Letters to the Editors

    Editor:

    As we approach spring quarter, it becomes time again to congratulate our friends and role models as they graduate and enter the real world. We want to make this a special time for those students who have put so much effort and struggle into earning a UC degree. Graduation should be a time for friends and family to join together to recognize these students for all of their hard work.

    But there are numerous other events held each year for graduating seniors that, while I don’t challenge their effectiveness in recognizing and appreciating these students, do seem to promote an atmosphere of exclusivity and isolation among the myriad cultural groups on this campus.

    Last year, the A.S. Council allocated $8,000 to fund six different cultural graduations. These ranged from the Asian Pacific-Islander Student Alliance and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan senior banquets to the LGBT graduation. While these events may provide a much more intimate and personal graduation feel, they come as a slap in the face to any group which does not hold its own graduation. It’s like saying “”Hey, we worked harder than you here, so we should get a special ceremony!”” When one closely and objectively analyzes what it takes to earn a diploma, one may only conclude ‹ it’s hard. No matter who you are, where you come from, or who your friends have been, we’ve all had to pull all-nighters and toss back a couple of Red Bulls to get the job done.

    We all should be recognized and feel rewarded for getting through this, and I don’t think any one cultural group necessarily has to work harder than another to get through (getting here, on the other hand, is a different story).

    Also, these events violate a whole slew of A.S. bylaws regarding things we cannot allocate student money for. We never allocate for things like food, permanent equipment, banners or decorations, and also awards or honors. Also, it is strictly against our bylaws to allocate to an event which is not open to all students. Not only are these seniors-only events, they are also exclusive in culture. A total of six bylaws would need to be suspended to fund these events. These bylaws are there for a reason; we should respect them.

    Most important, lets make sure we’re not promoting racism by holding an isolationist event. Sure, these graduation events are technically open to all seniors, but would a student feel comfortable going to a special ceremony held for a group different from his or her own ethnic identity?

    History has shown us time and again that segregation promotes fear of differences and eventually racism. Let’s promote campus (and community) unity by showing that we are proud to graduate with everyone in our class. Our graduations will mean that much more with the support and attendance of everyone in the graduating class. I ask the A.S. Council to please support legislation to reconsider the current $8,000 allocation to these restrictive and counter-progressive events.

    – Eric Webster

    A.S. Vice President Finance

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