WAFA AND DACA DECERTIFIED AT PSU WHILE ASPSU PARTIES ON
Wafa Sohan, a Palestinian activist and PSU student, along with his Disabilities Student Union (currently known as DACA) were decertified as a group by PSU SALP this week. Johnathan Sanford, Iraq War vet and pro-IMF advocate and ASPSU student body president, parties on with nearly $400,000 in student fee monies, with three weeks left in the quarter.
At Portland State, SALP, Student Activities Leadership Program (once known simply as Educational Activities, and known derisively by the PSU Left as Student Leadership Activities Police, or SLAP) this week de-certified (and defunded) DACA, or the Disabled Student Union. Wafa Sohan, a Palestinian activist on campus and in the community, and a PSU student, had his job at DACA cut as part of this move.
SALP's ongoing attacks on the Left at Portland State are infamous, but unknown mostly off campus (although Amanda Fritz was interested in this process when PSU Progressive Student Union talked to her for half an hour, and Portland Alliance published a long critique of SALP in fall of 2009).
Groups that have been decertified, defunded or both by SALP include: PSU Progressive Student Union, DACA, PSU College Democrats, PSU Green Party, PSU Socailist Party, Students United for Nonviolence, Concerned Students of PSU, PSU OSPIRG, etc. This year, Students for Unity was targeted for de-certification, but barely survived. Both PASO and Community Development Student Group say that SALP (Marie, the 'political group advisor' and Amy, the SALP boss) -- both groups say that SALP is notorius for trashing activist Left students and groups on campus.
Rationales are completely lied about, made up and falsified for these political purges. In Wafa and DACA's case, improper paperwork procedures and improper student group status, apparently, were cited as alleged reasons for making DACA no longer a campus group -- and therefore not eligible for office space, scheduling meetings, paying student staff -- out of what is now a $14,000,000 student fee fund each year (mostly, this goes to sports, $4,000,000, and SLAP itself, $1,000,000, along with the right-wing student government, ASPSU, $400,000, right wing papers Vanguard, $200,000 and Spectator, $30,000, and neoliberal paper (which Progressive Student Union started in Iraq War I, when Rearguard was an activist Left zine) Rearguard, $30,000).
ASPSU PARTIES ON
Student government, the preferred handmaiden to SALP and PSU University President Wim Wievel (who makes $350,000 per year, and has refused to meet for a year with Progressive Student Union activist organizers over the Coke Boycott, Tenant Rigths Project, Transit Riders Union and other issues) -- ASPSU has a right-wing, pro-war, Iraq War vet pro-IMF student body president, Johnathan Sanford, finishing out his last few weeks in that office, after a year of (according to a Vanguard blurb) coming in to the office a couple times a week, hungover, yelling and screaming at other students, etc.
More importantly, Sanford hired as his Exec. Asst., a student who used to be a sniper for the Israeli Defense Force, Zack Bucharest. Bucharest was outed by a 25-year tenured Economics teacher in class, winter term (Tony Hall), for allegedly trying to get students on the Left to commit illegal acts -- ie, being an agent provacateur. Wievel, the University president, shut down that Economics class, put the teacher on suspension (to this day), and a university committee "investigated" Zack Bucharet, and in recent weeks, "exonerated" Bucharest of all charges.
Perhaps interestingly (certainly normal for ASPSU), in the recent student body elections, only 700 of 25,000 PSU students voted -- this is absolutely by design by the campus three kneejerk papers, Vanguard, Spectator and (unfortunately) Rearguard, as well as by SLAP and the PSU Administration: PSU doesn't want activist students, even disabled ones, able to mount campaigns, schedule film programs, organize campus-targeted projects, etc. Against the wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), against the new Coke contract (Wievel replaced Pepsi with Coke on campus), etc.
