students standing with sign in support of Gaza
Students prepare to walk in protest for Gaza | Alexander Novoa

CPP’s ASI passes Ceasefire Resolution

By Reyes Navarrete and Christian Park-Gastelum, May 14, 2024

Cal Poly Pomona’s Associated Student Incorporated passed a ceasefire resolution during the Board of Directors meeting held over Zoom May 9, amid students’ push for ASI to issue a statement regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The ceasefire resolution calls for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip also recognizing there is currently a genocide of the Palestinian people. ASI’s Ceasefire Resolution also explicitly supports the rights of freedom of speech and right to a sense of safety and belonging on and off campus.

The amended resolution was authored by Business Senator Wendy Obispo and College of Education and Integrative Studies Senator Lorelei Claxton, and was modeled after the California State Student Association Ceasefire Resolution. 

According to Claxton, originally the ceasefire resolution was authored by the former ASI attorney general but resulted in no action because of a split vote. The resolution was sent back to the rules and policies committee to be revised and re-addressed to the board for another vote. 

Senators during the May 7 Board of Directors meeting debated whether the actions to craft a ceasefire resolution was in the interest of their respective constituency and considerations for the language in the resolution.

students walking in protest
CPP students during a protest on May 6 on their way to the BSC.| Alexander Novoa

The updated resolution passed with a majority  of nine present senators voting yes, and three voting no. ASI President Ilke Suzer and Vice President Naman Pandadiya were absent during the May 9 meeting.

“We definitely see it as a win for students,” Obispo said. “Definitely a step toward the right direction, obviously there’s still a long way to go, but hopefully this small step could lead to a change that needs to happen.”

During the May 2 Board of Directors meeting, a draft of the resolution was presented before the board, but Suzer opposed the updated version. According to Suzer, the original resolution, prior to the May 2 meeting, had extensive research gathered from local reps, faculty, admin and perspectives from various people.

“Last meeting was a huge shock because there was a large turnaround, putting a whole years’ work and then changing a lot last minute without much time for research,” Suzer said during the May 2 BOD meeting. “I am not comfortable signing on for this.”

The word “genocide” was a point of contention as some senators felt as though the language was not appropriate since the International Court of Justice had not officially ruled whether Israel’s actions against the Palestinian people could be defined as a such. 

In a statement during the meeting from Senator-At-Large for the Greek Council Anissa Patel, she referred to how the Armenian Genocide, which took place in 1919 to 1920, was not officially recognized as a genocide by a Turkish humanitarian organization until 2006.

“Just to explain to the senators that are a little bit confused by the verbiage, it takes a long time to see the effects of a genocide, and so there isn’t technically any harm in calling it a genocide because it probably won’t be recognized for many, many years even if its deemed that way,” Patel said.

Students came to both meetings to voice their perspectives on the ASI Ceasefire Resolution. In addition to those who attended, several students asked Agriculture Senator Jazmyn Mendoza-Rios to speak on their behalf.

student protesters inside the BSC
Pro-Palestine protesters inside the BSC during an ASI Meeting | Alexander Novoa

e“Please use your voice and vote on the BOD to call for an end to the violence, to call these actions for what they are,” agriculture student Allison Wong said in a written statement, read by Mendoza-Rios. “Please do not soften your language on the violence being faced by millions of people.” 

The May 9 meeting was set to be the last BOD meeting of the academic year, with yet another meeting voting on and adopting to discuss the continued absence of Pandadiya.

Having the ASI president and vice president present during BOD meetings offer needed perspectives from their positions, according to Claxton. 

Pandadiya has been absent without proper notice the last two meetings, leaving several senators prompting discussion for his resignation.

“We’ve been missing the vice president and chair board of director for weeks now, without any transparency or any communication on his behalf, nor from our ASI staff,” said Senator-at-Large, Student Interest Council Megan Shadrick. “His role includes clarifying and communicating what is discussed during BOD meetings, including student input and opinion on each items in which he has failed to do. For someone who has given strict deadlines and expectations in the past, I find it extremely hypocritical for him to have essentially disappeared during the most intense period of our term.”

The BOD members receive scholarships from student tuition and receive their last installment during graduation week. May 31 ends the term for the board members, spurring swift action. 

If Pandadiya is removed from office, he will not receive the last of his scholarship installment for being a board member. The extended ASI BOD meeting to discuss Naman’s status will be held May 16 via Zoom.

Feature Image courtesy of Alexander Novoa 

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