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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Election celebration pits GOP against ASUA

    A UA Mall event titled “”Stop the Hate and Celebrate: ‘Yes We Did!'”” promoted diverse unity among attendees who felt affected by last week’s controversial comic in the Daily Wildcat.

    Wednesday’s event also included a belated celebration for the victory of President-elect Barack Obama, starting with a play-through of his speech and ending with a sharing of opinions on what this election has meant to attendees.

    Ezekiel Gebrekidane, a former Associated Students of the University of Arizona senator, said they didn’t get as many people as they wanted, about 50 people in all. But they accomplished what they set out to do, which was to “”come together and move forward.””

    Along with festivities, however, the event also brought on a few confrontations.

    The press release for the event listed four points in its collective message, one of which asked for mandatory training for Wildcat staff members.

    The Daily Wildcat said in a Nov. 12 editorial that such a request is out of the question.

    “”It is the business of the Daily Wildcat, not the community, to police its content. To allow the community to make its editorial decisions would be to abdicate its responsibility as an independent newspaper,”” the editorial said.

    “”We are in no way, in any form, talking about censorship. We understand what the First Amendment is. We understand that it is the job of the newspaper to print the truth and the facts,”” said Eshawn-Fonta Peterson, a psychology senior, who attended the celebration. “”We are just asking that people be sensitive. The people who decided that it was OK to (print the comic) should go through further training in diversity, just to understand where their demographic would be upset about it.””

    Peterson went on to say that the event’s main focus was the victory of the U.S.’s first president-elect, although the event’s press release never mentioned Obama’s message in any of its four major “”goals.””

    “”Today specifically is about celebrating Barack Obama being elected president, which we were not able to do last Wednesday since it was overshadowed by the comic,”” Peterson said. “”Today is about moving forward from what happened with the Arizona Daily Wildcat. It’s not about continuing to battle with them. It’s not about who’s at fault or who deserves an apology.””

    The mandate also became an issue with the UA College Republicans, who noted that it was part of the message of the celebration, saying ASUA supported the mandate of sensitivity training by supporting the event and that ASUA played a role in partisan politics.

    Ry Ellison, president of the College Republicans, said if former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain had won, ASUA would not have participated.

    “”We don’t align ourselves with political parties, we don’t support campaigns … but when any student group on our campus feels as though they were directly attacked, or offended or (made to feel) unwelcome on the campus, we will step up and involve ourselves to make sure that all of our students feel that this is a welcome and engaging environment,”” said ASUA President Tommy Bruce.

    As for censoring the Wildcat, he added, “”There are no mechanisms in place for ASUA to attempt in any way, shape or form to censor the Wildcat. It’s simply a matter of the educational piece to understand what potentially makes any student on our campus feel unwelcome, unsafe or not a part of the community. … And it’s not just the Wildcat, it’s the campus at large. What we’ll do today and what we’ll do tomorrow and what we’ll do next year is, any time any student has something to say and has a concerned voice, we will listen and we will help in any way possible to make sure those students feel supported on our campus.””

    “”This is not an organization that is hosting this,”” Peterson said. “”This is just students, staff and faculty saying, ‘We want to celebrate.'””

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