Kate Stenvig, a Rackham graduate student from Royal Oak, Mich., is the Defend Affirmative Action Party’s candidate for president of the Michigan Student Assembly. She has been a member of DAAP since 1999.
Stenvig said DAAP emphasizes the importance of maintaining a “diverse, integrated, affordable” campus.
“That means opening up U of M to really make it what a public university should be, a university that is accessible to everyone and is not exclusive,” she said. “We want an increase in minority student enrollment. We want the campus to be a sanctuary for immigrants. We want affordable education.”
Stenvig said DAAP is unique because of its persistence in supporting its members’ opinions, emphasizing student opinions rather than the administrators’ views.
“I think what’s different about DAAP is that we’re not afraid to disagree with the administration,” she said. “We recognize that there are going to be differences, that we’re not always going to agree.”
DAAP supports increasing opportunities for minority and lower income students to attend the University through increasing financial aid and freezing tuition among other things, Stenvig said.
“We want affordable education,” she said. “We want the money that’s coming for public education to mean more accessible education for all students, for minority students, for immigrant students and for poor and working class students.”
DAAP formed in 1997 in response to the affirmative action cases that were brought against the University around the same time. The party’s website cites the importance of maintaining a diverse atmosphere.
“The current policies that result in the exclusion of talented minority, immigrant and poor and working class students are not only unjust, they are unviable and harmful to the advancement of society and human progress,” the website reads.
“We cannot allow so many of America’s most talented youth to be excluded from our campuses and denied an education because they are black, Latina/o or poor,” the website continues. “If we are to advance as a society and solve the vast problems facing humanity. We cannot simply afford to throw away talent and potential.”