Friday, April 3

Students First! coalition no longer embodies its founding principles

By Kenneth Ramos, Tevita Folau & Katrina VÕ

One month ago, the American Indian Student Association, the Pacific Islands Student Association and the Vietnamese Student Union decided to leave the Students First! coalition.

Our organizations support and will continue to strive for the values that founded Students First!: access, retention, diversity, affordability, community engagement and a well-rounded university culminating to a shared true Bruin experience. However, we feel that the current coalition no longer embodies these ideals, nor does it truly represent or support our communities’ best interests.

Students First! has lost sight of its mission and its own founding principles, which is why we have ultimately decided to leave the coalition.

Furthermore, in working with the other organizations that endorse Students First!, we feel that some of our partners have constantly displayed disloyalty, dishonesty and ultimately disrespect to our organizations and others in the coalition. These organizations have continually attempted to force their political views on the coalition, while disregarding and dismissing the views of others. We feel as though we have been silenced, and our issues are ignored. Our organizations pride ourselves on a historical legacy of honesty, integrity and compassion, and we refuse to continue to work alongside organizations that do not uphold similar standards.

Our organizations will continue our political legacy by continuing to advocate for our communities and for all students’ needs. Although we will no longer be endorsing Students First!, we retain our right to endorse a candidate that does embody the principles that the coalition once stood for. We hope that in the future, our organizations and the other organizations involved with Students First! will reconvene and rebuild a coalition that is reflective of the principles that unite us as a community.

As John Wooden once said, “Never mistake activity for achievement.” We hope these words are kept in mind as we move forward and continue to serve our communities.

Ramos is the president of the American Indian Student Association. Folau is chair of the Pacific Islands Student Association. Võ is the president of the Vietnamese Student Union.

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