SA passes revised Wal-Mart boycott
Student organizations can still be reimbursed for Wal-Mart purchases
December 5, 2005 —
The SVSU Student Association passed a revised resolution to boycott Wal-Mart and appointed a new representative during its House meeting Monday, Nov. 21.
Two weeks earlier, the House heavily debated a resolution that called on SA to boycott the company and not allow registered student organizations (RSOs) to seek reimbursements for payments made at the store. This time, the resolution did not include the RSO clause, and was passed.
The debate surrounding the revised resolution was not as heated or lengthy as the one two weeks prior, but still included its high points. Representative Steve Lewitzke, for one, read a prepared statement in favor of the resolution that garnered him a round of applause.
"A direct boycott goes beyond the monetary fact. It is a character check," he said, before asking, "Should we just turn away, and admit these crimes are taking place? Yet directly sponsor or ignore the facts?"
Lewitzke also campaigned for leaving the RSO clause in the resolution.
"RSOs are exaggerating the degree in which Wal-Mart is going to hurt them," he argued. "Really, they are just being self-interested. Isn't that what makes Wal-Mart so unethical, that they are driven by greed?"
Resolution author and Parliamentarian Nick Madaj reintroduced the resolution and explained why the clause was taken out.
"(The clause) was discussed for a long time," said Madaj, describing a Legislative Committee meeting following the Nov. 7 meeting. "One person thought it was too much too soon."
The clause and the resolution itself were also discussed at an open forum held by SA on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Madaj estimated that 25 to 30 students attended.
While it seemed that at the very least a vote on the resolution at the Nov. 7 meeting would have been close, the revised resolution had much more success, as 17 representatives voted in favor, with five opposed.
"I'm excited to see the changes that were made," said Campus Events chair Beth Schaefer, who was initially opposed to the resolution. "This will create enough buzz to get students talking."
Allocations chair Michelle Herbon shared a story of one woman who was a manager at Wal-Mart that said she was "treated badly" there, and was excited that SA was talking about the boycott.
"These facts are not just facts, they are affecting real people," she added, alluding to the facts presented in the resolution.
Following the approval of the resolution, SA held an appointment for the representative spot left vacant by Steve Beson, who resigned earlier in the month. After interviewing candidates Aaron Brown, Jason Landin and Nick Nowakowski, the House held a closed-door discussion and decided on Nowakowski, a freshman.
A Program Board member as well, Nowakowski mentioned his desire to see more student involvement to bring more excitement to the campus.
"Every weekend students go home, and I think it should be a big issue to try and keep students here and keep them involved in enjoying the campus," he wrote in his application.
He also wanted to see a stronger bond between some of the main organizations on campus, such as SA, Program Board, and the University Residence Association.
"The more involvement of groups together will create a strong bond," he wrote. "It will help get students active to participate in events that are scheduled on weekdays and weekends."