UCSB Associated Students (A.S.) is currently recruiting students to fill two vacant on-campus senator positions for the 2015-2016 school year.
Two elected on-campus senators — Open People’s Party candidate and first-year economics and accounting major David Xie and Free Thinking Patriots (FTP) party candidate and third-year communication major Brendan Korbas — resigned their elected positions. A.S. Internal Vice President elect and third-year sociology major Kimia Hashemian will be recruiting and appointing two new on-campus senators to fill the positions.
Three of the thirteen applicants will not begin attending UCSB until the fall and therefore do not yet qualify for the position. Hashemian will be interviewing the remaining ten to select two for the senatorial positions.
Incoming A.S. officials for the 2015-2016 school year will be sworn into office on May 20, and following that an ad hoc committee will be created to select two new senators to be approved by the A.S. Senate. The three on-campus senator elects, first-year political science major José Magaña, first-year art history major Lacy Wright and first-year economics and political science double major Nawar Nemeh will be sitting in on the interviews with Hashemian.
Korbas said he was required to resign from the position because he will not be living on campus next year.
“I’m not actually allowed to have the position because I’m not living on campus,” Korbas said. “I could have moved back to the dorms but I didn’t really want to.”
Korbas also said he initially ran for on-campus senator position after being encouraged by a friend in the FTP party.
“My friend told me to join his new party and made it sound like it wasn’t too much work, so I thought why not,” Korbas said.
Wright said she is unsure about the circumstances surrounding Xie’s resignation.
“I do not know the full context as to why David Xie resigned, but I am sure that he was doing what he felt was best for him and I support his decision,” Wright said in an email.
According to Hashemian, the low turnout for on-campus senator candidates during elections may be due to the requirement that on-campus senators must live in residence halls. Hashemian also said some students were applying to be Resident Assistants (RAs) at the time and were not allowed to apply for both simultaneously.
“For the on-campus senator positions, it is difficult to get many students to run because you have to live in the residence halls again, and most first years are living off campus [next year],” Hashemian said in an email. “Another reason could be that during the same time Senators choose to run is when RA interviews happen.”
Nemeh said A.S. positions require a large time commitment, and tuition increases going into effect this fall may put a financial strain on potential candidates.
“A.S. is a time commitment that a lot of students just can’t afford,” Nemeh said in an email. “With the tuition hikes going into place next year, less of us will have time to participate in our governance because we need to redirect our time to paying off our loans.”
Wright said on-campus senators should adequately represent the various types of students on campus.
“UCSB is really such a diverse community and I want our senate to represent the diverse ideas and interests on this campus,” Wright said in an email. “I am hoping for someone who is passionate about working to improve this campus.”
A.S. Elections Committee Chair and second-year political science major Fiona Hayman said student participation in the spring election this year was lower than previous years, and the Elections Committee aims for a greater number of student to turn out next year to participate in A.S.
“The number of students participating in the election was overall lower than in past years,” Hayman said in an email. “It is hard to put a finger on the reason why less students were involved, but Elections Committee plans to engage in increased outreach and publicity efforts to get more students interested in elections next year.”
According to Nemeh, on-campus senators should be cognizant of students’ needs and be motivated to make changes.
“We’re looking for people who want [to] create real, tangible change,” Nemeh said in an email. “The Senate needs students who are willing to go out there and find out what is it that students need.”
Hashemian said some students are not familiar with A.S. and therefore do not run for positions, an issue she said should be addressed.
“Most students are not as well informed on exactly what Senate is, therefore didn’t apply. I do believe there should be more effort into recruiting candidates,” Hashemian said in an email.
“Students should know what A.S. is from the beginning … spring elections should not be the first time students hear about A.S. Senate.”