Monday morning, students were greeted with a flurry of campaign signs signaling the beginning of three weeks of posters dotting the campus, T-shirts declaring party affiliations and fellow students pleading for votes – the 2008 Associated Students election season has officially commenced.
This year, 62 students are vying for 29 A.S. positions and four student fees are up for reaffirmations. The fees include the University Children’s Center, Campus Learning Assistance Services, Student Health and the UCSB/MTD Superticket Bus Program.
Beginning at 8 a.m. on April 21, students will have the possibility of voting in the Spring Election by logging onto GOLD. Voting ends April 24 at 4 p.m.
One returning party, Open People’s Party, and one new party, StudentVoice!, represent the majority of candidates seeking positions. As for the candidate’s party affiliations, 27 individuals associate themselves with StudentVoice!, 29 with OPP and six identify themselves as independent or undecided.
Debates and forums for the executive candidates will take place in the UCen Hub throughout the next two weeks. Today’s forum will begin at 12 p.m. and feature the three presidential candidates, followed by the unopposed student advocate general at 1 p.m. During Wednesday’s forum, the Internal Vice President candidates will face off at 12 p.m. and those running for External Vice President of Local Affairs will take the stage at 1 p.m. Next Tuesday, the candidates for External Vice President of Statewide Affairs will discuss their platforms at 12 p.m. with the presidential debate happening at 1 p.m.
Additionally, on April 10 and April 16, the Legislative Council candidates will present their policies in the Hub from 12 to 1 p.m.
On OPP’s slate for president is J.P. Primeau, a third-year pharmacology and business economics major who has served as Rep-at-Large on Legislative Council for two years.
As president, Primeau said he hopes to boost student presence on university committees, such as the Academic Senate, and increase A.S.’s accountability to the student body.
“The goal is to improve the quality of life at UCSB and work for the students,” Primeau said. “Right now, A.S. works for two or three organizations and doesn’t work for the students at large.”
Alessandra Baer is an independent candidate for president, building her campaign on the slogan “Solutions for All.” Baer, a fourth-year business economics major, said some of her personal goals include informing the campus of A.S.’s role and giving more students and organizations a voice in government.
“I want to make sure A.S. is really connected to the student body,” Baer said. “One of my ideas is making A.S. increase outreach to the rest of the campus and provide spaces where people can come and give their opinions. … It’s about empowering individuals.”
Meanwhile, SV’s presidential candidate is Hassan Naveed, a fourth-year political science major and Rep-at-Large. Naveed said he hopes to develop student resources on campus and in the community at large by improving tenants’ rights and working directly with university administrators to enhance the student experience, among other plans.
“I have faith that A.S. can change this campus and improve the quality of life for students,” Naveed said. “I’ve worked and campaigned for [issues], and I feel like I can take this work into the President’s office.”
Student Advocate General
Running unopposed and independently for SAG is Scott McDonald, the current Office of the Student Advocate chief of staff. OSA assigns caseworkers to students in need of help with university judicial processes.
McDonald, a third-year history and anthropology major, said his main goals are to focus on outreach to the Residence Halls and encourage more students to seek legal assistance from the office.
“I want to do outreach to the residence halls and make sure people there know we exist,” McDonald said. “We have a pretty good success rate when we get the case.”
For a look at the Internal and External Vice President candidates, see tomorrow’s issue.