To the Editor,
I write this letter with a heavy heart and deep concern for UNLV students, the campus, the community, and my safety. I was recently informed by three current UNLV CSUN (Consolidated Students of the University of Nevada) Student Government members that a CSUN Senator had plans to file a legal case with the elections board against me for wanting to become a CSUN Senator as an “illegal.” This senator is Rachel Stephens. The same senator who has run on campaigns with and was endorsed by our current CSUN President Mark Ciavola and number of the other individuals on the Rebels United circle who control CSUN. I am so disgusted and disheartened by the current leadership in CSUN. The three individuals who spoke to me said she was freely insulting me, calling me an “illegal” and even going as far as saying she would report me to the federal government to get me deported. This was all done on the third floor of the Student Union in the CSUN offices. Insultingly, CSUN is entirely funded by student fees; as a matriculated student, the money I work so hard to earn for tuition pays the salary Stephens enjoys as a senator.
I am a third-year History and Women’s Studies dual-major honor student at UNLV. In addition, I have a been a critical leader of a myriad of student organizations such as CSUN, the Rebel Pride Council, UNLV Spectrum, the Rebel Service Council, MEChA de UNLV, and the Alternative Spring Break program. I am involved in my university and campus because I passionately care. I never imagined my desire to better my campus and community could lead to something like this.
I am not illegal. I am undocumented—there’s a difference.
To say otherwise strips away my very humanity and defames me as a mere object of scorn and subjugation rather than a loving son, driven student and dedicated member of our community. My very brave and beautiful mom and dad brought me to the United States when I was a little less than two years old. Their hopes were for me to grow up in what they saw as the greatest place on Earth—America; to receive a good education, work hard, and have the opportunities they never had; to do with my life things beyond the imaginations and realities of living in the small pueblo they were raised in.
I am not writing this because I seek sympathy or even understanding. This is not about me. This is about the division, the hateful rhetoric and the many people on the third floor CSUN offices of the student union who continue to offend, disgrace, and disempower the UNLV student population. A lot of issues came to light with the recent elections invalidations, but the work is not done. Mark Ciavola and a gang of those under him have engaged in a number of ad hominem defamation of character campaigns—such as Stephens’ threat to deport me—that attack, humiliate, and silence specific people whom do not swear unyielding allegiance and walk in lockstep with their divide and conquer point of view. I will not be silenced. We need to be aware of the way the current UNLV Student Government leadership is treating the students they are supposed to serve and demand better.
-Jose Ramon Garcia