The Associated Students of the University of Arizona held meetings over Zoom during the 2020-21 school year. Its major accomplishment was the passage of resolutions concerning diversity, equity and inclusion.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
On Feb. 17, 2021, two resolutions regarding diversity, equity and inclusion within ASUA-backed clubs passed unanimously within the Senate.
The general ideas to focus on diversity and inclusion were first introduced on Sept. 2, 2020 by Senator At-Large Lady Elli, chairperson for the projects and outreach committee. Later on, ASUA senators began reaching out to the diversity and inclusion committees within their respective colleges to learn how the resolutions could be best implemented. The resolutions were written both by Elli and Senator Jack Haskins of the College of Fine Arts.
The first resolution required clubs backed by the ASUA to acknowledge at the beginning of each club meeting and incorporate into their constitutions that the land on which the UA is located was once home to Indigenous peoples years prior, known as the UA’s land acknowledgement statement.
The resolution stated, “in its role and responsibility to engage the student body as well as positively change the culture of campus, it is imperative for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona to restructure club meetings and events.”
The second resolution expanded on DEI student leadership training and the university’s nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policy.
More specifically, the resolution mentions, “the University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy was created to prohibit discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and genetic information … ASUA must establish its firm support for the University’s policy by restructuring the club culture.”
Regarding the second resolution, executive board members of each ASUA-backed club must take ASUA student organization leadership training, incorporating the nondiscrimination and anti-harassment modules, which must also be added to clubs’ constitutions.
Additionally, the resolution makes it necessary for all clubs to create a safe space for discussion and the education of its members regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. Clubs will also have to organize a nondiscrimination and anti-harassment training annually overseen by an organization officially recognized by the UA.
Funding and Future Plans
Twice this school year, ASUA allocated funds to Campus Closet, a non-profit organized by students that provides professional clothing to other students and faculty who do not have the means to purchase it. The funds aided Campus Closet in its distributions, such as helping them expand their supplies and storage.
While passed during the 2019-20 academic year, next semester will be the start of the ASUA House of Representatives and the addition of 29 appointed members of the student body.
Its beginning will mark the change of ASUA in its operations, which will resemble that of the United States bicameral legislature. The new chamber of student government will operate similar to the ASUA Senate in the passage of legislation.
Starting in September, the 2021-22 ASUA Senate class will begin their positions. There will be eight college-specific senators, three at-large senators and three executive members. The newly elected members are as follows:
- President: Noah Vega
- Administrative Vice President: Kyle Kline
- Executive Vice President: Alexandra Devereux
- Senators At-large: Lady Elli, Jordan Isaiah Toyos and Giselle Lugo
- Eller College of Management: Jack Healy
- College of Social and Behavioral Sciences: Sydney Mathis
- College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture: Lauren Heath
- College of Education: Elsa Ayon
- College of Engineering: Swathi Ramkumar
- College of Fine Arts: Jack Haskins
- College of Nursing: Paige Campbell
- College of Science: Louise Lalescu
The elections ran from March 30-31, with the winners being announced on April 1. Looking towards next year, many of the elects share the same vision for ASUA and how they intend to support the students as they begin returning to campus.
“I am excited to work with my future Senate class because we all come from various backgrounds and the one thing we have in common is our passion to serve the student body with our ideas and platforms,” said newly elected Senator At-large Jordan-Isaiah Toyos via email, echoing many other electees’ comments to the Daily Wildcat post-election.
The future executives are excited to begin fulfilling the work they proposed in their platforms, like Counseling and Psych Services funding and a basic resource center for Noah Vega, creating connections between students and the people in charge for Alexandra Devereux and serving the campus community equitably for Kyle Kline.
“I want to represent the student body, and their wants, needs, concerns, and insights. I know that all of the amazing senators and executive members that were elected have that in mind as well, and I can't wait to start working with them,” said future Senator At-large Giselle Lugo in an email, “We're all going to make it happen, together.”