Thursday, December 12

Letters


Monday, April 29, 1996Emulate peace

Editor:

Muslims are ignorant. That was my naive opinion before I had
ever even met a Muslim. I use this extreme example from my life to
prove a point: I was ignorant. Now, in light of the recent events
in the Middle East and the repercussions present on our campus, I
am confused.

I never imagined that people could continue to have naive
opinions about others of different ethnic or religious backgrounds
once they had been exposed to an environment where they could
develop a relationship with those people. What I have realized is
that not everyone takes the opportunities abundant on this campus
to learn about different people. Many hold to their biases and
often unfounded animosity.

Now, the events in the Middle East have sadly strengthened those
beliefs. Yet we should learn from each event that enters into our
lives and use it for progress. I suggest that despite our
differences, we can develop relationships. Even in the Middle East
they have initiated peace talks which we can emulate by getting to
know individuals of groups with which we have conflict.

After all, Christianity, Islam and Judaism all teach that we
must live at peace with our fellow man. Are we going to identify
with a religion whose message we can not carry in our hearts?

Natalie Zahr

Third-year

Philosophy

Candid ballot

Editor:

I am writing to express my utter disbelief and dismay that the
in-person voting process for graduate students is not anonymous!
The student’s ID number (which is essentially the same as one’s
name) is written on the top of the paper ballot, thereby
restricting the voter’s freedom.

I am assuming that recording the student’s ID number is done to
ensure that each grad student only votes once. However, there are
better ways to regulate voting WITHOUT identifying the student on
the ballot. For example, spring registration cards could be either
stamped or hole-punched to indicate that a student has voted; or
voters’ names could be checked off a list.

If the Graduate Students Association wants to increase the
likelihood of grad students voting, then I suggest they change the
voting process so that one may vote anonymously. Secret ballots
enable voters to choose freely and are a basic U.S. voting
right.

Jo Anne Beazley

Graduate

Education and information studies

Cents well spent

Editor:

Throughout the 1995-96 academic year, students at UCLA and
throughout California have been vital to the national effort to
prevent massive cuts to federal financial aid, defend affirmative
action and reject wasteful and ineffective anti-immigrant
legislation, which has only served to fan the flames of racism
across the nation and at home here, in California.

The United States Student Association is not a lobbying
organization. We are a national grass roots organization, composed
of student governments, student leaders and activists from around
the country. We seek to organize students around issues of access,
quality and affordability in higher education.

This past year, students organized an extremely successful,
month-long call in to congressional members using a special 1-800
hotline; coordinated a week of activism called "Death of Education
Week" during which President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al
Gore visited two United States Student Association (USSA) member
campuses to talk of their commitment to higher education; organized
letter writing, postcard campaigns, rallies and in-state lobby
visits, all aimed at battering Congress into submission.

Among the many victories we won this year:

1) Passage of the Snowe-Simon Amendment: This amendment closed a
tax loophole on foreign corporations and funneled $9.4 billion back
into the Senate’s budget proposal for higher education.

2) In coalition with the education community and other
organizations, USSA was critical in defeating passage of the
Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, a move which would
have resulted in a 40 percent reduction in education funding!

3) USSA was instrumental in the campaign to force President
Clinton to veto the Personal Responsibility Act, a bill which would
have cut the social services system in the country to shreds and
created a new layer of wasteful and inefficient bureaucracy in our
university and school systems.

4) Through months of grass roots activism and careful
negotiations, we ensured the unanimous passage of the Kassebaum
amendment which restored $9 billion additional dollars to student
aid, reducing the proposed cuts to $3.1 billion, none of which
affected students in higher education.

In the upcoming undergraduate elections, there is a referendum
to increase the Undergraduate Students Association Council
membership fee by 75 cents per student, per quarter. Of this, 25
cents are to be used to increase funding for USSA in order for USSA
to continue to serve students at UCLA effectively and represent
your concerns on a national level. We are asking all students to
vote YES on this referendum!

M. Kazim Ali

National Vice President

United States Students Association

Bar none

Editor:

The arguments in Timothy Burke’s April 24 column "On-campus bar
would be ideal forum for student debate" have no basis. How would
such a bar succeed in arousing public debate among students when
other campus institutions do not?

Daily, thousands of students and faculty sit together at
on-campus coffee houses and cafeterias, share the same tables and
stand in the same lines, yet rarely engage in noteworthy debates
about political or social issues. Equally, thousands of students
spend hours in the dorms or congregate around the student union
buildings where they get to know others well. Even there, we rarely
hear important public debates about the major issues of the
day.

Many local bars cater to the UCLA population, none of which are
known for the debates that take place there. Those of us who go to
these bars do so not to hear debates, but rather to get drinks,
companionship and possibly, if it is a profit-seeking bar, to get
drunk. An on-campus bar would not be different. If bars in some
places do act as forums for debate, it is because they attract
people who already actively engage in debates (such as politicians)
or people who have no other forum in which to relax and talk with
others. At UCLA, such forums are not at all scarce.

Advocates of the on-campus bar are not at all interested in
debates (or in raising revenue for the school), but rather in a
place where they can get an alcoholic beverage in between classes.
More importantly, they are seeking to create a school environment
in which they can walk openly on campus with a bottle of beer in
their hand or relax with a drink during class, the way many of us
currently do with a soft drink.

It is also important to remind Burke that the pub he’s
advocating would exclude anyone who is under 21 or who belongs to a
religion or culture that forbids alcohol consumption. Thus, many
among the UCLA population would be excluded from the supposed
debates because of legal or moral obligations, NOT because of being
"closed-minded." A fake ID is not advisable on campus due to the
high cost of getting caught.

Yaron F. Dunkel

Senior

International Economics

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