External vice president for statewide affairs (EVPSA) candidates Eneri Rodriguez and Richard “Circus” Varghese debated yesterday in the Hub for a crowd of about 30 people.

During the debate, Rodriguez, a Leg Council representative and Program Board member, said she would fight for student fee autonomy, work to alleviate the housing crisis and try to bring more diversity to UCSB and the UC system. Rodriguez, a member of the Student Action Coalition party, said she would promote progressive values if elected.

“I believe education is a right and not a privilege,” Rodriguez said in her opening statement, before she outlined her experience in both A.S. and other campus groups.

In contrast, Varghese, a member of the People of Action party, called his lack of A.S. experience a benefit.

“I feel that my lack of being conditioned by what has been going on is my strength,” he said. “I am not here to add something to my rZsumZ. I am here to bolster student rights, to stand up for the community.”

Varghese described students’ apathy towards A.S. as one of the chief problems he would address if elected.

“I think it is important that [Associated Students] control the Regents and not vice versa,” he said. “I think A.S. should be responsible to the students. I want people to be involved. I want A.S. to be just what it means, an association of students.”

Rodriguez said the EVPSA should be very active in fighting for student causes.

“We cannot sit here and let the Regents tell us where and how to spend our money,” she said. “You are able to go to Regent meetings and tell them what is going down.”

Additionally, Rodriguez proposed an expansion in federal financial aid and Pell Grants to students.

Both candidates supported repealing SP-1, the UC Regent policy ending Affirmative Action. Rodriguez described the repeal of SP-1 as “incredibly crucial to increasing the diversity of students on campus.”

She asserted her belief that the ethnic makeup of the UC system should try to mirror the ethnic makeup of the state.