Studying at Carleton generally means a curriculum filled with rigor and accompanying sleepless nights. Studying at Carleton as a marginalized student generally means becoming an expert on life before stepping on campus. Becoming an expert on financial aid, housing, internship and externship resources, DACA laws and those for uncodumented students, healing generational trauma, remaining complacent, respectability and professionalism, being the backbone of your low-income family, gender and sexuality, and navigating the pervasive whiteness palpable on campus.
This is not something included in the brochures or in admission programs that target students as part of their diversity tactics. Throughout K-12, and even within conversations in higher education, this requisite of knowing how to “succeed”—that somehow whiteness and wealth remain unaffected by—is scapegoated and normalized by the term of “culture shock.” And this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it is part of the necessary context to understand where Black students, indigenous, queer, trans, and students of color are coming from and why we demand for change on campus because the bottom line is we are exhausted.
From the standpoint of having survived abuse on campus, navigating the precariousness of gender and sexuality, feeling frustrated with the difficulties attached to financial aid, and the lack of support as a result from institutionalized white pathology and apathy is what motivates me to run for CSA President. Now, I have been involved with the CSA Senate for over two years while also being a student-at-large organizer, and as such I want to be clear that becoming CSA President is not the panacea that it is made out to be.
One fact remains true: the role of being student body president sets precedent for policies and initiatives, is a leading voice on committees, pulls influence, and has access to intercollegiate student government leaders across the nation. This I believe is why it is so important for the CSA President to be someone who has the firsthand experience, the internationalist grassroots organizing experience, and the guts to lead that charge in a collective, assertive fashion.
Enough reforms. Enough waiting. Enough bureaucracy.
Although we have had a diverse set of presidents for a while now, the shortcomings have been linked to the lack of participation from fellow non-Black and white Senators who only join to sign off on those committed to action.
The CSA Senate’s status of unpopularity has little to do with its position, but instead is rooted in the atmosphere of the CSA Senate. For example, we often have meetings that go beyond two hours because students on the call were not prepared, have not done the work, and are posing solutions that are performatively, or at least short-term, solutions.
In response, and as I have shown in my organizing, under my leadership there will be a more robust reporting system with proper accountability, a direct collaboration with cultural orgs that does not involve creating more positions on CSA Senate because we already have far too many (around 30), and setting a tone that we have the ability to truly make this campus the livable and inspiring place, which my white peers seem to think of it as, for all students. And that starts with making college affordable.
This is what I believe radical loving means. It means a better transition for marginalized first-year students into campus in their dorm life, not having to fear that your professor or peers will misgender you or be racist, having catered mental health resources to your identity, continuing to support initiatives that center gender-sensitive training and preventive responses to sexual misconduct, and much more. This must also go beyond adding an extra graduation requirement or other checking-off-the-box styled solutions. It has to be embedded into all aspects of student life because although we as students cannot solve the global structures directly afflicting us within our four years, we most certainly can provide a refuge and make those four years a place to build the leaders who can.
Vote Ale for President, Delina for Vice President, Rahul for treasurer and Mel for Public Relations Officer. Join us in Radical Loving so we can make Carleton a place of Radical Living.
You can all check my platform to see what initiatives or goals I have outlined in my campaign instagram page: @Ale.4.CSA