Volume 93, Issue 44

Wednesday, November 17, 1999


Oil spill threatened Thames

De-ratification may surprise USC clubs

TAs and admin reach agreement

Quality of college education falls

Drugs and alcohol use on the rise

UN payment conditional


Caught on campus

UN payment conditional

By Tola Afolabi
Gazette Staff

The United States has agreed to pay the nearly $1 billion in dues it owes to the United Nations, but the payback includes one catch which has ruffled the feathers of several Western professors.

The agreement, reached after the UN threatened to remove the U.S.'s vote on the international body, hinges on the UN's consent to prohibit funds from supporting pro-choice efforts in other countries.

Roderic Beaujot, professor of sociology at Western, said the regulation of a country's abortion laws should be up to that country. "Countries need to decide for themselves what forms of contraceptive are against the law," he said.

Beaujot added the U.S. is infringing on a country's sovereignty by preventing the UN from funding family planning groups. "I'm against the high-handed politics the U.S. has used in this area," he said.

Douglas Baer, associate professor of sociology at Western, said the terms and details of the agreement are ridiculous. "It's absolutely silly," he said. He added that the U.S. is simply playing bully. "It's one thing to use political influence, but this is nothing of the sort."

Baer said the distribution of power between the U.S. Senate and Congress causes conflict in government, as the institutions can often reach a stalemate. "The American political system is not of one voice," he said.

According to Elizabeth Ridell-Dixon, professor of political science at Western, other UN countries may believe the U.S. has too great an influence in the organization. "It's definitely the dominant voice." she said, adding the U.S. pays more dues than most of the other countries, resulting in a greater influence.

Ridell-Dixon said she also thought the deal could be a source of friction between the U.S. and other countries in the UN. "All countries are virtually fed up with the U.S.'s unilateralism," she said.

Beaujot said he agreed the decision has significant implications on other countries, but noted it could bring positive change. "Maybe the UN needs to be restructured," he said, adding the controversy may push the organization to diffuse voting power away from the States.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999