By Juan Calvillo
ASU candidate Jose Pelaez had one of his posters vandalized Thursday, with the words “You need to speak English first” written across it.
Emiliano Escobar, a member of Pelaez’ campaign group, showed the poster to the Associated Student Union after being notified by a fellow East Los Angeles College student.
Escobar said that after showing the poster to ASU he was given an email address to send pictures, but that nothing could be done at the time. Kelly Figueroa, another member of the campaign team, said that she heard of the incident through Escobar.
They noticed cameras on the bookstore and library, and they went to ask about the possibility of seeing the video. They were referred to the Sheriff’s office but found ELAC security members and explained the situation.
Escobar said that the security member was dismissive about the incident. This lead to Escobar walking the poster over to the Dream Resource Center and looking for further assistance. A member of the DRC emailed the Vice President of Student Services, Julie Benavides, and informed her of the situation.
Friday, Pelaez went to see ELAC president Marvin Martinez but was told he was unavailable. His secretary advised him that taking the poster down would be a good idea.
Pelaez and his campaign decided that posting on social media might get some reaction from ASU and the school.The postings drew the attention of other colleges, specifically former ELAC students and Cal State Los Angeles.
By Monday he was contacted by a member of the DRC suggesting he reach out to Dean of Student Services Sonia Lopez.
Pelaez, Escobar and Figueroa spoke at length with Lopez about the incident giving all the details of the events of that day.
Escobar said that Lopez told the group that events like this are common during election season.
“She said that whenever ASU has elections situations always come up,” said Figueroa.
Figueroa said that Lopez was adamant that she was not trying to be insensitive but that situations like this arise. Despite that being true, Figueroa and Escobar didn’t think that type of reaction was justified.
“That doesn’t give it a reason to be taken lightly,” said Figueroa. The group wanted the situation to be taken seriously and for something substintative to be done in reaction to what happened.
Lopez assured the group that ASU would be following up on the situation and release a statement about in response to the events of last week.
ASU released a statement Tuesday night that said,“ASU does not condone and will never accept this type of discriminatory behavior, because we as student leaders understand that we have an obligation to make sure that every student feels safe on campus at all times…”
In reaction to the events Pelaez quoted American author H. Jackson Brown Jr., “Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.”