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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Ex-presidents welcome Fritze

Thirteen former Associated Students of the University of Arizona presidents gathered at Joel’s Bistro Friday to welcome President-elect Emily Fritze into office.

“”Just the fact that so many former presidents are back today shows that they really care about the university,”” said Fritze, current ASUA executive vice president. “”It’s very nice to meet people who I have heard a lot about, especially those that you hear their names over and over again in ASUA.””

Benjamin W. Graff, an attorney who served as student body president for 2000-01, organized the event.

“”Up until last year when President (Chris) Nagata came into office, ASUA lost its tradition of having these dinners,”” Graff said. “”We hadn’t had one of these gatherings since the late 1970s until then.””

The student body president alumni dinner took place at a Chinese restaurant in the past. Graff and former Presidents Francisco Aguilar and Alistair J. Chapman decided to put the gathering back together.

“”No matter what you do in your professional career, you will compare it to your position as ASUA president. To this day, there isn’t a person here who doesn’t feel that pride of being student body president,”” Graff said. “”You get everyone together and see how much history is in the room. It’s an unparalleled experience.””

Erin Hertzog, 2006-07 student body president and currently an Arizona Students’ Association lobbyist, was the only female former president who attended.

The oldest former president in attendance was Donald Butler, who served in the 1950-51 school year.

“”A lot of my colleagues had come back from the service, so we were a little more serious than those that had come right from high school,”” Butler said. “”We were pretty settled, you might say. We did wild things. It was a good time; the war was over.””

Butler, a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity alumnus, remembers having a positive relationship with the president of the university.

“”We always had a good dialogue,”” Butler said.

Most of the former presidents discussed the major changes in the UA since their time in office.

“”When I was ASUA president, the Free Speech Movement had just occurred in California, so the university president was worried we would have riots on the UA campus,”” said Mark Ginsberg, 1969-70 ASUA president. “”The Vietnam War was also a big deal at the time, as was the Civil Rights Movement.””

Ginsberg remembers printing up copies of the Bill of Rights and handing them out on campus.

“”We have a picture somewhere of the campus police confiscating the Bill of Rights and taking the student in who had been distributing it,”” Ginsberg said. “”We helped protect the future students’ freedom of speech.””

Ginsberg said he was president when approximately 20,000 people marched downtown in protest of the Vietnam War. Ginsberg also recalls protesting the racism that went on at Brigham Young University.

“”Mark was here during our most activist days,”” said Douglas Ehrenkranz, 1978-79 ASUA president. “”He was in the crescendo of student activism.””

Graff said that student advising was one of the biggest issues on the UA campus while he was president.

“”When I was a freshman, I had wait underneath one of the school buildings for a few hours just to get an appointment for advising,”” Graff said. “”Now, student elections are all online. But before that, it was all done on paper.””

Graff remembers ASUA also bringing the Counting Crows to campus for a concert.

“”Once or twice a week, I still read the Wildcat, and I keep up with what the student government is doing,”” Graff said.

Gilbert Davidson, 1997-98 ASUA president, recalls students being in arms about the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center.

“”At the time, the ILC was thought of as a dungeon for freshmen,”” Davidson said. “”There was a lot of controversy back in that time.””

Davidson said CatCards were introduced during his time as president.

“”The idea that everything could be on one card was really controversial,”” Davidson said.

Tommy Bruce, 2007-09 ASUA president, did not attend.

“”He’s in New York City, so it came down to a traveling situation,”” Graff said.

Current ASUA President Chris Nagata was asked to discuss his presidential year.

“”I’m a biased perspective to evaluate myself, but in my own heart of hearts, I believe this year was successful,”” Nagata said. “”I had a lot of fun. I only take positive memories with me.””

Nagata has high hopes for Fritze’s presidency.

“”I have every confidence and full faith that she will do an amazing job as being a student representative, as being a representative of ASUA,”” Nagata said.


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