The candidates for off-campus senator kicked off the second day of campaigning on Tuesday, meeting at the candidate forum in The Hub to relay their stances on various issues as potential senators.
Taking part in the off-campus senator forum were five Isla Vista Party candidates — Brandon Mora, Sami Kaayal, Veronica Leeman, Alexandra Gessesse and Ilene Ochoa — and six Campus United candidates — Kristen Armellini, Adham Btaddini, Deepika Chandrashekar, Sophia Dycaico, Sam Cook and Dominick DiCesare.
Campus United candidates for off-campus senator — Alison Sir, Adnan Mansur, Anthony Pimentel, Evan Quash and Dhishal Jayasinghe — participated in the forum with the collegiate senator candidates due to an Elections Board scheduling mishap.
Candidates Carla Martinez, Siboney Arias, Mara Joy Abubo and Justin Deckard did not show for Tuesday’s forum.
Each candidate was given one minute to introduce themselves and their party position. Steven Kwok, the forum moderator, posed two questions for candidate response, allotting one minute each. The candidates were allocated 30 seconds for final remarks.
Kwok first asked the candidates how they would ensure that the LGBTQ community on campus feels safe and recognized. The second question addressed the role the university should play regarding Deltopia.
Responses to the issues presented by these questions and overarching goals were identified by each candidate as summarized below:
- Ochoa, a third-year communication major, said she hoped for a greater presence for the LGBTQ community on campus. Regarding Deltopia, Ochoa said the successful community outreach done by UC Isla Vista (UCIV) this year was indicative of what the I.V. community should represent.
- Cook, a first-year political science major, said he understands the importance in providing a space for the LGBTQ community to share their voice. As vice president of Santa Catalina Hall Council, he said he has helped to created events for LGBTQ students in the hall. Cook said the UCIV program played a crucial role in Deltopia this year, and the university’s provision of the Warm Up concert was a great incentive as well, proving that “the University has truly come full circle on how they view Deltopia and it will only get better from here.”
- Mora, a third-year political science and sociology double major, said he would like to see the expansion of non-gendered bathrooms on campus so the LGBTQ community can be more included on campus. Mora said the university should ensure that the police presence in Isla Vista stays true to the approachable demeanor they held this year, rather than the more hostile demeanor Mora said the police assumed in prior years.
- Gessesse, a first-year history of public policy and sociology double major, said she wants to expand the definition of safe spaces for the LGBTQ community on campus to include restrooms and bathrooms. Gessesse said she wants the university to work closely alongside the I.V. Community Services District (CSD) during Deltopia. According to Gessesse, “the university spent a lot of money on advertisements that could be geared towards partnership towards creating safety with I.V. CSD.”
- Btaddini, a second-year political science major, said he wants to “empower the students here that are making an effort to fight for the LGBTQ community and represent students on campus.” Regarding the university’s role during Deltopia, Btaddini said the university should foster the kind of culture that does not punish students on big events, but looks out for their safety.
- Dycaico, a second-year history of public policy major, said if elected, she plans to reach out to LGBTQ communities to ensure they are heard and represented. She said the role the university plays in holding alternative events during Deltopia is an effective safety measure, especially when coupled with the help of UCIV.
- DiCesare, a third-year computer science major, said he plans to use his platform “to bring different groups and ideologies on this campus together so we can have a better environment for this campus no matter who you are or what you identify as.” DiCesare said he believes students, as members of the university and as a part of the Isla Vista community, should all take steps during Deltopia to ensure that students are safe in all instances.
- Leeman, a second-year mathematical science and German double major, said she wants to reach out to professors to ensure they are incorporating “inclusive language in their syllabi and lectures” for the LGBTQ community. Leeman said the university’s role during Deltopia should be more proactive and less reactive and focus on educating students about why it is in their best interest to protect Isla Vista.
- Chandrashekar, a first-year communication major, said that if elected, she plans on making it a point to start a conversation with the LGBTQ community, go to their meetings and hear what their concerns are. She also said students should have a voice in regard to the university funding of precautionary advertisements against Deltopia and where that funding may be better spent.
- Kaayal, a second-year biology major, said he hopes to promote as many safe spaces on campus for the LGBTQ community as possible. Concerning the university’s role during Deltopia, Kaayal said he hopes to promote the idea of community policing. He said he believes the university should increase the jurisdiction of CSOs instead of bringing police in from other areas.
- Armellini, a second-year history of public policy major, said she wants to “amplify” the voices in the LGBTQ community and “make sure they’re heard and taken care of.” She said the University’s approach to Deltopia should involve providing students with education, events and communication.
- Mansur, a third-year statistics major, said he wants to help students get jobs after graduation, and plans to make Career Services more accessible. He also wants to increase alumni connections with current students. If elected, he said he wants to help students know where their student fees are going.
- Sir, a first-year political science major, said she wants to represent minority communities and increase visibility of student resources. If elected, Sir said she wants to expand the A.S. Food Bank to Isla Vista so students can have access to it when off campus.
- Pimentel, a second-year political major, said he wants to help keep student fees affordable and facilitate student-run businesses. If elected, he said he wants to serve as the liaison between the student body and the university administration and use A.S. to empower students.
- Quash, a first-year statistical science and black studies double major, said he wants to increase off-campus students’ representation. If elected, Quash said he plans to achieve his goals as a senator through maintaining an open dialogue between A.S. and the administration to address issues such as college affordability.
- Jayasinghe, a second-year philosophy and global studies double major, said he wants to fix the biggest problems in Isla Vista including parking and work alongside the CSD. If elected, Jayasinghe said he hopes to use his experience of working in the External Vice President of Local Affairs (EVPLA) office to improve the community and open the dialogue to include all opinions.
Campaigning for A.S. Elections began Sunday and will continue for the next two weeks until voting results are announced on the night of April 27.
Profiles of all 51 A.S. candidates can be found here.