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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    No tortilla trouble

    UA mascot Wilbur T. Wildcat rears back to throw a tortilla at the spring 2005 afternoon graduation ceremony. President Peter Likins has asked students not to follow the tradition of tortilla throwing because some students find it offensive.
    UA mascot Wilbur T. Wildcat rears back to throw a tortilla at the spring 2005 afternoon graduation ceremony. President Peter Likins has asked students not to follow the tradition of tortilla throwing because some students find it offensive.

    The controversy of tortillas being thrown at commencement ceremonies seems to have calmed down, as no student groups have voiced opposition to the growing tradition this semester.

    Last December, the UA decided to cancel the winter commencement ceremonies because a significant number of students voiced their displeasure at the possibility of students throwing tortillas, saying it was racist and should not be allowed.

    The controversy of canceling the commencement seemed to outweigh the tortilla issue, and the UA decided to re-instate the graduation ceremony, but this time with a message from President Peter Likins..

    I think if people are getting mad at the tortilla throwers, then they’re looking to be offended. You could apply that logic to almot anything and say it’s racist. If throwing tortillas is racist, then a food fight must be racist.
    – Shauna Story, math and astronomy freshman

    In his statement, Likins said, “”It is important for you to be aware that some members of the university community have expressed the view that tossing tortillas at commencement is disrespectful to the Mexican and Native American cultures, and needless to say a waste of food. It also takes away from the enjoyment of the event by our guests. I ask you to be mindful of the concerns of others while celebrating this wonderful event.””

    The issue of this year’s tortilla throwing is being approached with the same message: Throw them if you want to, but realize that some people may be offended.

    Graduating Mexican-American studies senior Vanessa Gallego said she isn’t offended by the tortilla throwing because of issues of racism, but because of disrespect of wasting the tortillas.

    “”People are starving around the world, and it’s a waste of food, that’s the only offensive thing about it,”” Gallego said. “”Especially considering the fact that we’re at a university and graduation is supposed to be a celebration of our accomplishment as young minds, and then we act the opposite by throwing tortillas.””

    The UA gave the issue of students throwing tortillas too much attention last year and in the process made it a bigger deal than it deserves to be, said Consuelo Aguilar, a graduating Mexican-American studies graduate student.

    “”There are bigger issues that have to do with Latinos on this campus than tortillas,”” Aguilar said. “”We need to address Latino outreach and enrollment and retention instead of whether or not someone wants to throw a tortilla.””

    Throwing tortillas is a disruption to the entire ceremony and is disrespectful to the families and students in attendance, Aguilar said.

    “”If they want to act stupid, they should just go somewhere else and do it,”” Aguilar said.

    Other students have a different outlook on the issue.

    There is no way to stop the tortillas from being thrown, so it’s not really worth worrying about, said Fito Mascareno, a computer science senior graduating this week.

    “”I think corn tortillas fly the best,”” Mascareno said. “”I’m just happy to graduate.””

    Sam Glicken, a media arts freshman, said he finds the whole situation amusing rather then offensive.

    “”Throwing tortillas just sounds silly to me,”” Glicken said. “”I can’t see how anyone would be offended by it because it’s so silly.””

    If students are paying for the tortillas, then they can do whatever they want with them as long as they don’t hurt anybody, said Shauna Story, a freshman majoring in math and astronomy.

    “”I think if people are getting mad at the tortilla throwers, then they’re looking to be offended,”” Story said. “”You could apply that logic to almost anything and say it’s racist. If throwing tortillas is racist, then a food fight must be racist.””

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