Campus, News

AWC, BUSI offer opposing views on sanctions in Iran

After Boston University’s Anti-War Coalition requested Student Government take an active stance on the issue of U.S. sanctions in Iran Oct. 15, selected Senate members are getting more informed on the matter to report back to Senate with their findings, SG officials said.

“I believe the Student Government should be representing any of the means and concerns students have,” said Dexter McCoy, SG president. “But when we’re dealing with things like this, we have to look at all sides of BU students and deal with the presentation as well.”

After AWC brought up the issue, students from the BU Branch of American Israeli Public Affairs Committee and BU Students for Israel delivered a presentation with other factors for senators to consider on this topic, McCoy, a College of Communication junior, said.

“I think we should look at all sides, but I do believe that if students want to take political action, Student Government should be behind it all the way,” he said.

AWC has drafted a resolution for SG that aims to raise awareness about the negative effects they believe the U.S. and European Union sanctions in Iran are having and ultimately educate the public on global issues, said AWC President Tyler Cullis.

“People are generally apathetic toward on-campus events, particularly toward Iran,” said Kareem Chehayeb, AWC secretary. “It’s important that we change the political discourse on campus because we see what has happened in the past like with Iraq and the Palestinians, and we have to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Though the official proposal to SG has not yet been made, the resolution calls upon SG to take a stand on the sanctions in Iran, Cullis, a School of Law student, said. It calls for an end to the U.S. led sanctions in Iran, U.S. negotiations with Iran and a hope the U.S. will pressure Israel to agreements with Iran.

“People aren’t aware of how bad these sanctions are because there seems to be a relatively positive connotation on sanctions,” Chehayeb, a College of Arts and Sciences senior, said.

The resolution also calls for SG to initiate and support programs that will inform the student body of the sanctions’ effect on civilians in Iran and elsewhere.

“There is a lot of education, I think, that needs to happen within the senators and student government themselves before they can make an informed decision, so we asked them not to consider the resolution quite yet,” Cullis said.

Cullis said AWC asked SG to send five representatives from the Senate to its next meeting and report back before they see what the next step will be.

BU Students for Israel brought up an opposing view and asked that representatives from the SG also attend their next meeting Tuesday to learn more about the larger issues.

“The BU Students for Israel stands against the resolution to oppose sanctions on Iran,” said Leora Kaufman, president of BUSI.

Passing a resolution that opposes U.S. and EU actions is an important decision, the implications of which should be understood, she said.

“The group has a single resolution they are trying to push, that focuses on one facet of a very large and complicated world issue,” said Rachel DuShey, a COM junior who is part of BUSI, in an email interview. “It is not at all a black-and-white issue. They went to the BU Senate with the intent to pass a resolution that day and take advantage of students who were not yet educated about the issues.”

BUSI wants to take a stance on the resolution because if SG takes action on the issue, they will be representing the entire student body, Kaufman, a CAS and COM junior said.

“Students for Israel wants to ensure the safety and continuity of the state of Israel — unfortunately, its safety could be in the hands of a leader, Ahmadinejad, who is committed to its destruction,” Kaufman said.

Chehayeb said if the resolution is passed, AWC wants to spread it to other student governments around Boston.

“Because the BU Student Government has a good history of taking a positive political stance, such as being against the apartheid movement in South Africa, so it’s appropriate for them to do the same thing with Iran’s sanctions as well,” he said.

One Comment

  1. Students for Israel claims that “They [Anti-War Coalition] went to the BU Senate with the intent to pass a resolution that day and take advantage of students who were not yet educated about the issues.”

    We precisely did the opposite – we postponed the resolution so that there could be people coming to our event on Friday (we actually asked student government to pass a resolution saying that 5 people from SG would be sent), so that we could have a debate, so that there could be a gradual process in which “the Boston University Student Government [would promise] to initiate and support programs that aim at educating the Boston University community of the ill effects of blanket economic sanctions on civilian populations, including lectures, discussion groups, debates, etc.” (from the resolution) – unlike the BUSI representatives agreeing with a senator who brought up that the BU student population will have little effect on any of this, and that the issue itself is not too relevant for BU students.