SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees made the decision to economically boycott the state of Arizona until it repeals the controversial Senate Bill 1070, which grants Arizona law enforcement the right to investigate a person’s legal status under reasonable suspicion that he or she is in the country illegally.
The resolution, submitted on June 1, by Trustee Dr. Margaret Quinones-Perez, includes withdrawing from any conventions to be held in Arizona using district resources, “businesses, any of our practices or travel [to Arizona].”
“We need to make a moral statement,” said Trustee Quinones-Perez during the procession. “In our city, we will not allow language or behavior that will violate people’s civil rights.”
Furthermore, the Board of Trustees established its boycott upon the repeal of House Bill 2281, which Governor Jan Brewer also signed. HB 2281 prohibits the offering of ethnic studies programs in Arizona school districts and charter schools.
However, the boycott was not embraced by all as the measure met opposition with members of the public.
“The only real economic boycott I will see here,” said Santa Monica College student Sean O’Gino, “is to deny Arizona students of coming to Santa Monica College. A lot of our budget comes from international, out-of-state students.”
Trustee Dr. Susan Aminoff expressed approval of the resolution, but with a statement of hesitation.
“My concern is with the tourism and travel industry in Arizona,” Aminoff expressed to the Board, “which is inhabited by 200,000 working class folks, many of whom are minorities. They will be impacted by the vote that we take… I’m trying to weigh the civil and human rights issues against a very real economic fact.”
There was a single opposition vote, but it came from an Incoming Student Trustee named Michael Song, and the vote is only counted as “advisory.” Song stated that, “Not all of the residents in Arizona are for this bill, and those are the type of working-class people that will be affected with this resolution.
Having heard the opinion of the Board and the public, Chair Judge David Finkel expressed his personal feelings about the boycott before the resolution passed unanimously.
“It’s a political statement, that’s all it is,” he said. “We know that things can die if they’re not watered, and we’re going to keep watering democracy.”