Since April 16, our campus has been caught up in a heated discussion centered around the Student Senate’s decision to adopt the following amendment to a general motion on changes in their by-laws:

Student Activities Funds shall not be used to make a payment on goods or services from any corporation or organization associated with the unethical occupation of Palestinian territories. Products include those products from corporations and organizations as delineated in the boycott list maintained by

Having the debate and vote on as highly divisive a subject as this during a period of religious observance (Easter and Passover) had the effect of excluding important student voices from the conversation. This is not consistent with our core value of ensuring that all voices are heard.

On this past Sunday, April 23, the Student Senate returned to this issue and it appears that there will be a review of the original motion. This is a promising development, as it will enable all voices to be heard and all viewpoints to be considered. I remind all that Pitzer College is committed to engaging each other with our commitment to the values of “community, diversity and dialogue” in mind. Everyone should be treated with “dignity and honor.”

Our responsibility in civil and thoughtful debate is to be able to speak so that we can be heard, and the responsibility to listen to others, whether we agree or not. Even though this discussion will be difficult, by committing to our core values it will enable dialogue that respects differences, informs and educates rather than incites and antagonizes, and lead to decisions that truly reflect the hard work and effort that is required to arrive at mutual understandings.

Melvin L. Oliver