Editorial: Senate should rectify mistake, confirm Zelaya
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07
Virtually every member of the Student Senate agreed Wednesday that curriculum and instruction graduate student Jose Zelaya was qualified to be Student Government vice president of diversity. Senators recognized Zelaya’s passion for representing marginalized and minority populations on campus, even applauding his commitment to the betterment of Texas A&M.
But Senate blocked Zelaya’s confirmation — not because of his qualifications or vision for the role, but because of his immigration status.
If Senate were to confirm an illegal immigrant for a leadership position, one student senator said, “I have no doubt he will do a great job. But it looks bad on this University.”
This sentiment was echoed by others who later voted against Zelaya, blocking his confirmation by four votes. With this single act, the Student Senate demonstrated it is more concerned with the University’s public image than the well being of the students it purports to represent.
Zelaya is not asking for Senate to take sides in a polarized immigration debate. He’s only asking for the opportunity to serve the student body through SGA. Senators would be foolish to deny this request a second time when they revisit his nomination in a meeting Tuesday night.
During the past several years, Zelaya took it upon himself to unify marginalized and minority campus groups, leading Latino students and working hand-in-hand with the Muslim Student Association, GLBT Aggies and black student organizations to increase campus appreciation of diversity. He didn’t wait for a job title or SGA approval, but identified a need in the A&M community and acted.
Zelaya has reached out to students whose political, religious and cultural backgrounds differ dramatically from his own, dispelling fears that he will only champion the causes that national media outlets have prescribed to Zelaya, namely the DREAM Act.
But senators ignored Zelaya’s body of work.
We have no doubt that Zelaya will serve the cause of diversity at A&M whether or not he is confirmed Tuesday, because that is the kind of Aggie he is. On Wednesday, senators voted against their organization’s best candidate to reach minority groups. Tuesday night, they can rectify this mistake.
The Battalion’s editorial opinion is determined by its Board of Opinion, with the editor in chief having final responsibility.
Editor in Chief senior applied math major
Opinion Editor junior biomedical sciences major
opinion columnist senior industrial engineering major