Campus, News

SG solicits info from BUSI, AWC about sanctions in Iran

Members of Boston University Students for Israel and the Anti-War Coalition weighed the morality of sanctions in Iran and their relevance to students on campus in a form hosted by Student Government officials Monday night.

College of Communication senior Jack Goldberg and College of Arts and Sciences junior Luke Rebecchi participate in a discussion about sanctions on Iran Monday night. PHOTO BY KENSHIN OKUBO/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

About 20 people, including AWC and BUSI members, debated their moral standpoints on the sanctions, making their appeals to SG as it decides whether or not to take a stance on behalf of students.

“This administration is very excited to be able to facilitate conversation with student groups that historically on this campus haven’t been cooperating or haven’t been having this conversation,” said SG Executive Vice President Aditya Rudra, a School of Management junior.

On Oct. 15, the AWC requested SG take an active stance and issue a statement that BU students do not support U.S. sanctions on Iran. SG voted to create a committee to hear arguments from both sides.

AWC member Jarib Rahman, a College of Arts and Sciences senior, said the AWC is against sanctions because they are harmful to Iran.

“We believe that sanctions are a form of economic warfare,” Rahman said.

Rahman said sanctions raise prices of goods in Iran, restrict access to medicine and make trade with other nations difficult.

“That’s our basis to the opposition of the Iranian sanctions — because they are hurting the Iranian people,” he said.

Rahman said BU has in the past taken more action than AWC’s request.

“People at BU have opposed apartheid in South Africa, and have taken action way beyond what we’re asking for here, which is just for Student Government to pass a resolution,” he said.

Rahman said BU should continue its tradition of being vocal politically.

“Often, SG has taken in opposing these actions,” Rahman said. “That’s what we’re asking BU to do, just sort of continue the tradition that was there in the past of taking a stance as American citizens and opposing something they think the government shouldn’t be doing.”

BUSI Co-President Rachel DuShey said she supports the U.S. sanctions on Iran.

“I disagree with the AWC that sanctions are a form of warfare,” DuShey said. “Sanctions are a deterrent to military action.”

DuShey said sanctions on Iran are a global issue of which students should be aware.

“BU students should be educated about what’s going on,” she said. “It’s important for people to be somewhat knowledgeable about foreign politics.”

Rudra said SG aims to host a meeting again before Nov. 12 to continue the conversation.

BUSI member and College of Communication senior Jack Goldberg said sanctions should not be an issue for SG to decide.

“Every BU student should be given the chance to make a decision about this,” Goldberg said. “It should not be the decision of 40 people in a room based on some words by one person. This should be a decision that each student is educated on.”

Goldberg said he supports the use of sanctions as opposed to military action.

CAS freshman Spencer Weiss, who is not a member of BUSI or AWC, said he supports sanctions on Iran because they are precautionary measures.

“Sanctions are a necessity to avoid war,” Weiss said.

Weiss also said he is against SG endorsing a position on such a complex issue.

“I don’t think any of us can truly say, ‘I know everything about the issue,’ because who honestly can when it comes to the Middle East?” Weiss said. “So really, I’m sort of against Boston University making a stance on the issue at all.”


  1. Iran is a threat to our country, to the Middle East, and the world. There is bipartisan support for sanctioning Iran’s dangerous nuclear regime and it is critical for our national security that Iran not obtain a nuclear weapons capability.

  2. “Sanctions are a necessity to avoid war,” Weiss said. Go, Spencer!

  3. Using sanctions to avoid war is like banning all forms of birth control to lower the birth rate; it’s stupid. To support sanctions on Iran is taking a selfish, arrogant, and inhumane stance.

  4. We spent this entire meeting talking about a debate. How come the Daily Free Press devoted zero space to these discussions. I understand you (Freep) could not truthfully report on the negotiations without making one side look like dogs running away with their tails between their legs, but your job is not to represent both sides, it’s to tell truth! I am ashamed.

