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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students condemn human rights abuse

    The student government senate passed a resolution last week that condemned the human rights abuses of Iran after more than a month of debate over whether student government was overstepping its bounds by supporting such an endeavor.

    Several Associated Students of the University of Arizona senators argued during a series of senatorial meetings last month that supporting a resolution against Iran’s proliferation of nuclear weapons and human rights abuses would open the door to support any resolution that came before the senate.

    But the resolution passed and was signed by representatives from the UA College Republicans and UA Young Democrats.

    The resolution states that the United States must support and honor democratic institutions and the spread of democracy. “”We value freedom, human rights and security for all people,”” the resolution reads.

    The UA isn’t the only university supporting such a resolution – ASU, Brandeis University, Cornell University, Michigan State University, Princeton University, the University of California-San Diego, the University of California-Santa Barbara and the University of Oregon have all passed similar resolutions through their student governments, said Jacob Reuben, a senior majoring in business economics and entrepreneurship who helped draft the document.

    While Sen. Matthew Boepple said he wasn’t against what the resolution stood for, he said student leaders would be overstepping their bounds by supporting the Iranian resolution and should rather be focused on issues of “”higher education”” such as tuition and textbook costs.

    “”We as senators shouldn’t be taking on stances involving international politics,”” said Boepple, a political science sophomore, adding he didn’t see enough support from students on either side of the issue. “”We weren’t elected for this.””

    Sen. Ashley Eden, who worked alongside Reuben and political science senior Eric Werner to develop the resolution, disagreed. They said the issue directly concerns students because of the significant number of international students at the UA.

    “”We’re elected by our peers to represent them, and if they feel strongly about an issue, then it’s our duty to step up and support it,”” said Eden, a health and human services administration senior. “”(Passing the resolution) doesn’t hurt anyone if its impact is something positive.””

    In order to get a more personal perspective on the issue, Eden said she attended an American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference last week along with 120 other student leaders representing campuses across the country.

    After hearing remarks from Vice President Dick Cheney and state senators condemning Iran’s actions, Eden said she left with a stronger passion for the issue. The knowledge motivated her to push the resolution and better gauge student interest on the matter.

    “”If I didn’t see such strong support, then I wouldn’t have been as passionate on the issue,”” she said.

    Werner said civic engagement of issues like the Iranian resolution is important because many college students care about political issues.

    “”Will this issue go away? No,”” Werner said. “”But hopefully this issue will remain on the minds of students and foreign policy makers.””

    Calling the resolution ceremonial and a statement of support, Reuben admitted that the resolution will have little impact at the UA, but said support of such global issues is important for students because it brings awareness to how student governments are representing students.

    “”This is a world issue that the U.N. is now taking on,”” Reuben said. “”To have senators simply not support resolutions because they don’t contain the words ‘tuition’ or ‘university’ in them is foolish.””

    Two campus political groups came together to draft a joint statement in support of the Iranian resolution and recognized and condemned the “”unacceptable”” threat by the Iranian government.

    David Martinez, president of the UA Young Democrats, and Sean Small, president of the UA College Republicans, both signed the statement that states “”the issue of grave importance transcends partisan politics and we jointly appreciate this resolution’s effort.””

    Martinez, a secondary education junior, said the Young Democrats generally support resolutions like this, especially topics concerning the Middle East.

    “”The UA is a large campus, and students are aware that issues like these do directly affect them and their peers,”” Martinez said. “”We do have an opinion and we do care.””

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