DAAP presidential candidate Agnes Aleobua said campus activism in defense of affirmative action has prepared her and vice-presidential candidate Ben Royal to be effective student government leaders.
“I’ve learned what it means to stand on principles,” Royal said. “Agnes and I are leaders who are prepared to stand on defense of affirmative action… to take up this fight in the most aggressive way.”
If the two lawsuits challenging the University’s admissions policies are appealed to the Supreme Court, Aleobua said the University will need decisive leaders “who can say, on TV to the media, that this is a pro-affirmative action campus that is prepared to defend its school’s integration.”
Aleobua said she has gained the experience she will need as MSA president from serving on MSA and working closely with several of its committees, as well as on organizations such as the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Racial Integration By Any Means Necessary and the African Students Association. Royal said he has also been an active member of BAMN and several MSA committees. Aleobua said her personal platform includes defending affirmative action and fighting sexism on campus.
“There’s been a turn toward saying that the problem is people don’t lock their doors or that there’s too much access to the dorms,” Aleobua said. “The question is, do we have a notion on this campus that women have rights?”
In addition to defending student rights on campus, Aleobua would like to provide more student groups with funding and eliminate some of MSA’s bureaucracy, which she said prevents students from understanding how the assembly works. Royal said alongside affirmative action, he plans to support the Graduate Employees Organization’s labor negotiations with the University.
Political Resolutions or Campus Projects
Aleobua: To fulfill its potential, MSA must take up any issue that affects students. Political issues are not counterposed with tangible student concerns, such as providing bus transportation and extending Central Campus Recreational Building hours. MSA needs leaders who can support both types of issues. MSA can impact the possible Supreme Court ruling by educating campuses around the country and stirring a new civil rights movement, but University students have yet to realize this power.
Aleobua: Confusion over affirmative action and its effectiveness still abounds among University students. DAAP must educate them on the policy and promote participation in a march on Washington. “We have to get people to get on buses and go down to the Supreme Court hearing; … I think it’s something students are prepared to do, and I think that means building coalitions with other student groups on campus.”
Royal: The University must lead a new national civil rights movement, because once the University gets the ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the nation will look to the University to lead the affirmative action fight. DAAP will build national support by traveling to other campuses and civil rights conferences.
The Effectiveness of MSA
Royal: More students signed DAAP’s petition to the Appeals Court last year than voted in the MSA election. “From our standpoint, that means that we have a better connection to the campus than MSA does.”
Aleobua: Because some MSA representatives do not understand the importance of resolutions in support of GEO negotiations or affirmative action, the assembly is doing a disservice to University students. MSA should be promoted as a “student union that is going to fight for students, so that if students have issues, they don’t wonder where they should go with their questions.”
Why they feel you should vote for them
Aleobua: “Now’s the time to defend something real, now’s the time to defend our school’s integration, now’s the time more than ever to vote DAAP.”