Dedicated student advocate steps down as ASI president leaving vacancy


Courtesy of Diana Chavez

Diana Chavez steps down as ASI president and her position is now left empty.

An Associated Students Inc. (ASI) meeting in January served as the last time Diana Chavez would be president of the Cal State LA student body. ASI had hoped to be back in-person, but the meeting was completely virtual; just like Chavez’s presidency.

When Chavez was choosing between colleges, Cal State LA was not initially her preference. Rather, it was her bond with her sister that inspired her to apply, since her older sister was a freshman at Cal State LA at the time. 

Upon becoming a Golden Eagle, Chavez joined the debate team and initially “had no intention to be a part of ASI.” 

She also wasn’t sure about her plans for after college until she joined ASI.

“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but I just didn’t know how I was going to get there,” said Chavez.

Being ASI president wasn’t something she initially considered, but after serving in different roles at ASI, she felt compelled to work further with the organization.

When filling out the form to run in the ASI election, Chavez’s friend suggested that she run for president. That was all the encouragement she needed.

Chavez has always had a passion for advocacy and social justice, and that passion was clearly felt by those she worked alongside with.

Executive director of ASI, Barnaby Peake, said he saw the dedication that Chavez put into the organization. 

“She didn’t see ASI as a government, but rather a tool in which the voice of students could be heard,” he said. 

Peake also described how Chavez used Instagram to engage with the student body and how students’ concerns were the number one issue for her.

Last year, many California State University (CSU) campuses decided to hold non-traditional graduation ceremonies, including Cal State LA.

Chavez was not satisfied.

“Cal State LA is a Hispanic-Serving Institution,” she said. “We are a part of the statistics that society has decided should not succeed. These students deserve a traditional graduation to celebrate this accomplishment.” 

Despite coverage of the issue in campus news outlets and after meeting with the university’s president, William Covino, and pleading her case of why the students deserved a graduation, Chavez was left thinking she had not been able to convince him to change the plans. She felt as if she had failed her student body.

The following morning, Chavez noticed a missed call from Cal State LA. She then learned that Covino intended to announce in-person graduation ceremonies for both the 2020 and 2021 classes.

Chavez noted this as her proudest accomplishment, along with the fact that she is the first female person of color to be elected twice for the same role within ASI.

Chavez presided over her final meeting on Jan. 27 via Zoom. She decided to step down to completely focus on her studies as a graduate student in the Master of Public Administration and is slated to graduate in Spring 2023. 

ASI is overall a great experience if you want to get involved and create change at Cal State LA,” she said. “Your voice does matter, and it’s important that as an ASI member you must engage yourself in conversations that students will benefit from.”

Chavez hopes “future student leaders are not pushed back or scared to start or continue those relationships.”

She wants to see ASI continue to provide students with a way to spark change at the university.

Chavez hopes to apply her experience and education from CSULA in whatever elected position she hopes to hold in the future.

Due to the ASI constitutional procedures and many other currently vacant positions, the president’s position will remain vacant until further notice. Currently, meetings are being chaired by the Vice President of External Affairs and Advancement, Analiz Maramelojo. Currently, there are ten vacant positions ranging from the President’s position to many different representatives from different colleges.

To learn more about what ASI is doing for Golden Eagle students, visit its website.