Demand Transparency and Responsibility in Guest Speaker Appointments at ASIJ
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On January 12, 2018, disgraced former Trump administration chief of staff Reince Priebus was invited as a guest speaker to ASIJ's Chofu campus. The Trump administration has proven to be the most disorganized, regressive and bigoted in contemporary American history, and aside from his general connection to this hateful administration, Priebus personally encouraged the obstruction of federal justice through his request on behalf of the presidential office that the FBI refute any allegations of connections between the Trump administration and Russian intelligence in early 2017.
The argument that Priebus's speaking engagement could provide an educational opportunity to ASIJ students is tenuous. There is more to learn about the Trump administration from those it oppresses than those who have worked to support it through lying and obstruction of justice. The Trump administration shows negative and in fact hostile regard for the "global responsibility" referred to in ASIJ's mission statement. Priebus himself, as the US presidential chief of staff who has served the shortest tenure in history, and through his actions during that tenure, shows minimal political competence, knowledge of US government systems, and overall compassion for humanity.
ASIJ students, faculty, parents, and concerned alumni deserve to know the timeline of how this speaking engagement came to be, as well as what payment (financial and in-kind) Priebus received and the source(s) of that payment. In an increasingly capitalistic world, money is power, and in offering money to Priebus ASIJ is, intentionally or not, lending credence to those involved in the Trump administration. Furthermore, the ASIJ students belonging to the many demographics that have been targeted by the Trump administration--women and girls, students of color, Muslim students, LGBTQIA+ students, financially middle- and lower-class students, and students with disabilities or chronic illness--deserve to know that they are supported by the ASIJ leadership team and boards of directors and trustees. Therefore, this petition proposes the following:
1) Make public the timeline of Priebus's speaking appointment and the personnel, discussions, and decisions involved;
2) Make public the amount of money Priebus received for this speaking engagement, and the source of that payment;
3) Allocate the equivalent amount of money to be distributed among student-run political, environmental and social justice organizations on ASIJ campuses, including SAFE and QEA.
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