The three Associated Students presidential hopefuls and the unopposed candidate for the student advocate general met yesterday at a forum to discuss their plans for the upcoming year.
The presidential candidates spoke first, presenting themselves and their platforms to the small audience – consisting mostly of fellow party members and A.S. staff – gathered at the UCen Hub. Candidates Alessandra Baer, Hassan Naveed and J.P. Primeau discussed issues ranging from the Minimum Cumulative Progress check – a new policy that enforces a timely path to graduation – to student involvement in A.S.
Baer, an independent candidate, stressed her membership in the Environmental Affairs Board and her work in the Isla Vista community. Baer, a fourth-year business economics major, served as Earth Day co-chair for two years and is currently working on a community-building program.
“It is crucial that students get involved in UCSB groups and activities,” Baer said. “We need people from different groups to better communicate and understand each other, A.S. and the student body. Instead of having a number of individual groups working for their own issues, the groups should come together and work with one another.”
Naveed, Student Voice’s presidential candidate, is a fourth-year political science major and representative-at-large on the A.S. Legislative Council. Naveed said his work on the A.S. Finance Board and various committees has exposed him to important issues concerning students on the campus.
“Being a [resident assistant] and associate news director and reporter for KCSB has allowed me to interact with the student body,” Naveed said. “I [also] worked one-on-one with students during their transitional process from high school to college.”
Meanwhile, running on the Open People’s Party slate is Primeau, a third-year pharmacology and business economics major. Primeau said being president of the Inter-Fraternity Council and serving on A.S. Legislative Council as a rep-at-large has given him an understanding of local and statewide issues.
“My experience and my major have caused me to always use an analytic approach,” Primeau said. “I always research and study issues intensely before acting. I have learned to take action instead of waiting for things to come to me. And when I do act, I do so with passion.”
All the candidates emphasized the need to tackle student apathy concerning A.S. on campus. Baer said she wanted to improve it by advertising and promoting A.S.
“In order to stress the importance of student involvement, students need to be talked to and approached,” Baer said. “Half of the A.S. president’s office hours should be outside in order to make everything more visible. This will allow the president to be approached more often, raising student awareness of all A.S. decisions.”
Naveed also said he wanted to make A.S. as accessible to the student body as possible.
“Students don’t know what power A.S. really has,” Naveed said. “A.S. needs to educate students as to what resources are available. We need to push for student involvement and awareness.”
Adding to what his two competitors said, Primeau commented that students do not know where their student fees are being spent.
“We need to bring students to A.S. and we need to go to them directly,” Primeau said. “In order to do this, we need to hold quarterly state of the union addresses, send students reports and update the A.S. Web site. UCSB is one of the most spirited schools and we need to bring that energy to A.S.”
The nominees also discussed issues such as implementation of MCP, diversity, creation of safe spaces, decriminalization of marijuana, A.S.-greek relations and A.S. Finance Board’s policies.
Scott McDonald, a third-year history and anthropology major, is the sole candidate for A.S. Student Advocate General. McDonald described the office of student advocate general as the defender of students who get involved in the judicial system. He said cases range from fines for playing beer pong in dorm rooms to sexual assault. McDonald said he felt not enough cases came his way this year.
“I would rather have a heavy case-load than none,” McDonald said. “There are over 150 judicial cases a year and we’re only getting 20-25 of them. There is no reason why we shouldn’t get every one of those cases to come and seek advice.”
Forums for the various A.S. positions will continue throughout the week. The Internal Vice President Forum will take place today from noon to 1 p.m. and the External Vice President of Local Affairs Forum will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. in the UCen Hub. Debates and forums are also broadcasted on 91.9 FM KCSB and online at www.KCBS.org. Students are able to vote for all A.S. positions beginning at 8 a.m. on April 21 until 4 p.m. on April 24 by logging onto GOLD.