students issue and a First Amendment issue … We’re definitely going to try to educate the incoming class.”
Mascovich said the Academic Senate’s failure to meet quorum is a boost for recruiters on campus, because it shows how little backing there was for the resolution’s author, sociology professor emeritus Thomas Scheff.
“It reflects negatively about professor Scheff that he couldn’t get the bread and butter of his support to come,” Mascovich said. “A bunch of students were really involved and now it’s in limbo, but it didn’t have much chance anyway.”
SCORE Co-chair and fourth year global studies major Katie Joaquin said the Academic Senate’s actions indicate an ignorance of what is important to students, but not a general feeling about the resolution.
“I’m not sure that the lack of quorum is a lack of support for the resolution,” Joaquin said. “It’s a lack of investment by the professors in student needs. The members of the Academic Senate are not prioritizing student needs or wants.”