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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Marginalized student group is making unreasonable demands

Recently, a group of UA students calling themselves the Marginalized Students of the University of Arizona gave a list of demands to the administration. These demands included providing free tampons to students, hiring more diverse employees and breaking any ties with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

The students also called for various reforms such as requiring campus-wide cultural sensitivity training and instructing professors to institute mandatory “trigger warnings.” To top it off, they also demanded a minimum budget of $500,000 for “Diversity Initiatives.”

While these efforts for reform and an emphasis on diversity are great, this group is going about it the wrong way.

First of all, a campus group cannot force other UA organizations to attend training. The marginalized students’ ideals and values tell them that everyone would benefit from taking cultural sensitivity training, but does not mean their values must be validated and enforced.

As for the $500,000 diversity budget, what do they plan to do with it? That money will have to come from somewhere, and odds are, it would only force the UA to yet again raise tuition in order to make these students more comfortable.

The group states it plans to use such additional funding to hire more diverse faculty members, create residence hall communities specific to certain groups and employ more counselors to address the specific needs of different groups of students.

Their concerns and demands were certainly made with good intentions, but again, why do they feel the need to make this everyone else’s issue?

The UA campus is, for the most part, safe and tolerant toward students of all identities, ethnic groups, genders and walks of life. It baffles me these students have the audacity to decree our university is not doing and has not done enough for them.

These ideals and values should be taken and applied to schools and communities that actually need them. They’re justified concerns, but it’s excessive to push for them on a university campus that already has a welcoming and safe atmosphere.

Additionally, the UA has begun to address its issues of diversity and cultural awareness. In response to the recent protests, President Ann Weaver Hart announced a broad task force that will address and develop amicable solutions to issues concerning “the campus climate and lacking cultural competency.” This task force will not only serve to support the marginalized students, but also many other diverse groups on campus.

The group has only portrayed itself as entitled, brash, aggressive and indolent. While striving for reform is great, forcing changes and making demands will not yield a positive outcome or atmosphere. Thus, change needs to occur gradually and willingly for it to be effective and favorable for the entire campus.

Consequently, complying with the demands of these students would merely serve to marginalize other students and faculty in exchange for the comfort and emotional support of these students.

Since they have been given the opportunity to make a collaborative effort to meet some of their demands, they should work with the newly assembled task force to begin the journey to creating a more culturally-aware and diverse campus. 

Follow Michael Cortez on Twitter.

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