At a lengthy four-hour meeting, Associated Students Legislative Council passed one bill and approved three resolutions, including two concerning the war in Iraq.
Leg Council members debated the two resolutions pertaining to Iraq – one to oppose the escalation of the war and the other in support of the anti-war strike slated for Feb. 15 – for the majority of the meeting, and fielded several responses from students in attendance. In addition, the council passed a bill to change the election code to fix grammatical errors and a resolution thanking former Executive Director Don Daves-Rougeaux for his work at the university.
The council argued extensively over the resolution opposing the escalation of the war in Iraq, as some members felt it did not represent the views of many UCSB students. Fourth-year student Cameron Williams spoke at the meeting to express this sentiment.
“Why is time being used to convey such a resolution?” Williams asked. “I don’t know what actual effect it’s going to have.”
Leg Council member Raymond Meza, the author of the resolution, said discussing the resolution was an important use of the council’s time.
“I don’t feel we ever waste our time when we discuss our issues,” Meza said. “If the students do have a problem, they can elect students from different parties and they can put things to a vote.”
Rep at Large Ajay Deshpande said he wanted to represent the whole student body and felt such a political resolution would not be serving his constituency.
“Our organization represents the students on campus,” Deshpande said. “It’s important we reflect the views and opinions of all the students at this university, not just the majority.”
Leg Council members also discussed the problem of the resolution’s language, specifically that “the student body of the University of California, Santa Barbara” disagreed with the proposed actions of increasing the presence of troops in Iraq.
“The displeasure lies mainly in the fact that we say we represent the student body,” On-Campus Rep Ian Taylor said.
The council then changed the resolution to state that it is solely Legislative Council that opposes the escalation of the war in Iraq. The resolution passed with 14 in favor and 4 abstaining.
The council then debated another resolution concerning Iraq – specifically the support of the student strike slated for Feb 15.
The resolution encourages “no school, no work and no consumption for all students” and states the A.S. office will be closed on that date.
However, several Leg members said they could not miss class, work or any other planned activities on that day.
“I don’t think we should stop work and let all those other student groups’ events die,” University-Owned Housing Rep Amanda Burlingame said.
Additionally, some members said they did not want to support a resolution that would advocate missing class.
“I will never vote for something that will inhibit my education,” Leg member Alex Van Wagner said. “This is a place to learn and this goes against everything I’m here for.”
However, Kelly Burns, an organizer of the event present at the meeting, said a strike was the only way to get a message out.
“We need to shut down the institution,” Burns said. “The strike is the only way not to make business as usual … that’s the only way the government will even know that we care.”
While he agreed with having a strike, Meza said the effectiveness of a resolution passed by Leg Council was debatable.
“I don’t think a resolution passed by Associated Students will affect anyone,” Meza said. “It’ll just say we support the reasons.”
Off Campus Rep Jeronimo Saldana said the issue at hand was activism, not convenience for students.
“We’re [A.S.] – a part of the problem; we’re a bureaucracy,” Saldana said. “Leg Council is shit; we debate for three hours, we should be doing it grassroots style … I’m disgusted with this fucking school.”
After further discussion about the strike and war in Iraq, council members passed the resolution with 13 in favor, 4 against and 1 abstaining.