War vote emotional, divided

In a close vote that culminated with tears, the Associated Students Governmental Affairs Committee on Feb. 25 passed a resolution opposing a war with Iraq, unless it’s the absolute last resort.

During discussion of the resolution, speakers were divided on whether or not to support it, with opponents’ concerns ranging from a desire for more information to a reluctance to call President Bush a liar.

“There’s a lot of weak logic in this resolution,” said Amy Flynn, the A.S. public relations coordinator, who cannot vote due to the way the committee is set up. She said that people would perceive a GAC vote as representing the opinions of all students. “I don’t understand why we’re taking this very extreme stance.”

“This is not a complete anti-war stance,” said Mario Sagastume, the GAC officer who brought the resolution to the table. “Democracy requires that you make a decision and do something about it. I don’t want to send my little brother to war.”

Ultimately, the resolution passed 4-3. Sagastume, Eleni Theodorou, Jason Duda and Faye Roepcke were in favor. Opposed were Monica Chesini, Bobby Armstrong and Jimmy Reed. Before voting, Reed, the A.S. president, said that he feels “fairly informed” on the issue of Iraq and would not support any resolution that is anti-war since, “for the most part, I trust our government.”

Although the filing deadline is a month away, Roepcke has acknowledged she plans to run for A.S. president, and GAC chair Michael Dailey is expected to be her opponent. Dailey votes at meetings only if there’s a tie. But said later he opposes the resolution. In the 1970s, then-A.S. leaders Michael McGinnis and Jane Dolan took progressive stances during war time and were blasted for it later in their political careers.

Following impassioned words by students who pointed out that the death of civilians, including children, would certainly result from a U.S. decision to go to war, some students began crying with emotion. The resolution states that GAC supports U.S. and allied troops.