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ASUW hopefuls discuss diversity

With an air more like freshmen orientation than a strict debate, 16 students running for officer positions in next year's ASUW discussed the topic of diversity last night at the Ethnic Cultural Center (ECC).

The 90-minute event, held by the Multicultural Think Tank (MTT), began with icebreaking activities -- an introduction of not just the candidates, but of everyone in attendance.

The only candidates not in attendance were presidential candidate John Heylin, editor of The Weekly Enema, and former UW Young Democrats President Brendan Levy, who is running for director of community relations.

While the environment was lax, the discussion of diversity on the UW campus was a serious topic. All three attendees running for ASUW president -- Sheridan Gray, Lee Dunbar and Michael Calac -- stated they would work toward diversity efforts if elected.

Gray, currently the ASUW director of operations, stated he wanted to work with leaders of the ECC and Office of Minority Affairs (OMA) to present a proposal to UW administrators on the future of the ECC building.

"You deserve to have this plan renovated or moved to wherever you like," he said. "For two years now, there's been a outcry for something. I'd like to get a unified proposal concerning that."

Gray also discussed a potential diversity monument on campus and said that he would work through the bureaucracy to see it happen.

Dunbar, the Residence Hall Student Association president, stated he wanted to make student government more open.

"ASUW will listen to [students] and engage them. Not just in the ASUW office, but in the ECC, in other community centers," he said.

Calac, who decided to run for president last week, stated communication and inclusiveness as two central ideas in his campaign.

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