Hamdan Yousuf’s impassioned defense of the MSA resolution on the Gaza conflict (Why MSA addresses issues outside of A2, 01/26/09) demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding between Yousuf and detractors of such resolutions. Yousuf repeatedly claims that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a relevant issue to University students. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that claim. Then, after several lines of unnecessary rhetoric, he states that the University’s history of social activism and protest demands that we not be “deaf to the pleas of suffering Gazans.” Again, this was not the point being contested by detractors of MSA’s decision. The issue in contention is not the relevance of the Gaza conflict to the student body: it is the relevance of MSA, as an organization, to the conflict in the Middle East.
I have not read MSA’s resolution. No one I know has read MSA’s resolution. It will not cross the desks of Ban Ki Moon or Barack Obama. I doubt even Mary Sue Coleman will look at it. MSA is not an authority on Middle East conflicts, nor is it a moral or intellectual authority on campus or elsewhere. It is puzzling why MSA believes its mandate includes drafting resolutions on complex global conflicts. Certainly, when MSA election time rolls around, no one is campaigning on issues of social justice or global poverty. The only things that are ever promised during elections are cheaper book prices and better lighting around campus. As far as I can tell, there hasn’t been dramatic progress on either front.
So, instead of wasting time and energy with resolutions that have no real or even symbolic impact, please consider justifying the destruction of countless forests for your endless neon campaign flyers by focusing on problems which are within the scope and jurisdiction of a university student government.