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U of Texas Students Adopt Resolution Opposing War

After hours of debate, student assembly votes against use of force in Iraq by tight Bush's home town.
Student Government passed a resolution Tuesday condemning any attack on Iraq by the Bush administration after a heated debate and a narrow vote.

The assembly of hundreds roared as the 20-17 vote was read by Vice President Stacey Kounelias.

"This makes the statement that the student body of the nation's largest university and in Bush's hometown feels that an unprovoked war is wrong," said SG two-year at-large Representative Jordan Buckley, author of the resolution and a key mediator in the evening's debate.

The anti-war resolution, thought by most representatives to stand little chance of passing, condemns Saddam Hussein but opposes any pre-emptive attack against Iraq.

The bitter debate fought not only the resolution, but the assembly's right to vote on a resolution at all.

"For those of you who feel it is inappropriate to debate foreign policy within the Student Government institution, please realize that it is more inappropriate that people die at the hands of the United States," said Amber Novak, a journalism graduate student.

The vote set a precedent for the assembly, said Buckley, who rallied support until minutes before the meeting's start.

Ben Durham, a liberal arts representative, said supporting a preemptive strike against the Iraqi people directly involved the University. Durham cited the U.S. Energy Department's Academic Strategic Alliances Program, which involves universities, he said, in the production and research of weapons of mass destruction.

Advocates for the resolution argued that the United States has supported Saddam previously, and a hunger for control of the world's oil supply weighed heavily in its push for war.

Representatives would be held accountable for their vote, said Andrew Dobbs, a communication studies freshman.

"We will make sure that whoever votes against this resolution will be out of this room next year," Dobbs said.

Opposition rebuked the credibility of the resolution's declarations and its authors. The Young Conser-vatives of Texas vehemently objected to any variation from the congressional package passed last week and became irate at claims that Bush mongers terrorism.

"It's a dark day for the diverse views that constitute this university," religious studies sophomore Austin Kinghorn said. "I thank the members that opposed this."

SG President Katie King, who under procedure, could not vote on the issue, yielded her chance to speak to Charles Ganske of the H.L. Menken Society, a conservative campus group.

Ganske said his father, a veteran of two wars, performed a necessary duty for his country. Ganske responded to questions of conscience of soldiers who kill in conflict, saying the defense of U.S. freedoms could justify such actions.

The resolution also condemned any racial backlash against persons of Middle Eastern decent that might come as a result of war.

Some representatives and the Young Conservatives of Texas said a different resolution could be seen in the assembly soon. Tuesday's proposal spawned numerous questions of documentation and diction.

Students on both sides of the issue praised the assembly for facilitating the open debate on such a pertinent issue.

"The point is we're debating the issue," Durham said.

Proponents of the resolution mobbed Buckley upon the result - the culmination of the four-hour debate. Buckley said the entire situation was a draining experience and a positive step for the peace movement and for challenging the U.S. government's rush for war.

"I'm overwhelmed," Buckley said. "This is unbelievable."



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