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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Senator: Daily Wildcat should attend A-Town in wake of comic controversy

    Gabby Ziccarelli advocates greater funding for A-Town during Wednesday nights ASUA senate meeting.
    Gabby Ziccarelli advocates greater funding for A-Town during Wednesday night’s ASUA senate meeting.

    After two weeks of speculation concerning how the UA community should ultimately deal with Keith Knight’s controversial cartoon that appeared in the Nov. 5 issue of the Daily Wildcat, one ASUA Senator has a new suggestion.

    “”We could send someone from the Wildcat to A-Town, and they could learn about diversity and ethical issues that are involved in that,”” said Sen. Nick Macchiaroli at the student government’s weekly Senate meeting Wednesday.

    The suggestion comes after the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership sent a memo out on several listservs on Nov. 10 asking that “”the Arizona Daily Wildcat … be accountable for the education of their staff members with specific MANDATORY (sic) training in diversity and tolerance.””

    ASUA President Tommy Bruce followed up the diversity training request by expressing in the ASUA Forum on Nov. 12 that the “”university paper needs to not be offensive.””

    Just an hour before his comment suggesting how the Daily Wildcat should handle its own content, Bruce said that ASUA was not calling for censorship of the student-run newspaper.

    Knight’s cartoon featured in the Nov. 5 issue of the Daily Wildcat spurred controversy because it partially used “”the N-word”” twice.

    A-Town is an ASUA-run program that informs its members of social justice issues.

    The Senate session began with a proposal to fund a portion of Knight’s visit to the Student Union Memorial Center Wednesday night. Although the point of the proposal was to fund his visit, it quickly turned into a debate regarding the merit of ASUA’s response to the cartoon and the amount of responsibility and participation from ASUA.

    Sen. Andre Rubio strongly felt that it was ASUA’s responsibility to sponsor the visit from the cartoonist.

    “”I feel like this forum will do a better job of addressing the issues as opposed to previous forums,”” Rubio said. “”Ultimately the one responsible for the content of the cartoon is the cartoonist himself. This event will give students the opportunity to ask the cartoonist himself their questions.””

    While the Senators disagreed on how the funds should be distributed, most agreed that instead of dwelling on the comic, they should be taking steps forward to educate about social justice.

    “”I think it is almost like we are continuing to talk about an issue that is very controversial and is continuing to be a negative thing for the U of A campus,”” Macchiaroli said. “”We need to move past that and look toward the positive things that could come out of an unfortunate situation.””

    ASUA finally closed the proposal, funding $100 for the event.

    Next on their agenda was a proposal from A-Town’s Administrative Director Genevieve Flagello, who asked ASUA to fund two conferences. The Senate was fairly unanimous with their support for A-Town. However, the amount ASUA would provide was thoroughly debated.

    “”I want to call to attention that several weeks ago, we funded Freshman Class Council … Their float affected ASUA and the (Freshman Class Council), which is a small portion of this campus, and we cut them down to $850,”” said Sen. Gabby Ziccarelli. “”To me, it seems not so good of the Senate to only fund half of a program that would affect not only a greater number of students, but students that are outside of our realm of ASUA and who will promote change and will advertise for this fantastic program and encourage more people to come. Slowly but surely we will make this campus incredible through this program.””

    Throughout the meeting, a major concern of the senators was the lack of ASUA money that has been used to fund ASUA events. Although they decided to sponsor four A-Town participants, ASUA is trying to become increasingly cautious of outside programs they are funding.

    As one of the platform issues that she credited to her election, Sen. Emily Fritze had promised to make information regarding current events available to students. As a result, USA Today’s National Account Manager Alice Turner and Regional Marketing Director Cheryl Reid presented their Collegiate Readership program.

    Started at Penn State University in 1997, the program’s goal is to make local and national information more accessible to students. Their program would distribute newspapers through key card racks, basically a kiosk system where students would swipe their CatCards and then be given access to the newspapers.

    “”Some of the benefits are that it prepares students to work and live in a global economy. As I’m sure you are well aware, especially this generation, being prepared for that is incredibly important in today’s marketplace. It also promotes sharing of ideas related to ideas of responsible citizenship,”” Turner said. “”It also encourages students to examine diverse points of view and multiple perspectives. USA Today does a great job of trying to balance both sides of an issue. It also allows students to relate classroom knowledge to a national situation.””

    If it is sponsored, the program will start with a four-week pilot program that would gauge student consumption and interest in the newspapers. The funding for the program would come out of each UA student’s Student Activity Fee.

    After a brief reiteration presentation of the Arizona Students’ Association tuition proposal given by ASA representatives and Bruce, the ASUA Senators officially gave their support to the accountability and predictability plan the ASA has formed and passed: the Tuition Resolution.

    “”It is fundamentally unfair and against our mission as a university to have this erratic tuition increase and price students out of a degree and out of their education mid-stream,”” Bruce said. “”They cannot predict what a tuition increase would look like.””

    The meeting ended with Bruce describing the changes that will take place regarding Zona Zoo safety changes. He also described a new community outreach program called “”Junior Cats,”” which gives children from Tucson the opportunity to be taken by a Zona Zoo member to a game and have a tour of the football stadium.

    “”With the football game on Saturday, there are some changes that are occurring. We are asking that all students get to the game at least 30 minutes prior to kick off,”” Bruce said. “”We are anticipating a full Zona Zoo section, and we need to make sure our students understand that it is a first-come, first-serve basis. Only 10,000 students can fit in a section. This is strictly in regard to safety. It is vital that all of our students are safe and that all of our football patrons are safe. There will be some physical changes that will make the process easier, smoother and more supportive of a safe environment.””

    – Shain Bergan contributed to this story.

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