ASPSU senate adjourns for 2002-03

At the ASPSU senate’s last meeting yesterday before the new staff takes over, senators became agitated over the proposal to send a letter of support to U.S. troops fighting in Iraq.

The letter was drafted by Senators Joe Johnson and Michael-Sean Kelley and was presented at last week’s senate meeting.

Johnson and Kelley both emphasized the letter was only in support of the troops, not of the war itself.

As soon as the motion was put forward, Sen. Dimitris Desyllas asked if the senate would be willing to send a letter to the people in Iraq who, he said, were being killed and left without resources.

Johnson suggested Desyllas draft such a letter and present it to the senate, just as he and Kelley did.

Sen. Christy Harper pointed out the troops fighting the war were only doing their jobs.

Senators Justice McPherson and Justin Myers agreed.

“We care and have concern for the people participating in the war,” Myers said.

Sen. Nathan Pawlicki pointed out some of the men and women fighting in Iraq are current and former PSU students.

Former senator Laura Campos stood up and responded to comments in favor of the letter.

“The Nuremberg trials established that ‘I was just following orders’ is not an acceptable excuse for genocide,” Campos said.

Some of the people present applauded this remark, but it also caused a flurry of further comments by senators.

Johnson, a member of the Air Force ROTC, said, “The troops of the United States are not like the Nazis in any way.”

After rereading the letter, Sen. Jesse Shapiro said he agreed with its message.

“I support everything the letter says,” Shapiro said, “even though I don’t agree with the war.”

He also said some soldiers joined the army so they could go to college and help pay for their families.

The letter reads: “Dear Men and Women of the Armed Forces, the Portland State University Student Senate would like to express our gratitude for the dedication and sacrifices that you are making. We hope that you all return home to your families and friends quickly and safely.”

The motion to approve the letter passed 12 to three, with one abstention.

The senate also approved Sen. Kara MacKillop’s request for $2,500 to finish the fence surrounding the south park playground.

Once the fence is completed to code it can be used as part of the daycare program at PSU.

In other business, Francene Ambrose, president of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), asked the senate to allocate $1,000 to pay for Winona LaDuke to speak at PSU on May 5, as a part of the Native American Cultural Awareness Week.

The senate unanimously approved AISES’s request.

Also, the senate made a motion to approve the by-laws for the Administrative Committee.

The by-laws were also approved unanimously.

In other news, today marks the first day for the new ASPSU staff.

At the last meeting for this group of senators yesterday, Sen. Pollyanne Birge commented that she was glad they finished an agenda.

“I think we actually did do some good things,” Birge said of the past year.

Harper, who will sit on the new senate, said she is looking forward to working with a new group of people.

Immediately after the meeting adjourned, Sen. Cassidy Blackburn said former senator Caine Lowery asked him to convey a message to the senate after their last meeting. Following this remark, Blackburn made an obscene gesture and left.