It should be noted that the “blame” for the resolutions concerning Gaza does not fall squarely with MSA but with the students and community members who asked that these resolutions be considered and passed. While purely local concerns such as muggings and street lighting obviously need to be (and are) discussed at MSA meetings, the idea that MSA should not look beyond the boundaries of Ann Arbor to international concerns is nonsensical.
On our diverse campus, many students have been affected by the Gaza conflict, and their concerns should certainly not be ignored. Richard Kallus and Jeremy Borovitz wrote in last Wednesday’s Letter to the Editor (MSA should spend time on more relevant issues, 01/21/2009). “We realize the situation in Gaza and Israel affects students on this campus emotionally and that many have family and friends in the region, but MSA representatives were elected to deal with campus issues, not international ones.” But it is contradictory to admit that the issue affects many members of our campus and then to say that it must not be a campus issue.
My mind is boggled by the idea that after students stood before the assembly directly and stated the impact that the Gaza conflict has had on them and asked for MSA to take some action, several MSA representatives were still somehow able to assert that the issue was not a student concern and that they should be discussing things like lighting and Dance Marathon instead. What, then, is the definition of a “student concern”? Should MSA only be permitted to address issues that don’t extend beyond the borders of Ann Arbor, no matter how students might be affected by it? We should realize that the word “international” implies “broad in scope” as opposed to “out of our scope” and that the more our students are affected by an issue, the more — not less — MSA should do to support them and address that issue.