With Associated Students election season in full swing, the candidates for the three vice presidential positions will campaign actively around campus, whether in debates or at your door in the hopes of snagging a spot in student governent.
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.
Debates and forums for the executive candidates will take place in the UCen Hub throughout the next two weeks. During today’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.
Meanwhile, on April 10 and April 16, the Legislative Council candidates will present their policies in the Hub from 12 to 1 p.m.
Internal Vice President
The Student Voice candidate is Megan Klein, a third-year political science and law & society double major. Klein is currently the A.S. Legislative Council parliamentarian, an unelected position, with duties of interpreting parliamentary law and procedure during meetings. One of her highest priorities for the next year, if elected, is to closely monitor the Minimum Cumulative Progress policy, which requires students to enroll in an average of 45 units per year.
“I have a lot of experience with a lot of internal A.S. issues,” Klein said. “[Also,] I think it’s important to create a safe space for students and make sure A.S. is listening to what the students want, opposed to what we think they want.”
One of two students running independently for IVP is Alex Forster, a second-year business economics major. Forster said his main concern is financial, especially following the influx of funds from the passage of the Students’ Initiative in Fall Quarter 2006, which increased student fees quarterly by $100 per student with an additional $33 return-to-aid surcharge.
“If a fee increase was brought up, I would be absolutely against it and I would do everything to prevent it,” Forster said. “It’s really hypocritical – A.S. can’t raise fees and then simultaneously tell the UC system they should be lowering fees.”
The other independent candidate up for the position is Bay Grabowski, a third-year physics major who currently heads up the A.S. Technology Services Committee. Grabowski said he aims to improve communication between the student body, A.S. and administrators, and additionally hopes to ensure smooth-running Legislative Council meetings by running without a party affiliation.
“Especially in the case of Internal Vice President, it’s important to be absolutely impartial,” Grabowski said. “Being chair of Legislative Council, you need to be absolutely fair and absolutely impartial. It’s counterproductive to run with a party because it’s going to cause a bias.”
In addition, Grabowski said he has a great deal of experience with legislative issues, the A.S. Legal Code and Robert’s Rules of Order – the parliamentary system A.S. uses to organize its meetings.
Kevin Higuchi, a third-year business economics major, is the Open People’s Party candidate for the IVP position. Higuchi, the A.S. Finance Board chair, said his experience on the board has provided him with extensive preparation to lead A.S. Legislative Council meetings in the upcoming year.
“I have also worked extensively within A.S., volunteering for issues and activities including distributing finals kits, facilitating A.S.-involvement workshops and helping organize a break-out session in response to the 15-unit increase requirement,” Higuchi said. “I also have a concrete plan to improve the internal efficiency of A.S. by increasing the accountability of members to their positions and by improving our relations with the campus media, the Academic Senate committees and campus administration.”
External Vice President of Local Affairs
Liz Buda, a third-year film & media studies major, currently serves as an Off-Campus Rep on Legislative Council. Buda, running on the SV slate, said she is dedicated to I.V. community issues and will advocate for student-friendly policies in the area.
“My main goal is that students are represented in local affairs, whether that’s working with county officials to change laws that are unfair, such as the zero tolerance noise ordinance, or keeping landlords accountable so that prices are affordable,” Buda said. “I want to make sure I.V. parks and open spaces are saved because that’s what makes I.V. unique. I would hate to see I.V. turned into another generic city.”
Meanwhile, Reagan “Zekee” Silos is running as the OPP candidate. Silos, a fourth-year global studies major, said he will serve the community by focusing on parking and housing concerns, and also said he aims to put out a housing guide for prospective student renters.
“I want to prevent parking from going up and housing from getting gouged, and being able to hold property managers accountable,” Silos said. “I want people to be able to see what is out there. There’s more to I.V. than just DP – some people don’t look past this.”
External Vice President of Statewide Affairs
Justin Reyes, on SV’s slate for EVP-SA, said he hopes to bring his passion for lobbying for lower student fees to the position. Reyes, a second-year Asian-American studies major, said he is already active on the statewide level, attending Regents meetings and speaking out as a University of California Students Association public commentator. In addition, Reyes said he has worked with Christine Byon, the current EVP-SA throughout the year.
“I’ve been to the past four or five Regents meetings,” Reyes said. “I’ve spoken on access and affordability and with my own personal testimony. I told the Regents I will keep on being here until my fees are reduced. I think we are making strides and it’s really important to continue this work.”
Running for EVP-SA for OPP is current Residence Hall Association President Corey Huber, a second-year political science major. Huber, who worked as the media intern in the EVP-SA office as a first-year student, said he has a five-point plan for the upcoming year – tackling issues of UC Regent and UC Office of the President accountability, lowering student fees and lobbying for a fee freeze, boosting financial aid, increasing diversity and accessibility and working to focus the EVP-SA office’s efforts to students’ needs.
“If students feel disconnected, that we’re not advocating for all of their issues, we’re not going to be able to accurately represent our constituency when we go lobby,” Huber said.
Among Huber’s stated goals are trying to institute standardized admission policies, finding alternative solutions to increase student aid and developing a relationship with the new UC President, Mark G. Yudof, as soon as he takes office.