Candidates for the external vice president of local affairs and student advocate general offices met in the University Center Hub yesterday to discuss their platforms in the Associated Students spring elections.
The candidates for EVPLA are Timothy Benson, a third-year communication major, and Nicole Leopardo, a third-year political science and black studies major, while Louie Tamayo, a third-year sociology major, and Beau Shaw, a second-year philosophy major, are running for SAG. Following the A.S. President forum held Monday, this was the second in a series of forums that will con- tinue through next week.
The EVPLA’s office acts as an intermedi- ary between the campus and local commu- nity. Events such as Halloween, Floatopia, Chilla Vista and issues such as tenant’s rights, theft and lighting concerns in Isla Vista fall under the office’s jurisdiction.
Benson of the Open People’s Party, the current EVPLA county liaison, said he aspires to bridge the gap between the student body and local government.
“There is a significant discrepancy between the people who live and reside in Isla Vista and the people who run Isla Vista,” Benson said. “There was little input by students in [drafting the Social Host Ordinance], for instance. It is important to educate students on the policies being cre- ated and to give them a voice that will be heard.”
Democratic Process Party candidate Leopardo said as a resident assistant at San Rafael Residence Hall, she considers safety, community and sustainability to be the most crucial issues to be addressed by the office.
“I want to develop a strong relationship with safety officials to improve safety issues such as burglary in Isla Vista,” Leopardo said. “I also want to bring emphasis to cre- ating a strong sense of community through events like Chilla Vista. And another big issue is sustainability. I think it’s important to have big events that the students want, like Halloween and Floatopia. But the envi- ronmental costs are very high and we really need to provide solutions as we can’t afford to continue to cause environmental problems.”
Following discussion between EVPLA candidates, the SAG contestants, who rep- resent students in university cases involv- ing University Code of Conduct, defends students in plagiarism, noise violation and breech of contract cases, discussed their qualifications and issues ranging from hate crimes and tenant rights to student plagia- rism and residence hall write-ups.
Tamayo, a current off-campus representative, said he hopes to provide students with the proper tools to make their voices heard and defend themselves in student court.
“I’m very personable and I believe that I can best represent you and listen to your case in a non-judgmental manner,” Tamayo said. “My personality allows me to best represent and advocate for you. I also want to increase outreach to organizations around campus, residential halls and off-campus students so that they know this is available to them.” Shaw, the current chief of staff for the Office of the Student Advocate, said he wants students to feel comfortable approach- ing him about private matters.
“I can provide confidence and comfort to students and I interact well with stu- dents and university officials alike,” Shaw said. “I’m articulate and I believe I can best express the students’ needs and desires when they feel flustered or can’t find the right words.”
Additionally, Shaw said he wanted to expand the Office of the Student Advocate. “We have increased advertising over this last year, but I think we should do some more tabling, talk to students and let them know we are always there to represent and serve them,” Shaw said.
Students can vote for candidates and lock- in measures via GOLD from April 18 at 8 a.m. until April 21 at 4 p.m. A.S. spring election results will be disclosed on April 21 between 4 and 8 p.m. at Corwin Pavilion.