On Wednesday September 12th SJP put through three motions at a student forum against the Auckland University Student Association president Arena William’s trip to Israel. The motions were all passed at the student forum and subsequently accepted and approved by the AUSA executive the following week after the forum. Arena Williams was officially censured and instructed to apologize for the offense she had caused to students. This sent a clear and direct message to the greater student body. AUSA is now in the process of putting together a consultation process in regards to anything in relation to Israel/Palestine on campus, in light of our motions, and in order to make sure all stakeholders are informed beforehand.
The motions are as follows:
- That AUSA censure President Arena Williams for failing to consult with students with regards to her trip to Israel, a previously declared highly contentious issue.
- That AUSA instruct President Arena Williams to apologize in writing for the offense she has caused to students due to her trip to Israel.
- That future AUSA Presidents consult the student body with regards to future foreign policy stances and trips to other countries which are deemed by AUSA as a ‘contentious issue’.
These were the principles and responsibilities that were vindicated at the forum. The latter sent a clear message that most students, those of us who actually participate in public debate and discussion and who are ready to make a moral and political stand, were not satisfied to sit by and allow an unresponsive leadership to do as it pleases. We made it clear that solidarity and critical thinking still holds sway at the University of Auckland. We are the students who have been thinking, organising, and fighting for years. We are the students who see education and the university not as some commodity that is only worth what we pay for it, but as a basic and moral necessity. We are the students who see colonialism and capitalism not as some innocuous and regrettable, yet ultimately acceptable, accidents of history, but as reprehensible and inexcusable monstrosities that must be fought and destroyed by any means necessary.
We suffer no illusions. The wretched of the earth, from those in Gaza to those in Harlem, from those in Kabul to those in the East End, will enjoy no reprieve or respite from our efforts. However, we also suffer no apathy. We do not wage our struggles for what we may achieve, nor do we fight for benefit or gain. We do so because it is our unconditional and unrequited responsibility. To those who foolishly believe that the many occasions of protest were simply displays of stubborn petulance, who think that we will simply tire away under their tirade of discouragement and doubt-mongering, who think that we will simply follow their lead and abandon any sense of justice and moral sensibility: think again. We will continue in the struggle against ignorance, apathy, and authority. We will continue to agitate, disrupt, and intervene. We will continue to fight and resist; to fight and persist.