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Open Letter to the UCB Campus Community From the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition

by bstw (reposted)
April 18, 2005
A battle is brewing on UC Berkeley's campus – a battle over student
voice and student rights – and we believe that this is an issue that
all members of the campus should be concerned about.

On April 21st, UC Berkeley has invited the Marines to take part in a
career fair at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union.

Members of the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition plan on being at the
career fair to protest the presence of military recruiters, not only
because they continue to uphold a discriminatory hiring policy
against gays and lesbians ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell"), but also because
they are recruiting for an unjust and illegal military occupation of

If this were all there were to the situation, we suspect that many
people at UC Berkeley might even ignore this protest as a regular
occurrence by campus radicals.

But a few weeks ago, the Associated Students of the University of
California (ASUC) passed a resolution (SB 107) that prohibits the use
of Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union (which is the property of
the ASUC) by military recruiters. Furthermore, last November the
Third Circuit Court ruled in FAIR v. Rumsfeld that universities and
colleges can legally bar military recruiters from their campuses
because they discriminate against gays and lesbians.

It is our understanding that UC Berkeley administrators intend to
ignore the ASUC resolution and that an unsympathetic ASUC executive
does not intend to enforce that resolution.

If student voice is to count for anything, the resolutions of the
student government must be taken seriously by members of the
administration and the ASUC executive.

As a consequence, we appeal to all members of the UC Berkeley
community to join us in our protest. We hope to march into the
career fair and peacefully escort the military recruiters out. We
plan to be non-violent and organized. But we suspect that the
Marines and the university will not be compliant and that the police
will protect the rights of the military and not those of the student

The only way that we can ensure that a student voice is respected is
to show up in numbers to the career fair and demand that the
University of California uphold its commitments to its students:
first, by enforcing its own anti-discrimination policies, and second,
by respecting the decision of the ASUC.

We do not deny that as anti-war activists we have an agenda aimed at
stopping the occupation of Iraq. But we also do not believe that the
war in Iraq and what happens on this campus are disconnected

In the 1960s, Berkeley was a beacon for student activists across the
country because it took a moral stand when others were unwilling. It
is time for that Berkeley to rise again.

Berkeley Stop the War Coalition
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