Friday, April 3

Forum discusses student concerns regarding tabled resolution

The undergraduate student government external vice president’s office held a forum on ethical investments Monday night to address student concerns about a contentious resolution the council voted to table indefinitely two weeks ago.

About 80 students attended the three-hour long forum to suggest improvements to the existing resolution, which called for UCLA to pull its finances from companies that violate human and labor rights and threaten environmental sustainability.

The conversation on Monday centered mostly around the purpose and language of the resolution and what students think it is supposed to accomplish.

The original resolution drew controversy over a clause that cited a UCLA protest regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict in 2008.

Opponents of the resolution said its language was offensive to some students and was indirectly aiming to divest from Israel. On the other hand, supporters of the resolution said it only addressed the issue of ethical investments by the university.

Lana Habib El-Farra, the USAC external vice president, revised the language of the resolution before the forum, specifically removing the clause citing the UCLA protest regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict in 2008.

The revised resolution now includes a definition of human rights using the standards of the US Department of State and calls on the university to divest from companies that target people “based on their religion, gender, race or sexual orientation.”

Several students said they felt the resolution tried to address too many different issues in the same proposal.

One suggestion was to divide the resolution into three separate resolutions that specifically address human rights, labor rights and threats to environmental sustainability.

Other students said a broad-reaching resolution would be a stepping stone for future undergraduate councils to make more specific resolutions on socially responsible investments.

Another idea was to change USAC bylaws so that if any student feels marginalized by a USAC resolution, he or she has the right to call for a forum on the issue at hand before the council can vote on it.

Some students said that this proposal would possibly act as a filibuster to USAC and make the council more inefficient.

In spite of the different suggestions, the resolution did not go through any concrete changes during the forum.

El-Farra said her office has never held a forum on a resolution before and plans to review the minutes of the forum before bringing the conversation back to the council.

“This forum went above and beyond my expectations,” El-Farra said at the end of the forum. “I really wanted to make sure (the forum wasn’t) going around in roundabout discussions, but (was actually) finding proactive ways to address (ethical investments).”

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  • thankfully

    I very much appreciate the discussions I had with the president of JSU and the VP of Hillel. Although our concerns sometimes met at odds with each other (not that our arguments were antagonistic to each other but that the means by which both our needs were best met did not satisfy the needs of the other) I honestly enjoyed the opportunity to talk about our qualms. This was a great first effort at a larger cross-community collaboration across party lines. Thank you, EVP.

  • Arafat

    The following two quotes came from the March 19th PA Daily:

    “Had Hitler won, Nazism would be an honor that people would
    be competing to belong to, and not a disgrace punishable by law.”


    “Churchill and Roosevelt were alcoholics, and in their youth
    were questioned more than once about brawls they started in bars, while Hitler
    hated alcohol and was not addicted to it. He used to go to sleep early and wake
    up early, and was very organized. These facts have been turned upside down as
    well, and Satan has been dressed with angels’ wings.”
    Partners for peace? Who are we kidding?

  • Arafat

    I love it when Muslims lecture us about diversity or accuse
    Israel of ethnic cleansing, apartheid or intolerance. What follows is the percentage Muslim
    demographic in the following countries.
    Bear in mind when studying these statistics that in every one of these
    countries 1,400 years ago (or less) Islam did not even exist.

    Afghanistan 100% Muslim
    (Once Buddhist, Hindu)

    Algeria 99%
    Muslim (Once Berber)

    Bahrain 100% Muslim
    (Once Zoroastrain, Christian)

    Iraq 95% Muslim (Once Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian)

    Iran 98% Muslim (Once Christian, Zoroastrian, etc…)

    Morocco 99%
    Muslim (Once Berber, Christian, etc…)

    Mauritania 100%
    Muslim (Once Animist)

    Somalia 100%
    Muslim (Once Animist, etc…)

    Saudi Arabia 100%
    Muslim (Once Jewish, Christian,
    Zoroastrian, etc…)

    Sudan 97% Muslim
    (Recent history teaches us what happened to all the non-Muslims in
    Sudan. It’s called genocide.)

  • ljdsaf

    When can we divest from Pakistan, a country that massacred 3 millions hindus in 1971 and raped 450,000 women in 1971, a country that is a large supporter of terrorism and hid Osama Bin Laden?

    Just wondering, why all of this hate on Israel. I don’t remember Israel slaughtering even close to 1 million Muslims. I think we all need to be balanced here.

  • Arafat

    When are we going to stop sending aid to Palestinians?

    Palestinians clamp down on press freedoms. Journalists are jailed and beaten it they do not support the party line.

    Palestinians torture and kill one another Hamas against Fatah and vice-a-versa.

    Palestinians refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist and even “moderate” Fatah calls for Israel’s destruction.

    Palestinians honor and praise martyrs who killed women and children.

    The list could go on and on.