A sofa, a La-Z-Boy and a rocking chair — that’s how Associated Students presidential candidates Chaz Whatley, Bill Shiebler and Torrin Brooks responded, respectively, to the question, “If you were a piece of furniture, what would you be?” at the third and final debate for this quarter’s A.S. election.
The three presidential candidates met in the UCen Hub on Wednesday at noon. Whatley, of the Students’ Party (SP); Shiebler, of the Student Action Coalition (SAC); and Torrin Brooks, of the unofficially named “A.S. Holes,” talked about the planned strike of UCSB service workers and the A.S. Finance Board lock-in fee. The candidates also answered questions from the approximately 50 audience members who had come to watch the debate. Brooks used a quirky question from the audience to help push his campaign.
“I’d be a rocking chair because I rock! Vote for Torrin,” Brooks said.
Whatley said SAC’s focus on student action hinders its ability to give students a voice, the main platform of SP this quarter. Without a voice behind it to give it meaning, the SAC logo of a clenched fist for action is ineffective, she said.
“What is a fist without a mic?” Whatley said.
Shiebler, in turn, talked positively about the way SAC concentrates on action and accomplishments.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Shiebler said. “There’s no amount of talk that will actually get it done. You say you don’t agree with my ideals. SAC stands for access, accountability and diversity. If those aren’t some important ideals to you, I would question your role as A.S. president.”
Brooks said his status as an independent candidate gives him a certain advantage over his opponents.
“I don’t have a lot of experience, but I’ve read the constitution,” Brooks said. “As an independent, I don’t have to answer to any party. I only have to answer to the student… I’m able to talk to anybody and not be constrained by a party.”
Shiebler and Whatley also talked about the importance of students supporting UCSB employees in their fight for a contract. Whatley said unity on campus was important.
“I think the strike is a good thing,” she said. “[We should] be a cohesive unit for them so that they can show they have a united front. I wholeheartedly support the strike.”
Shiebler also spoke in favor of the workers because he said they earn wages 20-25 percent below market value.
“I’m helping to organize [the protest] with people from SAC and other organizations,” Shiebler said. “It’s time that the students stand together with the workers.”
Whatley and Shiebler disagreed, however, on the merits of a Finance Board lock-in fee. While Whatley said she did not support it, because student groups can simply apply for their own lock-in fees, Shiebler claimed the lock-in fee was in students’ best interest.
“It is the student’s responsibility to provide funding for students,” Shiebler said. ” A lock-in would also be much better than a base fee, which is what would probably end up happening. That would cost the students much more money in the long run.”