Thursday, March 02, 2006

UW Senate Minutes 2-21-2006

Bearing in mind the disclaimer provided by the UW Senate that unless quotations are used, the minutes are to be considered a summary and paraphrase of the session, not a verbatim account of the proceedings, here is a brief highlight of last weeks minutes.

The Letter from The Military Community of the University of Washington is a MUST read.

My comments are noted in italics:

Minutes
February 21, 2006
5:00PM HUB 310
Respectfully submitted by Senate Secretary Travis McCoy

(skip to session III for one military related issue)

III. Public Forum Dr. Nancy Rusty Barcelo, Vice President for Minority Affairs

Dr. Barcelo said she has been working on all three campuses with issues
regarding diversity.
....
Andrew Everett said the number of officers in training programs have been dropping for several years. He asked what was being done to address that issue.

Dr. Barcelo said she grew up in the US Air Force and that she had just finished a meeting with ROTC, so she was personally concerned with that issue. She said she would look into the issue more fully.

Encouraging

V. Committee Reports

Faculty And Administrative Affairs - The committee had no legislation to consider
Academic Affairs - The committee discussed ASUW coverage in the news
Publicity and Outreach - The committee discussed ASUW press coverage

I wonder if they mentioned me?

Membership - The committee discussed R-12-24 tabled it indefinitely

Note: This is the Jill Edwards apology resolution.

Campus Affairs - The committee discussed R-12-23 and passed favorably
Off Campus Affairs - The committee brainstormed places to advertise the
commuter forum
General Affairs - The committee considered R-12-22 and it passed with a
unanimous favorable recommendation

This is the committee that has the Resolution for the MOH Awardees, but I don't know if it had been referred to them last week or not.

Alex Kim said he was excited to see so many people interested in Senate.

He welcomed Dan Byron, a Cadet and member of the ROTC committee.

Dan Byron said the UW has been receiving a lot of criticism it didn't deserve.

He presented a letter from the military community on campus.

Student Senate,

Of the many student organizations on campus, the military community often holds a negative image. The various Reserve Officer Training Corp programs are frequently criticized by some as producing trained killers. Yet these programs are designed with considerable effort to produce leaders of integrity, courage and dedication.

The individuals thats come out of ROTC are some of the brightest leaders our nation is capable of producing. They are exactly the sort of people the UW should strive to
produce.

The military community does not desire parades, monuments or banners. We do our jobs not for thanks nor praise. We do our duty because we believe we serve a purpose greater than ourselves. However, we resent the fact that some members of the student government would liken us to criminals or murderers. It is true that the profession of arms is a violent one. But as a professional military, our services put an unbelievable amount of effort to accomplish the mission with as little damage and loss of life as possible. The world is still a violent place and the only thing that keeps violence off of our doorstep, is that other men and women stand ready to absorb that violence.

Soldiers are not responsible for making policy. We are assigned missions by the duly appointed civilian leadership, one not unlike the concept of the student senate. Like the American public we each have our own political opinions and beliefs. The ideas and politics of each person in uniform is as diverse as can be found anywhere on campus. Yet we all share one commonly parroted ideal; that freedom of thought and liberty are divine rights to be enjoyed by all humankind.

To this day there are millions of people who live under the weight of oppression. Few people around the world enjoy the same security, luxury and freedoms that are so openly taken for granted in our nation. Gregory Boyington and men like him literally bled to protect liberty from a growing oppressive empire. Many before him, many of his peers, and many future graduates from his Alma Mater have, and will continue to pay the price of liberty with their own blood.

So easy is it to condemn and criticize others. And so easy is it to give way to ignorance and preconceived notions. We are all guilty of it, all of us. While it is not uncommon, it is also not fair that some confuse the necessity of violence with murder or fascism. No American warrior fights solely for his appointed Commander in Chief. No American warrior fights for oil. Americans take up arms not to force their choices on others, but to give and protect the liberty of choice.

Despite all the criticism and the apparent negative feelings of all involved parties, we are PROUD to be members of the University community. The UW may not always support the military community, but we strongly support the University of Washington.

The UW is and will continue to be a main center of academic achievement, as well as a diverse community of politics and ideas. We firmly support the University of Washington because great minds do not think alike. Great minds think for themselves.

