As the elections for student government are rapidly approaching and campaigns are reaching a climax, we, the presidents of different UC campuses, wanted to give our two cents on the upcoming presidential candidates.
Bill Shiebler, the presidential candidate running with the Student Action Coalition, exemplifies each and every one of those qualities that we, as Associated Students presidents, have come to learn firsthand are critical to being an effective chief representative: an unwavering commitment to student power, a detailed platform and plan of action, a tremendous work ethic and experience working well with students and top-level administration alike.
We know Bill primarily in his capacity as chair of the Campus Action Committee for the University of California Student Association (UCSA). After only three months in this position, he led one of the most successful systemwide get-out-the-vote campaigns in recent memory. Faced with the responsibility of coordinating efforts to register 25,000 students and increase student voter turnout by 5 percent systemwide, he helped campuses develop organizing plans that ultimately allowed us to exceed these goals. With his leadership, UCSA registered over 30,000 students and increased systemwide voter turnout by 8 percent. This campaign demonstrated Bill’s unquestionable ability to reach out to, involve and unite thousands of students to build student power.
More recently, as the lead UC student organizer of the intersegmental Higher Education Budget Summit, Bill impressed us all with his ability to apply that growth in student power toward an agenda that understands and advances student interests. From this summit emerged an agenda to freeze student fee increases and stop cuts to financial aid, as well as to fund outreach programs and prevent the implementation of an excess unit fee policy. Bill was able to use his experience in finding concrete solutions to complex budgetary and political problems to help develop practical direct action plans to advance this agenda.
His extraordinary track record should be no surprise. Bill possesses a remarkable quality that distinguishes him from other student leaders and presidential hopefuls — he knows how to balance media-savvy direct action organizing with behind-the-scenes advocacy. Perhaps the best example of these complementary skills is his work at UC Regents’ meetings. At the meetings, he has held the regents accountable to students by getting them to offer more time and space to student speakers and by respectfully turning their attention away from their newspapers and instead to student voices that provide compelling evidence of the need for an affordable UC education. In addition, Bill was instrumental to cultivating regents’ allies to power the student campaign for affordable education. Bill’s tenacity in the face of administrative reluctance to financially prioritize student affordability has paid off as momentum most recently built to the point that regents openly signaled at their meeting in March that financial aid must become a higher university priority.
Bill Shiebler is an exceptional student leader with the skills and experience to be one of the most effective UC Associated Students presidents. So, next week during the voting days of campus elections, we urge you to vote for Bill Shiebler for A.S. president.
Allende Palma/Saracho is the UCLA Associated Students president, Jessica Pierce is the UCSC Student Union Assembly president and Jennifer Pae is the UCSD Associated Students president.