Since I started attending UCSB back in 2002, Associated Students has not been the organization it claims it to be. Though supposedly providing numerous services to the campus, very few are actually used by the students on a regular basis, and funds that could be used for the good of all generally go to special groups, leaving the average student in the cold. The problems are due partially to a lack of funding, but most importantly to poor leadership and decision making within A.S. Recent criminal charges against A.S. President Cervin Morris, regardless of the verdict, have done nothing but harm UCSB’s reputation. The time has come for a change in leadership. We need people who do more than just join the system, but rather people to overhaul it and bring A.S. back to the students.

Let me start by saying that A.S. does provide some funding for good causes and for that I applaud them. I enjoy going to shows and having some of my lock-in fees go to useful organizations like Student Health Services. Other areas where A.S. has discretion in providing funds need to be looked at, as well. Just recently, A.S. spent over two-thirds of their Winter Quarter budget, allocating funds to programs that will help approximately 50 people each. I am supportive of good causes and campus events, but paying for special programs for people with isolated interests does not help the students as a whole. That money could go to more useful places such as the Health Center. Rec Cen or even for cheaper readers.

The recent A.S. budget fee initiative was not well planned, and therefore failed. While it is true that their budget has remained somewhat constant over the years, a general fee was not in the interest of the campus. People will only support fee increases if they know the money will be used for something useful. Student Health lock-in fees passed because the student body values that. We obviously do not trust our leaders in A.S. enough to give them free reign over our money like they asked. It is my hope that the next leaders will do enough to gain the trust of their constituency, which will make a general fee increase possible.

Part of the problem arises from the current A.S. administration. Though they say they are doing more for us and claim to be more visible, it is hard to see. Instead of simply being visible for the students, show us what you are doing. Show us what you want to accomplish. We can bring you ideas, but what are you doing with them? The Students’ Party, while claiming to be radically different, has not shown that it is any better or any different than parties in the past.

On top of this, the recent criminal charges against Morris are hurting the reputation of everyone at UCSB. As a spokesman for the entire student body, Morris should set an example for everyone here. He needs to show the outside populace what we are made of. Even if he is acquitted on the felony charges, he still assaulted someone at a party and this image will linger. Our school, even with all of its awards, still has a reputation of being a party school. This does not help it at all.

I am not calling for Morris to step down immediately. It is part of being an American to live with our choices, regardless of how poor they were. If Morris is convicted, then it will be appropriate for him to resign. Until then, however, I will not comment on the case. I am asking for the student body to take an active role in the polls this year and show the current party that we all want a change. A party is needed that will bring more to the entire campus and help bring us the recognition of being a wonderful school academically. We are one of the best, if not the best, UC campuses out there. I am asking the entire population to vote for me, Torrin Brooks, and the rest of my party in the upcoming A.S. election. Change is needed, and I can be your voice. It’s your money at stake here – please make the right decision.

Torrin Brooks is a junior political science and business economics major.