The 2004 campus election season has arrived with candidates from three different parties vying for four Associated Students executive positions and 23 representative offices. Seven initiatives are also slated to appear on the ballot.
The final spring ballot with candidates’ names and ballot measures will be approved at tonight’s A.S. Legislative Council meeting, and students can vote in the election on GOLD between April 20 and 22.
The Students’ Party is new to the campus political scene this year, though its executive candidates currently serve on Legislative Council. Cervin Morris is running for president on the party’s ticket. He said the organization was formed with the goals of involving more people in A.S., and getting more publicity for A.S.’s activities and spending.
“We formed the Students’ Party because no one knows what goes on in A.S. – it’s really exclusive,” Morris said. “Students right now don’t really know where their money is going, and we need to be more fiscally transparent.”
Fernando Ramirez, the incumbent Student Action Coalition presidential candidate, said his party’s main goals are to amplify students’ voices in boards such as the Isla Vista Project Area Committee, as well as in academic departments on campus, and to keep student fees low. Ramirez said it is important for parties to be clear on their policies.
“There are a lot of differences between the parties, and when people just speak rhetoric it gets confusing,” he said. “We have a concrete, 10-point plan that students identify with.”
Student Unity Now, a party formed last year, is dedicated to issues such as sustainable development, tenants’ rights, campus safety and equality for all students, according to its website. Former Leg Council member Ginger Gonzaga will be the party’s candidate for president for the second year in a row. Gonzaga could not be reached for comment at press time.
Voters will also be asked to vote on seven lock-in fee initiatives. Among the lock-in fees is a $3 per undergraduate quarterly lock-in fee to fund the construction of the Broida Expressway bikepath. Another initiative would reaffirm the UCSB MTD Superticket fee of $9.38 per student per quarter, which allows free access to the bus system with a valid ACCESS card.
A $6 per student per quarter lock-in fee for Campus Learning Assistance Services will also be on the ballot, along with a $7 increase of Student Health Services’ fee.