Alan Aja was the first student of an ethnic minority to be elected as president of the Student Government Association for the 1996-1997 academic year. He hoped to bridge communication between the administration and students through his platform that highlighted student rights, services, and safety. He also proudly claimed his Cuban heritage.
Alan recalled his time as a student and said that “Getting involved in SGA was an unapologetic means to ensure that underrepresented voices were heard in all policy spheres of the university. Student groups and organizations were calling for more faculty minority hiring and retention, and ensuring the curricula (general education/electives) more broadly represented our histories, contributions and the growing social and economic diversity of the state. But to center black and Latinx lives, we went "intersectional" (before that was a well-used term) so as to simultaneously confront gender, race and class inequities on campus. We marched against tuition increases, we rallied against racism, we created student committees that represented women, LGBTQ students and community college transfers. Empowering the small but growing Latinx community at the time was a matter of coalescing with other marginalized groups, and however the small gains against expected institutional to student-level resistance, it was worth every effort.” (email communication with exhibit curator)
University of Kentucky. (1997). Survival: 1997 Kentuckian. 103. Lexington, KY: Author.
Latino students, University of Kentucky, Alan Aja, Student Government Association, SGA, President, Inequality