Ah, spring time in Santa Barbara. I have come to love this time of year. With everyone spending more time outside and wanting to have fun, the beach lights up once more. After four years at this school, I have come to love everything about spring – except elections. For the entire month of April, hundreds of people on this campus turn on each other. After a while, everyone literally smells and throws mud in the form of leaflets and pamphlets through the Arbor. I have always been more than happy to stay out of this popularity contest we call an election. I have never sported a shirt, tabled or informed others about any political party.
I have reached a breaking point with all this campaigning this year. I have never been so disappointed with a group of students as I am with OPP. The so-called Open People’s Party has confused me since I first saw a friend sporting the shirt. I didn’t understand how she could be down with “Other People’s Property,” which also means “Other People’s Pussy,” or why it mattered to anyone at this school. But then I realized that this group of fiscally conservative students – deny it all you want, but that’s what “bringing the money back home” really means – had taken over the name to a ridiculously disrespectful and dirty song to call themselves “Open.” Telling me that they’re down with OPP does not feel “open” to me. It actually feels degrading.
I’m not here to argue that the name of their party is stupid or offensive; it’s entirely too late for that. I am, however, writing this in response to a flier I got from the OPP table earlier this week. In it, OPP has flat-out lied about its involvement in student organizations and statistics. Although I could question much of what OPP stands for and has written, I was most perturbed by the blatant fabrication that OPP is “currently involved in [the] A.S. Organization, Take Back the Night.” As a member of the organization for the past three years and chair for two, I can guarantee that no member on the slate for OPP is currently or has ever been “involved” in organizing Take Back the Night. Our event is next week. You’ll start seeing our navy blue shirts competing for space among the bright blue and green sea of students. It is an organization dedicated to providing support to survivors of sexual assault. Throughout our history, we have fought to stay away from politics. Survivors come from all different racial, cultural, sexual and political backgrounds. By being involved in any election, be it on the federal, state, local or school level, we could possibly alienate survivors that may be helped by what we have to offer. By directly relating themselves to our organization, OPP has wrongfully related Take Back the Night to them. Take Back the Night was never asked to be included on this list or to endorse them.
When I learned of this factual misprint, I began going about filing a formal complaint against OPP for illegal campaigning techniques. I started talking to people in A.S., asking how to file a complaint and telling them where I was coming from. I was not surprised that multiple complaints were being filed by some of the other organizations listed that members of OPP “are currently involved in.” I am amazed that they are bold enough to claim that they are involved in Take Back the Night considering that our meetings consist of seven core members that plan next week. We are all close-knit and support each other in everything that we do. I think we would remember if one of our members is running with OPP. Furthermore, I do not believe that any member of our organization would actively support a party that names themselves after “other people’s pussies.”
I have never voted for Student’s Party. I have never liked their roots or slate. This year, I plan to vote for them. I feel that they are actually here for the students. I used to swear off green for two weeks. I have never advertised a party, but now you will see me sporting green. I cannot let a party that fudges their r