COSWB, The Bottom Line Secure New Lock-in Funding; All Existing A.S. Fees Reaffirmed
Emotions were high Thursday night as Associated Students election and fee results were announced in the Hub, with the Open People’s Party sweeping every executive position and all but one senatorial seat and revealing two new initiatives — such as The Bottom Line’s lock-in fee — to have passed.
Jonathan Abboud, Kyley Scarlet, Alex Moore and Alex Choate — all members of O.P.P. — will be fulfilling the roles of A.S. president, Internal Vice President, External Vice President of Local Affairs and External Vice President of Statewide Affairs, respectively. Kristian “With a K” Whittaker, an independent candidate, will be holding the office of Student Attorney General and all senators, with the exception of the uncontested seat of university owned off-campus senator, will be representatives of O.P.P. In regards to new fee initiatives, the fee for the Commission on Student Well-Being and the campus publication The Bottom Line passed.
Megan Foronda, former presidential candidate of the DP party, said the lack of success that befell her party this year took a toll on party members, but will also serve as motivation for the group for years to come.
“We had a lot of heart, a lot of passion, a lot of time and energy that was invested into this campaign … we saw this campaign as more than just the campaign,” Foronda said. “I may not be expressing it right now, but I think it’s fair to say that we’re all very angry, emotional and disappointed.”
According to Abboud, O.P.P.’s success this year can be attributed primarily to the extensive planning, organizing and funding that went into preparing for this year’s campaign season.
“We were very organized. Everything was planned out way in advance, so there was no confusion anytime in the election,” Abboud said. “Everyone knew exactly what they were supposed to be doing — that was biggest thing. We had amazing campaign managers who did this all for us.”
Kaitlyn Christianson, this year’s EVPLA candidate from DP, said she was disappointed in the election results, not only for herself, but for the student body.
“There’re a lot of good candidates on both sides. I believe in our senators and last year’s O.P.P. senators, but this year, when I would go to a campaign, to a forum, to an event, I couldn’t go without seeing DP members putting in work,” Christianson said. “I couldn’t go to any event without seeing DP members there doing hard work.”
Sophia Armen, the incumbent A.S. President, said this election was a reaffirmation of her belief that the party system at UCSB is not the most productive method for representing students in a unified and effective manner.
“I don’t think it’s the best system, and that’s been seen in my policy and I’ve reflected that,” Armen said. “But I’m not the only one in Associated Students.”
The recent controversy over the A.S. Senate’s decision to not divest from companies supportive of the Israeli government was a small factor in this year’s elections, according to O.P.P. Chair Sawyeh Maghsoodloo. However, Maghsoodloo said O.P.P. never took a stance on the issue of divestment, and the party never purposefully sought the support of groups for or against divesting from companies who gain from the Israeli government.
“I think that divestment did play a role in the election results. It wasn’t, by any means, us initiating support from that community. It was completely voluntary, and we didn’t even organize with that group,” Maghsoodloo said. “They were all kind of on their own, rallying for O.P.P. on their own initiative.”
With help from family, friends and the popular fundraising website gofundme.com, O.P.P. had a solid monetary support system to ensure the party was prepared for any obstacle, Abboud said.
“All the execs asked for family contributions, and all the senators paid $150 each,” Abboud said. “We all pooled our money together, and more than half was fundraising from family and friends back home.”
O.P.P. spent a total of $5,977.51 on their campaign, closely approaching the $6,000 limit imposed on parties for the election process. While the DP Party has not yet finalized their total budget, Christianson estimated the campaign costs accumulated to approximately $5,350.
Annalise Domenighini, executive managing editor of The Bottom Line, said the students’ willingness to support the new quarterly lock-in fee of $1.69 not only affirms the importance of print media but provides an opportunity to students looking to expand their journalistic capabilities.
“At TBL, we really like to pride ourselves on being a training organization, in addition to being a news organization. You are still allowed to join even if you don’t necessarily have any experience; we want to give it to you,” Domenighini said. “I’m really happy to see that students are still looking to print media, especially since print media is ‘dying’ and I’m very excited for the future of TBL.”