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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Editorial: ASUA candidates’ backgrounds demonstrate real diversity

It’s a rare occasion when ASUA is talked about in a tone that is free of mockery or apathy. The only people who seem to be trusting of the UA student government’s ability to do anything right are the people in it.

Everyone else is either caught up in criticizing the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, or too busy not giving a damn. After all, why should anyone care about an organization that claims to represent tens of thousands of voices but can only offer a narrow, limited perspective?

Just a small fraction of UA students want to participate in ASUA or vote in its elections. Every year — and this year especially — it feels like every ASUA senator is a white, pre-business sophomore who wants to connect with Greek Life in order to improve representation of students, pursue diversity initiatives and increase transparency.

Too many years of relying on these buzzwords have caused ASUA representatives to appear mass-produced and unoriginal. Key words like “”diversity,”” “”representation”” and “”accountability”” have lost much of their meaning because ASUA candidates often use those words without having any understanding of them.

Because of this, regardless of representatives’ individual performances, ASUA as a whole too frequently fails to connect to the people it seeks to serve.

This is why this year’s ASUA candidates deserve to be praised. Few previous groups of candidates have had such a wide range of personal backgrounds and life experiences.

Take, for example, Marielos Castro, a freshman studying public health and running for ASUA Senate. Castro, whose platform is based on increasing students’ accessibility to financial aid, is a first-generation college student whose campaign was inspired by her search for financial support after her acceptance to the UA.

There’s Carlita Cotton, an anthropology junior. Cotton is 39 years old, and a transfer student from Mesa Community College. Based on her own transfer experience, she’s running with the intent to create a more efficient, effective transfer orientation program, which would partner transfer students with current UA students in a two-week buddy system.  

There’s also Robert Rosinski, a 25-year-old civil engineering sophomore. In his candidate statement, Rosinski, a veteran, credits the Air Force for teaching him the value of “”Service Before Self,”” and his candidacy is built on a background as a veteran, father and small-business owner.

These are only three examples of how far ASUA candidates have come. The notion of “”diversity”” should never be defined strictly in terms of race or ethnicity. Diversity doesn’t have to look like a United Colors of Benetton ad, or a picture in a brochure of a black man, a Hispanic woman, their white friend and an Asian thrown in for good measure.

Real diversity comes from a full spectrum of perspectives, and color is hardly the end-all, be-all deciding factor in what kind of perspective people can bring to the table. Rather, students should seek diversity in all forms. Entrusting 10 kids with the concerns of nearly 40,000 means seeking the widest range of personal experiences possible.

And improbably, this time around, ASUA seems to have gotten the memo. The most recent crop of senatorial and executive candidates is truly made up of all sorts. The diversity encompasses ideological, age, experience, racial and ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and just plain life-view differences. Whoever wins, next year’s ASUA will be one to watch, as student government at the UA strives more than it has in a long time to truly represent the student body.   

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Kristina Bui, Ken Contrata, Michelle A. Monroe and Heather Price-Wright. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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