By Katherine Friedman
UCSB’s Associated Students will hold candidate forums today, tomorrow and Thursday in the Hub in preparation for the campus-wide Spring Election on April 18 to 21.
This year’s ballot includes 31 lock-in fee reaffirmations and 72 candidates vying for 29 A.S. positions. New A.S. fees are presently undisclosed pending approval of ballot measures by the Legislative Council. Students can cast their votes online through GOLD from April 18 at 8 a.m. until April 21 at 4 p.m.
Candidates will begin campaigning on April 10 at 8 p.m. and a second round of forums will be held from April 12 to 14. Results of the election will be disclosed on April 21 between 4 and 8 p.m. at Corwin Pavilion.
Candidates will compete for five executive offices — president, internal vice president, external vice president of local affairs, external vice president of statewide affairs and student advocate general — that receive free tuition funded by student fees for the entirety of their terms.
Voters can elect a maximum of six of the 14 candidates running for Representative-at-Large as well as 12 of the 28 students for Off-Campus Representative, five of the 14 candidates for On-Campus Representative or one of the three students for University Owned Off-Campus Housing Representative, depending on voters’ places of residence. These representatives constitute the A.S. Legislative Council, which passes bills and regulations concerning the student body.
Current A.S. President Paul Monge-Rodriguez, a fourth-year global studies and sociology major, said he has faith that this year’s candidates will responsibly lead A.S. in the upcoming year.
“I’m hopeful that next year’s leadership will be able to make it an active association,” Monge-Rodriguez said. “I’m comfortable entrusting the Office of the President with the candidates who are up for election this year.”
While 20 percent voter turnout is required for the election to be deemed valid, over 40 percent of all undergraduates voted in last year’s Spring Election.
Voters will also decide whether to approve five lock-in fee reaffirmations and four new fees on the Campus Elections Commission’s ballot. Both undergraduate and graduate students will vote on a $15 quarterly fee to fund reparations to Robertson Gym and other structures. Combined with other current recreation and associates facilities student fees, the measure would cost undergraduates a total of $97.18 per quarter.
However, only undergraduate students will vote on a $44.50 quarterly fee to replace the campus pool with an aquatic center and a $14 quarterly fee to fund a student study space on the third floor of the University Center.
According to Aaron Jones, associate director for community affairs, UCSB boasts more student lock-in fees than any other UC campus. As such, Jones said he encourages voters to carefully assess the ballot.
“I would be foolhardy to say that one initiative or upcoming reaffirmation is more or less important than the others,” Jones said. “The important thing is for students … to take the time to consider each and every one. Although it may seem time-consuming, it would be very valuable for students to understand more holistically how much they are really supporting the entire university.”
Candidates hail from the Open People’s Party, Bettering Our School System or the Democratic Process Party.
The three presidential candidates are Harrison Weber (OPP), Marcus Rochellle (B.O.S.S.) and Stanislav Tzankov (DPP), while Chloe Stryker (OPP), Dina Varshavsky (B.O.S.S.) and Joel Mandujano (DPP) will compete for Internal Vice President. The candidates for External Vice President of Local Affairs are Timothy Benson (OPP), Breyanna Carter (B.O.S.S.) and Nicole Leopardo (DPP), while Ahmed Mostafa (OPP) and Elysse Suzanne Madarang (DPP) will compete for External Vice President of Statewide Affairs. Luis Tamayo and Beau Shaw, neither of whom is affiliated with a political party, will compete for Student Advocate General.