With Genuine Respect,
The Military Community of the University of Washington

Nice. I guess Roadkill's "War Party" don't all use Jackboots.

Alex Kim said much of the discussion across the country is more argument than discussion.

He said he thought much of the country suffers from a wound by which human beings cannot talk to each other.

He said the sort of dialogue that takes place within Senate is critical for healing and consensus in today's crossfire democracy.

He said the last two weeks have taught him how important such dialogue is.

I believe I mentioned that in my free speech post...Skipping ahead.

X. Orders of the Day
B. Old Business

I am including this because it shows that the UW Senate does practice some very interesting debate, even if it is a bit heavy on the PC rhetoric.

R-12-20 A Resolution in Opposition to the Denial of Federal Financial Aid Based on Drug Convictions

Karl Smith, sponsor of the legislation, reviewed the resolution.

He said the act was discriminatory as drug laws in general target minorities, and withheld the ability of those without means to get an education.

Zach Tobin moved to amend the resolution to add a citation to the "whereas" clause regarding the discriminatory nature of drug policy.

Seconded. Passed without objection.

Gary Stute said he thought Karl brought up good points and that the bill prevented people from getting ahead in life.

He encouraged senators to pass the resolution.

Alex Gwozda moved to amend the first whereas clause to add the word "recent" before "drug conviction" and add "or repeated offenses" to the end of the clause. His motion also added a second "whereas" clause stating "WHEREAS, specifically, possession of a controlled substance disqualifies a student from receiving financial aid for one year after the 1st offense, for two years after the 2nd offense, and indefinitely after the 3rd, and additionally, delivery of a controlled substance disqualifies a student from receiving financial aid for two years after the 1st offense and indefinitely after the 2nd, and"

Seconded. Passed without objection.

Andrew Everett asked if there were any statistics from government entities regarding drug use among minorities.

Alex Kim said the National Crime Statistic Survey was one of the few sources of data on the issue.

Ashley Miller said a professor at UW, Katherine Beckett, had done research indicating drug useage and trafficking was higher among whites,but that arrests were higher among minorities.

Erin Shields asked what the purpose of the legislation was.

Karl Smith responded it was supposedly aimed at reducing drug useage among college students.

Steve Valm said he thought the act would prevent people from bettering themselves by restricting their access to higher education.

Bryce McKibben moved to remove the word "federal" from the title and add "financial" before the word "aid" in both "that" clauses.

Seconded. Objection.

Bryce McKibben said it singled out the federal level, and that students should oppose such practices at all levels.

Shawn Fisher said he agreed with the first part of the change, but that the committee added the word "federal" in the title as students were still eligible for state based aid.

Travis Grandy moved to close debate. Seconded. Objection.

The motion passed. Debate was closed on the amendment.

Travis Grandy moved to divide the question. Seconded. Passed without objection.

The first part of the amendment failed. The second part of the amendment passed.

Shawn Fisher said he hoped the resolution was passed unanimously as UW students needed to stand up for their fellow peers.

Jerome McCuin said he had noticed that every four years, the convictions on drug convictions increase. He said that drug convictions are not all the same, as some are prosecuted differently than others. He said the new law undoes what the original financial aid act did by balancing access to education in society.

Nathan Bedle asked how many students would be affected.

Jerome McCuin responded that in 2001, 9,000 applicants lost their aid, and that 836,000 left that specific question blank on the application.

Nathan Bedle said he thought the "whereas" clause regarding the use of possessing small amounts of narcotics.

Brent Hoffsteder moved to remove the "whereas" clause regarding
discrimination.

Seconded. Objection.

He said he thought it was an issue about people's personal choices, and not an issue of race. He said he didn't think it appropriate to include racial issues as grounds on which to oppose the policy.

Karl Smith said he thought it was an appropriate thing to mention in the resolution.

Jerome McCuin moved to close debate. Seconded. Objection.

The motion passed. The amendment failed.

Karl Smith highlighted the second "that" clause on the resolution and said the ACLU is looking for a student who has been denied aid.

Sam Al-Khoury moved to close debate. Seconded. Objection.

The motion passed.
The resolution passed

End of quoted minutes

So, as I noted in my free speech blog, they debate, they dissent, they discuss and debate more until one side prevails.

What happened in the blogsphere and radio shows is merely an extension of that concept.