Southwestern College Board Meeting, 2009-04-15, Blackwater Comments
Citizens Oversight (2009-04-15) Raymond Lutz
This Page: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M782
Media Link: http://youtu.be/jpBnENkEsXQ
Comments by Congressman Bob Filner (CA - 51)
I represent the 51st Congressional District which includes Southwestern and I think you all know how much I love Southwestern College, how much I love this board, and I think all these people are here because we love Southwestern so much, and we know how important it is to the community, and we're very disappointed with the decision on this Blackwater contract.
I think to save a few bucks, you basically sold out your souls and made a pact with the devil.
These are bad guys. These are bad guys. They have killed innocent civilians in Iraq, and they lost their contract with the State Department for so doing. When they have one of their employees wounded or killed, you should see what they do to the parents. They don't give them any information. They lock them out of any knowledge. This is not a good company.
Now, as one of the speakers said. They are using you for your credibility. You have incredible credibility in the public. They are using you to place a veil of respectability on themselves. They'll say "We're dealing with Southwestern College, therefore, we're credible." That's what they are doing.
Now many of you have rationalized this contract with what I'll call the myth of academic objectivity. You'll say "We're not making any judgment on their activities, we're just saving money for our students."
Many of you went through the divestment of South African stocks. You could have said, "Hey, they're the best"... as many people did... "they're the best stocks, we have to save that, we're not making any judgment on the morality of South Africa. We'll keep the stocks."
Dr. Chopra, I think that if Gandhi asked you to boycott British goods, to get the British out, and you had said, "Oh, they're cheaper..." (Chopra laughs) I don't think you would have said that.
Nick, when Cesar Chavez asked us all to boycott grapes, would you have said, "Oh, they are the cheapest dessert for our students, we have to do it"?
You know, let me state bluntly, we can make all the arguments that we want, but the basic reason that Blackwater is at the border should be clear to all of you. They're not here just to put up some training rounds for your students to use to be trained for police departments. They're here to get the Department of Homeland Security Contracts to "protect us" at the border.
Now, do you, or your students, want to do business with a company that shoots first, asks questions later, to be involved with your students. That's what's going to happen by the kind of thing that you are doing. We all have to re-evaluate. Please reconsider your contract.