    Anti-War Coalition has no desire for BU Student Gov’t to vote in favor, or against sanctions in Iran. We have made this clear, time and again. What we seek from Student Gov’t is the facilitation of a debate on the matter of U.S. foreign policy (sanctions) towards Iran. Step your game up, Daily Free Press. You are not doing anyone a favor when you reduce serious negotiations concerning a potential public debate to a late night social involving students of different opinions.

    In the tradition of John Stuart Mill, democracy functions best with the active clash of opposing ideas. If education is considered paramount at Boston University, it must be Student Government’s responsibility to facilitate discussion, debate, and intellectual thought.

    With that said, if anyone is interested in participating in a public debate on Iran, e-mail me at [email protected]. Thank you.

  5. Luke,

    I am ashamed as well. Ashamed that just because the Freep didn’t write an article the way you wanted them to write it, you jump straight to accusing them of deliberate deception. I am ashamed that given a potential mistake by the Freep for which BUSI is in no way responsible, you took cheap shot at an entire student community. Calling the students who came from Hillel and BUSI to speak on their viewpoints “dogs” who are “running away with their tail between their legs” is shameful and disgusting. I am increasingly convinced that you do not really want honest debate about this, you seek a public forum for mud-slinging, as you’ve gotten here on this page today.

    Student Government HAS been facilitating discussion and debate this these past few weeks, and for once these discussions have been open, direct and moderated fairly. For once these two sides HAVE come together to have this conversation, and we ARE moving forward towards having a debate. You and I both know that students from Hillel and BUSI agreed to engage in a debate with structure and fair moderation. Your need to belittle the other side despite their agreement to defend their views is petty.

    I do not think that the truth is not as black and white or obvious as you say it is. I do agree that the debate was the main point discussed and that is not articulated clearly in this article. However, I have had the pleasure of talking to Rachel at several different Gov events she has reported on, I have seen how hard she works to get the whole story and hear voices from every viewpoint, and I am positive that she would never deliberately deliver a biased or inaccurate article.

    Also, you are incorrect in stating that the AWC has repeatedly stated they do not want the SG to vote in favor or against the sanctions. This may be your viewpoint, but that does not mean that no one else in this conversation is interested in seeing a final vote take place. Take for example Jarib, who is quoted: “Often, SG has taken in opposing these actions,” Rahman said. “That’s what we’re asking BU to do, just sort of continue the tradition that was there in the past of taking a stance as American citizens and opposing something they think the government shouldn’t be doing.” I myself have had conversations with various members about the benefits and risks of pushing the a final resolution on the issue, and it was communicated to me that they did feel it was important part of this process.

    Luke, since you serve as Assistant Director for Social Affairs for Student Government that responsibility to “facilitate discussion, debate, and intellectual thought” falls equally on your shoulders as it does on mine. We both have important roles on this campus to help students learn to respect one another and engage in an open exchange of ideas. I feel very strongly that your comment is contrary to those values and is the very sort of thing that discourages people from sitting down with one another and engaging in the conversations that are crucial to have on this campus. Keep in mind that your views on this issue have never been the problem, but your attitude has.

    It is both amusing and saddening that you would engage in this behavior and then ask why no one on the other side wants to take you up on a debate.


  6. Aditya,

    We were both at this meeting. We both know that the discussion was focused on a potential debate. That is what we talked about, almost exclusively. That that did not make it into this article very much frustrates me. AWC and BUSI do not need a quasi-private discussion on their ‘differences’. That is not why AWC came to Student Government. As I understand, they sought and continue to seek a broader campus discussion on the effects of sanctions on the Iranian people. They came to Student Government requesting just that. Their resolution also included a position on the sanctions for SG to take, but to do so at an indefinite time in the future.

    My comment is about the Freep. A fair article includes discussion of a AWC-BUSI debate, and discussion of the Great Debate idea. I trust the BU student body to decide who was hesitant if that information was made public, and I never assumed it to be BUSI. Nowhere did I belittle BUSI or AWC.

    I am very upset however with this article, because it reduces negotiations to nothing.

    And lastly, I have no intent to debate whatsoever. I do seek to push two parties who disagree privately on a issue of great importance to do so before the BU student body.