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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

ASUA address welcomed

From his run as a write-in candidate to inheriting an already unpopular organization just months after an unsuccessful concert that cost a contentious student body $1 million, current Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Chris Nagata did not have an easy job. Nagata and his cabinet inherited a large debt and a less-than-golden reputation — the result of decisions for which few current ASUA leaders were involved.

This Board has been largely critical of many decisions and policies of ASUA, with due and argued reason. But while there is much room for improvement, Nagata and his staff deserve credit for instating the State of the Student Address. President Nagata will give the first annual speech on the condition of higher education, among other subjects, today at 5 p.m. in a reservation-required event in the Student Union Memorial Center South Ballroom.

In a letter from President Nagata to “”University of Arizona Leadership,”” announcing the Address, President Nagata explained, “”Students are enrolled at the university during unprecedentedly challenging times. University budgets are being cut to dismal levels, with more financial difficulties on the horizon. Colleges and programs are being merged and class sizes are rapidly increasing. Our elected officials are not prioritizing higher education, despite Arizona ranking 49th per student funding, and more concerning, other states and countries are making significant investments in education, further widening this disparity.””

Nagata went on to say, “”We are steadily becoming the first generation in history to offer less opportunity to the next. These are horrific yet inevitable transformations that we simply cannot afford to ignore. My hope is that students, and supporters of higher education, alike will continue to advocate for the importance of pursuing a degree.””

In regards to his speech, Nagata explained, “”The State of the Student Address will provide a platform to illustrate the value of education and the necessity for a quality university experience. In the presence of students, university administration, higher education stakeholders, public officials and community members, the message will be clear: Education is a collective right rather than an individual’s privilege, and it is our state’s responsibility.”” 

As ASUA is the representative body for students within the UA, as well as to the greater community, Nagata’s efforts are well placed. If voters are to consider higher education an economic priority, they need to be reminded of both the importance of college and the potential of college students in a community, both as students and graduates.

President Nagata is nearing the end of his term as president, but this speech is, one only hopes, a positive harbinger of efforts of the organization in the future. President-elect Emily Fritze is both inclined and capable of continuing this trend of smart, concentrated advocacy on behalf of the students of this university. You don’t hear it often, but: In regards to the State of the Student Address, ASUA is doing a good job.

Nagata makes a dramatic claim, to say education is an individual’s right, but in his position such an assertion is admirable. The leaders within ASUA are elected to advocate for UA students, and in this Nagata is doing so with grace and force unlike any ASUA president in recent memory.

The judgment of the first annual State of the Student Address awaits President Nagata’s delivery this evening. However, based on precedence alone, this president deserves a rare kudos for doing exactly what an elected official should.

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