With 1,000 paper cranes as well as 50 students in attendance, the Associated Students Legislative Council passed two bills and three resolutions last night.
During its three-hour meeting, council members approved a previously rejected bill to create a student oversight committee of the UC-managed nuclear research laboratories. Nearly 50 students came in to support the measure, and leaders threw 1,000 paper cranes throughout the room — a memorial to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Meanwhile, the council also passed a bill to create a technology committee devoted to such aims as wireless Internet access across campus, and resolutions in support of the Isla Vista Teen Center; International Workers’ Day this May 1; and a recent student hunger strike at the University of Vermont.
At the council’s April 18 meeting, the bill to create a student oversight committee of the UC-managed nuclear research laboratories failed with a vote of 12 in favor, 8 against and 2 abstaining. The A.S. Legal Code requires a two-thirds vote to create a new committee.
The committee aims “to provide student oversight of UC’s nuclear warhead research, design and production labs in order to ensure that the UC and United States government obey their treaty obligations to work toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.”
Organizers videotaped the meeting and made presentations for an hour and a half, including one given by a Hiroshima bombing survivor, Shigeko Sasamori.
“My mission is to tell how horrible [it is] once war starts,” Sasamori, who was a child during the bombing, said. “Even innocent civilians get hurt.”
A representative from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Will Parrish, said the creation of the committee would be historic.
“We can play a role liberating our planet from these nuclear weapons,” Parrish said. “All future generations are going to be thankful to us. All of us have a chance tonight to play a role in that process.”
Fourth-year Spanish major Cricket Clark said she represented the students who are against nuclear weapons. She said this group wished to be officially acknowledged by the council.
“All we’re really asking is that Leg Council legitimizes this group of students that want this oversight committee – the UC Regents aren’t doing a good job,” Clark said. “Our fingers are bloody even now paying our tuition.”
Several council members expressed support for the committee and the large group of students in attendance.
“This is a direct UC issue and the creation of a committee directly supported by elected officials is a strong catalyst for change,” Rep-at-Large J.P. Primeau said.
The council passed the bill with consent after brief discussion. After the passage of the bill, audience members in favor of the committee, as well as several members of the council, joined in a “solidarity clap.”
Meanwhile, the council approved resolutions to support the I.V. Teen Center and close the A.S. offices on May 1 for International Workers’ Day. Additionally, the council passed a resolution to show “Solidarity with Hunger Strikers for a Living Wage.” According to the resolution, 12 students at the University of Vermont are on a hunger strike until the school’s administration raises its workers’ wages to a “livable wage.” The resolution also demands a living wage for workers everywhere, including UCSB.