I’ve been involved in Associated Students for about four years now, probably one of the few that can recall the Ariel-like hair from our 2007-08 president, Stephanie Brower. Back when we didn’t have to take a TPS course to drive university vehicles and honorarium was pretty much non-existent. Point being, I have been part of the elections process for the past four years.
For the past four years I have witnessed Open People’s Party reign, and every year, except for this one, they have gotten away with illegal campaign tactics during elections. My first year, they were endorsed by the Rec Cen newsletter, a student fee publication that is supposed to remain neutral, because the editors were running with OPP. Although 5,000 newsletters were distributed all across campus and the entire OPP slate was endorsed, only the editors were disqualified. That year, OPP also stood outside Sam’s To Go and solicited students to vote by purchasing them whole sandwiches. That tactic was carried over to my second year as well. For my third year, from what I know, two major things happened. The External Vice President of Local Affairs candidate running with OPP committed fraud by using the Associated Students name for her party’s political gain during elections. She applied for a permit for a road closure using Associated Students’ name to close down Pardall Road, making it so that OPP would be the only party permitted to table during the week of voting, excluding DPP and B.O.S.S. In addition, OPP’s presidential candidate at that time was caught furnishing alcohol to minors during an elections-related party. The last time I checked, offering to get a minor drunk in exchange for votes wasn’t exactly legal.
Now this year, OPP was caught once again, engaging in illegal campaign tactics in order to get themselves elected. And no, Chloe Styker, only because you and your party have been able to get away with it these past years does not make it all right. Political parties at other campuses such as UCSD and UCB have had their entire slates disqualified for half of the infractions that OPP members have committed.
What they did is illegal, and yes, I know that shady things happen every election season, but OPP was caught and rather than tainting the Association’s name by refusing to give up their seats, they should grow up and deal with the consequences of their actions. I’m upset that these elected officials are receiving thousands of dollars from student fees even after they were caught engaging in illicit behavior. Next time my bank account runs low, I’ll make a note to run for student government and furnish alcohol to minors, because apparently that’s the best way to get elected, knowing that even if I were to get caught by elections committee, I would still receive complete honoraria. I’m mostly referring to the thousands of dollars that the executive officials receive. The executives not only receive $400 every quarter for holding their position, but they also get their tuition paid for. Four executive members out of five were in violation of the elections legal code, yet all of them are still receiving full honorarium, meaning about $44,800 of student fees are being spent on people that got themselves elected by breaking the California State Law. And no, Ahmed Mostafa, I have no sympathy nor will I hesitate to pass judgment on elected officials that receive thousands of dollars from student fees — my student fees. If they are not willing to resign they should have the decency to give up their honoraria, however they are reaping the financial benefits of office and still have the audacity to challenge their 45 hours of community service.
Yes I’m upset. As a graduating senior with over thirty thousand dollars in debt, I’m very upset and demand justice.
David Preciado is a fourth-year Chican@ studies and sociology major.