April 17, 2007
SGA Shows Support for Tent City with Resolution
By MICHAEL HAULENBEEK, The Vermont Cynic
In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, April 10, SGA passed a resolution in support of freedom of speech on campus and the Tent City for Livable Wages demonstration outside Royall Tyler Theatre.
Sam Maron, Chair of the Student Action Committee, introduced the resolution. Maron is also Co-President of Students for Peace & Global Justice (SPGJ), which organized Tent City.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Maron said he was introducing the resolution in response to a considerable delay in the permitting process for Tent City by the university’s administration.
“There has been a lot of resistance and dragging of the feet,” he told the senate. “It seems like the administration doesn’t want us there.”
According to Maron, SPGJ waited more than four weeks for a definitive response from the administration regarding a permit for Tent City.
10 senators co-signed the resolution, which says that the freedoms of speech, expression, and dissent “are being eroded at the University of Vermont.”
Furthermore, the resolution states that SGA supports the Tent City for Livable Wages, and that “the UVM Administration should implement the permitting process for symbolic structures in a fair and expedited manner regardless of the content of the demonstration.”
Several senators declared their approval of Maron’s resolution and SPGJ’s Tent City.
“I love the Tent City,” Seth Corthell, a co-signer of the resolution said. “I think it’s a great display of student activism.”
“The university should look at the demonstration and the support it has gathered, and maybe reopen the conversation for livable wages,” Corthell continued.
Kaitie Conrad commended Maron and SPGJ’s dedication to the issue.
According to Maron, SPGJ’s permit allows them to remain in front of Royall Tyler Theatre until Saturday, April 14. Maron said that the Provost threatened expulsion, imprisonment, and a fine for overstaying the permit during last year’s Tent City.
According to Maron, SGA has supported similar resolutions in the past. In 2005, SGA passed a bill in support of a Basic Needs Budget, which stated, “All UVM workers are entitled to compensation that meets their basic needs.”
SPGJ hopes the passing of the recent resolution will put pressure on the administration to expedite permitting processes in the future, and ultimately help to reopen the discussion regarding livable wages for UVM workers.
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