Yesterday, the Associated Students Elections debate forums for the positions of External Vice President of Local Affairs and Internal Vice President took place at the UCen Hub, with candidates debating issues such as holding student representatives accountable and increasing safety measures in the Isla Vista community.
In regards to the forum for IVP, candidates debated issues related to increasing the accessibility of the government body to the rest of the student population as well as increasing the ‘diversity’ and ‘transparency’ of the Association. The IVP is the head of the A.S. Senate, the university’s student law-making body which holds weekly meetings that include distributing A.S. funds and other governmental affairs.
Later in the afternoon, the debates for the position of EVPLA — which deals with issues primarily related to I.V. — took place. Candidates debated issues such as community-building, legal representation for I.V. residents and better safety efforts for large local events like Halloween and Deltopia.
For the IVP debate, there was discussion of controversial A.S. topics like partisan lines that have sometimes existed in the Senate in past years, and the increasing number of senators resigning from the organization.
Open People’s Party candidate and current A.S. senator Kyley Scarlet said fostering an inclusive environment requires that the A.S. Senate not become divided on party lines.
“After we get elected in the spring, we are not from different parties … We are all on the same team, and therefore making the senators realize that we all ran together to make a change — to do something different on this campus — is essential,” Scarlet said.
In dealing with the marginalized communities in Isla Vista and on campus, independent candidate for the IVP seat, Martin Polanco, said his personal experience as a potentially marginalized individual has not prevented him from integrating himself into the UCSB community.
“Considering myself — as Latino, Hispanic or Mexican — I could be part of a marginalized community, but I feel that I’m not,” Polanco said. “I’m in a community, and I’m going to reach out to these other communities to find equal common ground so we can act together and make a difference.”
As for reaching out to the general student body, Juan Galvan — Democratic Process Party candidate and current A.S. senator — said the association must be proactive in their recruitment efforts and attempts to make themselves more accessible to other students.
“As IVP, as the leader of the association, I see it more as a facilitator,” Galvan said. “You have to really facilitate and work within, internally first, to create these coalitions among the different [Boards, Commissions and Committees] and create projects together — in order to be more open to the outside.”
The two candidates vying for the spot of External Vice President of Local Affairs, Kaitlyn Christianson of the DP party and OPP’s Alexander Moore, spoke on a myriad of issues — such as keeping Isla Vista a tight-knit community and pushing for increased safety measures that would protect all residents.
With last week’s Deltopia still fresh in the minds of students, candidates were asked how they would handle the growing issue of safety and crime in the community.
Moore, who has worked in Isla Vista as a medical first responder during Halloween, said it is necessary to make law enforcement more accessible to students while also providing bystander intervention training to the community.
Given the 23,000 residents living in I.V. and mere eight to 12 police officers patrolling the area, Christianson said it is necessary for the EVPLA and other campus entities — such as CSO officers — to better contribute to legal patrolling in I.V. Like Moore, Christianson also expressed the need to encourage bystander intervention in emergency situations.
Since large-scale I.V. events are here to stay, the EVPLA Office must make efforts to educate the next generation of I.V. residents, Christianson said.
“You have thousands of freshmen that are going to participate in these events, and their first glance is I.V. on a Friday night,” Christianson said. “I think the EVPLA office needs to go into the dorms and talk to them about these issues, representing I.V. in a positive light.”
However, Moore’s solution to handling I.V.’s biggest parties is to reduce the amount of out-of-towners and to educate non-local police forces, who are oftentimes transferred into I.V. for these events, on students’ needs.
“We need to be sure that out of town law enforcement that gets brought in to control these events is sensitive to students’ needs … A lot of times, LAPD and UCPD from other schools aren’t as sensitive to student needs and student rights as they should be. One of the things I really want to do is to make sure that those folks undergo training.”
The debate also touched on better representing I.V. at the county level and keeping the community inclusive of all residents.
According to Moore, I.V. has gone through a series of development projects — such as new residential buildings like The Loop — resulting in costly living conditions for students.
“Those buildings can cost more than $1,000 per bed. I can’t afford those; I know our local community members can’t afford those, and neither can our permanent residents,” Moore said. “Gentrification is a problem in Isla Vista, and we need to manage it by re-evaluating the Isla Vista Master Plan … I really hope not to necessarily combat development, but to really improve on the plans set.”
Furthermore, Christianson said the development of I.V. has taken advantage of student residents and local families alike.
“Most of us have to live in I.V. — it’s close to campus, easy, accessible and we love I.V … Landlords know this and so they take advantage of these students and raise prices,” Christianson said. “There was an eviction of these families on Embarcadero del Mar this year, where they essentially told the families to get out because they were going to remodel and the families didn’t know they were being kicked out so they can raise prices.”
A version of this article appeared on page 4 of the April 11th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus