Submission: Groups ask USAC candidates to decline sponsored trips
May 6, 2014 12:10 a.m.
Editor’s note: The following is a statement jointly written and disseminated by the Armenian Students’ Association, Samahang Pilipino, the Afrikan Student Union, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Student Association and Jewish Voice for Peace. Representatives of those organizations contacted candidates, asking them to sign the statements by the deadline of Monday at 5 p.m. It is printed below, edited for Daily Bruin style, with the list of signatories that endorsed the statement before the deadline. Signatories are printed in the order of when they signed.
We, as UCLA students from various backgrounds and perspectives, ask that elected officials refrain from taking free or sponsored trips with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League or Hasbara Fellowships.
As many students have experienced this year, AIPAC and ADL have political agendas that marginalize multiple communities on campus. Recently, student government trips to the AIPAC Policy Conference have come under scrutiny because of the organization’s ties to anti-Armenian groups and public figures. Both AIPAC and the ADL (as well as its current president) have histories of Islamophobia. AIPAC has sponsored Islamophobic speakers at its conferences and has also consistently pushed for war with Iran, even while the Barack Obama administration has sought a diplomatic route. AIPAC also marginalizes the Afrikan and Palestinian communities, as the organization has consistently endorsed and protected actions that have violated human rights and international law.
Hasbara Fellowships is housed under Aish International, an organization that has helped disseminate Islamophobic materials on campuses and around the country. These materials portray the Muslim community as threats, have incited violence against Muslims and serve to marginalize Muslim students on campus.
We further ask that Undergraduate Students Association Council members do not accept free or sponsored trips that marginalize communities on the UCLA campus. This includes any outside non-student organization that promotes discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, age, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, physical ability, mental ability, marital status, financial status or social status or which engages in any form of systematic prejudiced oppression. The University of California Student Association and United States Student Association conferences are deemed acceptable as these conferences deal directly with student issues and do not marginalize any community.
Please sign as a candidate in the upcoming USAC elections assuring the campus that you will decline these trips while in elected office:
Devin Tré Murphy
Alexander Joseph Maximilian Mercier
Carlos Quintanilla, Savannah Badalich, Greg Kalfayan, Kevin Patterson and Sachin Medhekar declined to sign because of issues with specific language in the document but claim they will not be attending such conferences if elected in the upcoming year.