For the next three weeks, campus will be besieged by posters and flyers calling for students’ votes – the 2007 campuswide election season has begun.
This year 61 students are vying for 29 Associated Students positions, and six campus organizations are seeking reaffirmations of their lock-in fees. Last night at midnight, the official beginning of campaigning, student politicians staked out signs on the campus lawns and posted flyers throughout Isla Vista.
Two returning parties – Students’ Party and the Open People’s Party – represent the majority of those running, with 28 candidates for SP and 26 for OPP. Beginning at 8 a.m. on April 23, undergraduate and graduate students will be able to exercise their right to vote in the Spring Election by logging onto GOLD. Voting ends April 26 at 4 p.m.
Four campuswide reaffirmations and two A.S. lock-in fee reaffirmations will appear on this year’s ballot, along with 29 positions in Legislative Council and the five executive offices. New on the ballot this year is an additional executive officer position – the Student Advocate General – adding to the traditional four.
The Advocate General will serve as an adviser and director in the Office of the Student Advocate, which assists students with legal matters within the university, such as accusations of plagiarism or housing violations. Previously the position was appointed, but in the 2006 election, students passed an A.S. Constitutional Amendment that created the elected position.
Debates and forums for the executive and legislative candidates will be held at the MultiCultural Center Theater throughout the next two weeks. Tomorrow’s forum will begin at 12 p.m. and features the three presidential candidates. During Wednesday’s forum, the two Internal Vice President candidates will face off at 12 p.m. and the unopposed candidates for External Vice President of Local Affairs, External Vice President of Statewide Affairs and the Student Advocate General will take the stage at 1 p.m.
More information on the candidates and the election can be found on the A.S. website at www.as.ucsb.edu.
Tuyen Nguyen, a third-year Asian American studies major, is running for president with SP, which has held the most Leg Council positions for the past three years. Nguyen said SP is characterized by its involved and passionate members. Some of her personal goals for A.S. include providing additional social programming for students, as well as petitioning the university to give student government and campus organizations more office space, such as in the now vacant Women’s Center.
“I’m actively looking to improve and create a better community at UCSB and off-campus,” she said.
Nguyen said her previous experience and familiarity with A.S., which includes serving as an off-campus representative to Leg Council last year, is crucial to running the organization.
“A.S. is a huge, growing organization in a phase of change,” Nguyen said. “It’s essential to have A.S. experience to be within A.S.”
Meanwhile, OPP’s presidential candidate is Stephanie Brower, the current Residence Hall Association president – the same position held last year by current A.S. President Jared Goldschen. She said her party’s platform encompasses a wide array of goals and perspectives reflective of the student body, including fiscal responsibility with A.S. funds, the improvement of transportation and lighting and safety on campus.
“Our number one priority and focus is on issues that students have while they are here,” said Brower, a second-year business economics major. “As president, I would work with A.S., but also do a lot of what I was doing this year – representing students to the university.”
Seven students chose to run outside of the mainstream parties this election. Darren Reid Frawley, a fourth-year geography major, will run for president under his newly created Freedom Federation, of which he is the sole member.
Frawley said running as an independent would actually be beneficial to him, as it would keep him separate from the friction of partisan politics. His experience within student government includes working with the A.S. Recycling Program and the Disabled Students Program.
“I’m good at networking and communicating,” Frawley said. “I want to eliminate any misunderstandings between A.S. and the student body.”
As for the Internal Vice President position, Matt Jackson, SP’s candidate, was an off-campus rep this year with OPP. He said he changed parties due to his experiences on Leg Council this year.
“I enjoyed the way Students’ Party actively engaged in bringing issues to the table,” said Jackson, a second-year philosophy and law & society double major.
He said one of his goals is to promote communication within A.S. and between organizations. He said he is eager to provide strong support and knowledge of A.S. to incoming Leg Council members.
“I want to enlighten things for people,” Jackson said. “I can provide structure so people can have a good time. Our jobs [on A.S.] aren’t a pain; it’s something we enjoy.”
Running for Internal Vice President with OPP is Iain Taylor, a current on-campus rep and the council’s first pro-tempore – a position he describes as the “vice vice president.” Taylor said the role of an IVP is to be approachable and make Leg Council accessible to members by providing training and advice.
“You can’t provide leadership unless you give tools to the leaders,” said Taylor, a second-year linguistics major.
Beside his goals for the vice president position, Taylor said he wants to involve the whole student body in A.S.
“I want to inform newer and all students of how to get a bill passed and how to actually involve themselves,” Taylor said. “I plan to make meetings more public – I want to take the meetings and take A.S. to the students.”
Running unopposed and independently for student advocate general is Mark Regus, the current Office of the Student Advocate chief of staff. OSA was established last year and assigns caseworkers to students in need of help with university judicial processes.
“I’ve been with the Office of the Student Advocate since its founding and helped build it from the ground up,” said Regus, a third-year law & society major. “Next year, we’ll focus even more on doing casework for students and working with them on a day-to-day basis.”
The candidates for External Vice-President of both Local and Statewide Affairs are unopposed in the elections. Only Students’ Party has candidates running for the external offices – Christine Byon, the current statewide affairs organizing director, is the candidate for EVPSA, and Lindsey Quock, the current local affairs organizing director, is running for EVPLA. Both positions currently held by Byon and Quock are considered assistants to the respective vice presidential offices.
Byon said she plans to keep the focus of the EVPSA on lobbying for lower tuition.
“Information and education is a huge thing,” said Byon, a third-year communication and physical anthropology major. “The office’s goal is to try to get students informed about issues and speak on behalf of students in Sacramento and D.C.”
As EVPLA, Quock said she would concentrate on tenants’ rights, safety issues and improving relations between longtime I.V. residents and students.
“I love I.V.,” Quock, a second-year global studies major said. “It’s such a unique community, but it still needs improvements.”
Brower said OPP decided not to run candidates for the external vice president positions since the party felt SP best represented the interests of students in those areas.
“I want to see the strongest people in every position,” Brower said. “We felt [SP’s] focus is on external issues.”