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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Guest Column: Presidency will address ASUA’s flaws, restore legitimacy”

I want to start by expressing how grateful I am for the opportunity to address the students of this university formally, for the first time. I want to thank every student who believed in my credibility and capacity to hold this esteemed position. It is because of your dedication that I sit here today addressing you as the student body president-elect, and this story would not have had the same ending without you.

Allow me to take you back to the night of the special election for the president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. It was more than a month ago that I sat waiting, with that same sweaty grip and my heart pounding, aware that what would appear on the results screen would change my life. An entire year of determination and perseverance, that started with simple conversations and transformed into countless hours of dedication, coupled with unbridled passion, allowed me to achieve this position.

Those final few minutes would tell the story of so many accumulated months. Through personal networking, social media and an unwavering constituency, 66.8 percent of the voters voiced their belief not once, but twice.

Where there is smoke, there is typically fire, and it would be foolish to presume that this elections process was an exception. This election generated unprecedented interest and galvanized students from diverse areas of campus. However, the Elections Code was unprepared for an election of this capacity. As was this student government.

These recent events were unfortunate, and I share your disappointment and frustrations. Our student government was unprepared to handle a competitive election with diverse and avid candidates and supporters, and was ill equipped to respond to a record level of organizational scrutiny. It is not in my character to leave conflict unresolved. I cannot justify the decisions and actions of the many players in this situation, but I don’t wish to circumvent this issue. I realize my actions and the circumstances of this election may have offended students, and I will personally take responsibility and accountability for rebuilding these relationships and establishing credibility.

I can assure you that I will continue to act with professionalism and with the students’ best interests at heart. I also want to make a promise. I promise to address this organization’s flaws, and to restore legitimacy to this office in an effort to remind students why it is important to move forward with me now that the dust has settled.

I have not forgotten the gravity of being elected student body president, and I recognize that this is only the first chapter of the story. The many students who take pride in serving through their student government, and the students seeking new opportunities for involvement will help me write the chapters to follow. Collaboration and communication will help us move forward together, for the betterment of our university and student experience. I accept the challenge to earn your trust and restore faith in this organization, and I am prepared to do this upon inauguration on May 2.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent and serve.

— James Allen is the president-elect  of ASUA. He can be reached at asuapres@email.arizona.edu.

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