SUA President Ray Inoue. Photo by Stephen de Ropp
SUA President Ray Inoue. Photo by Stephen de Ropp

Dear Student Body,

I’ve spent my entire college career advocating for students and believing that student empowerment should be the forefront of any activist organization on campus. My friends, colleagues, and previous mentors and I have always tried to envision a student government that always protects students from poor governance from administration and legislators and empowers them to facilitate change on our campus. My role as president was to always to carry forth that vision of student empowerment and primarily meet with students the way students usually do. I loved the meetings by a knackered laundry-room in Kresge where we talked about campus expansion. I loved having students over at my small apartment and candidly and honestly speaking about overcrowding and tuition hikes. I loved the picnic table debriefs about systemic racism in the UC as well as within our own student governments.

But another role as SUA President is to promote the interests of the organization and protect our institution at all costs, and it became clear to me that there were fundamental cracks and shifting tides in our organization that limited the ability of our organization to flourish. I then realized that I am not the person who is able to fix that.

I consulted my family and loved ones, and decided before I went to sleep one night to step down as president so both the organization and I can find the stillness to grow. The same way a flower cannot grow on unsettled soil, I realized that the SUA and I must find a separate and steadier field for us to truly grow.

Thank you to those who have supported me throughout my student government years, and thank you to those who have been incredibly kind and patient with me as your SUA assembly-member, parliamentarian, and president. I wish the officers and the next president-elect the best of wishes, and I hope those who have endlessly supported me will continue to support the student union assembly. I will continue my work of supporting students in other spaces and hope that both the student union assembly and I will make a positive difference in student lives.

~Ray Inoue