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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Bear Down, Geraldo”

    Although the UA is currently going through some tough times, Geraldo Rivera said he’s proud to say, “”Bear Down.””

    Rivera was at the UA Bookstore Wednesday afternoon to sign copies of his latest book, “”His Panic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S.”” Afterward Rivera hosted a short media session.

    Touching on both politics and his time at the UA, Rivera shared his opinions on the presidential election and smiled as he recalled his undergraduate experiences.

    Rivera has been in television for about 39 years and has written seven books. But he didn’t always have it so good.

    When he was a college student Rivera was “”struggling to survive, living on dry cereal with water,”” he said, calling it “”subsistence existence.”” This was a result of being confronted by the harsh reality of having to pay the bills, he said.

    Even so, Rivera said he mainly came to the UA because he thought the school “”personified everything about lighthearted college life in America, the women walking around wearing, you know, whatever they wear in 90-degree heat, the jocks kind of dominating social life.””

    Revisiting the UA as an alumnus, Rivera said he was reaffirming his own roots.

    “”Coming back here is cathartic in a sense,”” he said. “”Without sounding too corny, it’s soul-stirring.””

    Many people were just as excited to meet Rivera as he was to be back at the UA.

    Spanish and psychology junior Wendell Van Duyne stopped by the bookstore to buy a copy of “”His Panic”” and have Rivera autograph it.

    Van Duyne, having remembered Rivera’s face from TV, said it is “”crazy that he went to school here.”” After meeting Rivera, Van Duyne called the experience “”humbling.””

    Rivera spoke with each person whose book he signed and smiled for pictures – even holding a ZonaZoo t-shirt in one.

    The university is “”flourishing,”” Rivera said, who mentioned several differences between the UA in the ’60s and the current university. He commended the school’s media arts department, as well as how much more open the campus community now is to diversity.

    Rivera said the student activism he sees now is “”the antithesis of the lethargy in the ’60s.”” Change happens “”if you understand that it’s not just a civic duty – it’s kind of the fulfillment of adulthood, a rite of passage,”” he said of voting. “”Young people voting in the past presidential election made a major, major difference.””

    As far as the election itself goes, Rivera said, “”Republicans lost because of their harsh immigration polices.

    “”Hispanic people have been insulted, stereotyped, scape-goated for the past four or five years,”” Rivera said. The Republicans were trying to “”ride an anti-immigration wave into the White House,”” although Sen. John McCain was not of that ilk, Rivera said.

    As a result, Rivera said the “”whole brand has been tarnished”” and the Republicans lost any chance for a majority.

    Switching to a more light-hearted matter, Rivera shared that when he was graduating from the university, he was late to the ceremony “”because (he’s) such a ditz in so many”” ways. He said he was the last person to arrive, after running and getting there breathlessly.

    To current students, Rivera advises to “”do your best, take responsibility for yourself and your families. And you know, be cool – Bear Down.””

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