Also, when Bucharest was "cleared" of bringing guns to school, being an FBI informant, being an agent provacateur (he reportedly was also an Army vet in Iraq War with dual US-Isreali citizneship), ISO member and another paid ASPSU staff member, Tasha Triplett, organized a t-shirt photo op in the Vanguard in support of Zach Bucharest, where a number of ASPSUites all wore Chris Humphries style t-shirts which read, "I am Zack Bucharest" to show solidarity with IDF? Guns? Right wing campus politics? SLAP repression of Left student groups? Etc.
In May, in addition, both Bucharest himself quit ASPSU (enough damage done during the year, on the student government payroll?) and Tasha Triplett also quit or was fired by Sanford -- although Triplett reportedly is still being paid, even though she is not in the ASPSU office working, currently.
In short, campus politics at PSU (and this has been true for years, not just this school year) resemble Mugable's Zimbabwe, not a public college in a blue city in a blue state.
To cite a few older examples, SALP and right wing campus media tend to target the Left on campus, in many ways. Wafa, for example, was previously trashed by the now neoliberal rag, Rearguard (all three campus papers endorsed the pro-Iraq War student body president candidate, Sanford, who won against two other slates, a year ago): Rearguard trashed Wafa for alleged 'fake spitting' on a pro-Israeli speaker -- but the article failed to note that Wafa was shot by Isreali forces and is in a wheelchair now (hence, Wafa's job with the now decertified/defunded DACA, or Disabled Student Union).
The previous student body president, Hannah Fisher, appeared at the 2009 AIPAC dinner at Mittleman Community Center, had a poster in her window which read, "You had me at Shalom" and physically threatened pro-labor Coke Boycott organizers with arrest via SLAP and campus security when organizers sought to have the now-paid (formerly all volunteer) student senate reendorse the Coke Boycott for labor rights in Colombia. Fisher also threatened to take away a program volunteer hosted by a KPSU programmer if that host went ahead to have a program with organizer from Tenant Rights Project talk about local "non"profit slumlord, Central City Concern. The guests were cancelled, and the KPSU host got to stay on the air -- so far.
Moreover, in a previous incarnation, SALP, utilizing the forum of the PSU Vanguard (mostly the campus sports paper, at $200,000 per year) attacked PSU Progressive Student Union, our newly-funded paper, PSU Agitator (since defunded, after a 2 year struggle to get it funded on a 6 to 1 vote by the Student Fee Committee), by "decertifying" PSU Progressive Student Union -- like DACA was this month at PSU.
In The Agitator's case, the two page article trashing Progressive Student Union in the Vanguard never mentioned that the extra large photo of the Agitator Editor (that would be me) was even editor of that paper, and that on the day the attack article appeared, there was supposed to be a Campus Media Day where I was to speak at a forum/debate with the Vanguard editor. Our writer, and former College Democrats President and ASPSU Student Body Vice President, Molly Woon -- the one year the Left Coalition took over student government -- Molly spoke at the forum, representing PSU Agitator.
The Vanguard attack article/hit piece also never said what grounds SLAP allegedly used to 'decertify' Progressive Student Union as a campus group. It turns out alleged "improper pizza purchase order paperwork" was the ("confidential") "cause," etc.
Progressive Student Union and Agitator organize for antiwar protests on campus (getting student senate to try to kick off ROTC and military recruiters), the successful campus Taco Bell Boycott (we kicked Taco Bell off campus), the Coke Boycott, et al. The Vanguard hit piece also omitted that SLAP was trying to nuke the Progressive Student Union's Conference and Darfur, Sudan and Genocide, which we held anyway that quarter at school with our keynote speaker from Darfur, Mohammed Yahya, and which I emceed. This, despite the SLAP and College Republican dominated Student Fee Committee voting 7-0 to NOT fund $6,000 for the anti-genocide Darfur conference (we secured alternate funding). Mario, chair of the College Republicans on the SFC, successfully argued against PSU funding the Darfur conference saying "that it doesn't benefit PSU students, let Amnesty International or someone pay for it."
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