Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Thursday, April 18, 2019

At Latinx-focused forum, Student Government candidates address funds for multicultural organizations, intersectionality

Election results will be announced Wednesday night

At Latinx-focused forum, Student Government candidates address funds for multicultural organizations, intersectionality

(From left to right) AUSG candidates Analyza Jenkins (representative for Joshua Dantzler), Angela Chen, Carolyn Mejia, Clifford Young (representative for Mulan Burgess), Danya Adams, James Kwon, and Bobby Zitzmann speak at the Elevating Latinx Voices: SG Open Caucus on March 26, 2019. 

At the final candidate forum before voting closed Wednesday, candidates for the 2019-2020 SG executive board answered questions about the use of university resources to support marginalized communities and how they would promote intersectionality at the “Elevating Latinx Voices: SG Open Caucus” on Tuesday night. Election results will be announced tonight. 

The event was hosted by the AU League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Latinx & American Student Organization (LASO), The Epsilon Chapter of Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/ Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc, and the Puerto Rican Student Organization (PRSO). 

Students Rafael Cestero and Danielle Vinales moderated the panel, concentrating on the candidates’ experiences and goals concerning advocacy and representation for AU’s Latinx community. 

“To everyone that’s in the room, especially the organizations: thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making this platform possible,” Vinales said. 

Students asked the candidates why the Latinx community should put trust in them. Joshua Dantzler, a sophomore running for president, pledged to show up to events and make himself accessible if elected, and said that he wanted to build better relationships with a diverse variety of student organizations. Dantzler also proposed monthly meetings with club leaders for communication and inclusion purposes. 

“God gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason,” Dantzler said. “As Student Government president, we have to listen - listen deeply and intensely.” 

Angela Chen, who is running for president, advocated for the creation of an AUSG multicultural programming fund specifically designated for use by organizations that represent marginalized and underrepresented communities.  

“I’m passionate about the voices that are being left out, both at the federal government level … and on campus as well,” Chen said. 

Carolyn Mejia, a candidate for vice president who received the endorsement of LASO and LULAC, explained she is proudly Latina and sees it as a core part of her identity. She said she wants to represent her community, but that other communities need that advocacy too. 

“It’s more than just being able to elevate the voices of student leaders,” Mejia said. “It’s also about … supporting their programming … and making sure those voices are brought to the table.”


Clifford Young, who spoke on behalf of Mulan Burgess, a candidate for vice president, explained that Burgess’ background allows him to identify with the struggles faced by the Latinx community. Burgess is putting himself through college after the death of his mother, and understands the need to identify with issues the community is facing, Young said. 

Danya Adams, a candidate for secretary, said she believes that SG hasn’t done enough for the Latinx community. She expressed concern over the way in which certain communities are easily forgotten, and advocated for internal changes to address these issues. 

“We need to hear everyone’s voices,” Adams said. 

James Kwon, a candidate for secretary, said that because he is part of multiple marginalized groups, specifically the Asian-American and LGBTQ+ communities, he understands what it’s like to deal with adversity. He said that he hopes to appoint people to his cabinet who are representative of often-overlooked groups, thereby building on representation and recognition. 


Bobby Zitzmann, the sole comptroller candidate, said that his platform addresses many of the core concerns of the Latinx community by concentrating on financial aid and tuition advocacy, along with diverting more funds directly to clubs. These efforts would help create more awareness for Latinx groups, allowing them to have the freedom to extend and diversify their programming, Zitzmann said. 

“The Latinx community shares the interests of a lot of students across campus,” Zitzmann said. “Retention [disproportionately affects] Latinx students. That’s why … I’m focusing on college affordability and fostering a better relationship between students and the financial aid office.”

dpapscun@theeagleonline.com  


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