Three candidates for Associated Students president squared off in the Hub yesterday, marking the first of a series of debates leading up to UCSB’s campus-wide elections on April 19.
About 50 students watched as presidential hopefuls Bennett Duval (Bettering Our School System), Josue Aparicio (Open People’s Party) and Paul Rodriguez (Democratic Process Party) fielded student-generated questions posed by a moderator. Candidates were allotted two minutes to respond to each question, as well as an additional two minutes for opening and closing statements.
All candidates running for the position agreed that transparency and accountability within A.S. were hallmark issues in this election.
“If elected, my job will begin with accountability and visibility,” Duval said. “In order for the organization to be more visible, we need our president to be more visible, and I’m not sure that’s happening right now. We need to make A.S. an entity that every student knows and wants to be a part of.”
Also addressed were the recent legal issues that A.S. has become involved in due to damages incurred from a Legislative Council retreat in January. The retreat ended in allegations of inappropriate behavior and drinking.
Rodriguez said the controversy has spurred distrust from the student body and breeds skepticism and apathy within the campus community.
“The apathy stems from a lack of professionalism that we’ve seen from those sitting on Legislative Council,” Rodriguez said. “Students get jaded and turned off when they hear we’ve been caught in legal issues. It’s our job, as elected representatives, to carry on a legacy of professionalism that students can respect; we need more accountability as a whole.”
Although the candidates come from diverse backgrounds and harbor different goals for the upcoming academic year, all three exhibited a desire to include student perspectives in the policy-making process.
“Our job is to make sure that every view on campus is represented,” Aparicio said. “That’s why we brought Rove to campus — to demonstrate that, even amongst a left-wing campus, conservative ideology still has a place at UCSB.”
Members from the DPP and B.O.S.S. parties dominated the audience, with each group cheering after their respective candidate’s response.
Despite having been a largely partisan crowd, a handful of interested students attended to familiarize themselves with next year’s potential leaders.
“The forums give you a glimpse of the presidential candidates themselves,” Hannah Wright, a third-year psychology and environmental studies major, said. “I am familiar with the parties, but wanted to know more about the people behind the platforms.”
Voting begins April 19 at 8 a.m. on GOLD or at https://survey.ucsb.edu/elections/, ending April 22 at 4 p.m.