USG recently tabled a bill commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide for being “outside of the purview of the organization.” USG Senators originally passed the resolution unanimously. This reversal shows a lack of moral leadership, or else a double standard.
Commemorating the centennial of a genocide is outside of our “purview” of our student government? The same genocide that gave Hitler a blueprint for the Holocaust, the genocide that is still denied by the Turkish government, 100 years after the Ottoman Turks erased over two-thirds of Armenians from this Earth.
“Imagine if for 100 years Germany did not recognize the Holocaust,” commented one user on a State Press Facebook post. “Would a similar bill fighting Holocaust denial be inappropriate?”
These actions of the Tempe USG are offensive to victims of persecution, and out of line with the values of our university. What kind of precedence does this set for ASU?
Minutes before the Armenian Genocide bill was brought to the floor, USG members took a moral stance on a less serious issue than genocide commemoration: the Undie Run. If anyone thinks an “undie run” is morally wrong, then what about genocide? On a campus where the Armenian Genocide is taught in history courses, failing to commemorate the Armenian Genocide on a student level doesn’t uphold ASU values. There is a double standard at play.
On moral leadership, M.L.K. Jr. put it best: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
The ASU student body stands with genocide victims who are continuously denied a right to mourn. We stand and commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, as universities across the U.S. have done.
A genocide denied is a genocide repeated. As the brutality faced by Assyrians, Kurds, and Muslims ensues at the hands of ISIS, I hope for the day when leaders stand up for what is right, rather than what is easy. USG is, after all, the training ground for future leaders.
W.P. Carey School of Business