Candidates for External Vice President of Statewide Affairs participated in an open forum yesterday at the University Center Hub.

Open People’s Party candidate Ahmed Mostafa, a third-year political science major, and Democratic Process Party candidate Elysse Madarang, a third-year global studies major, responded to questions on topics ranging from the state budget to campus diversity. Spring Election forums will continue next Tuesday through Thursday and students can vote for candidates and lock-in fees on GOLD from April 18 to 21.

Mostafa and Madarang discussed budget cuts, giving a voice to underrepresented student groups and proposed expanding student lobbying efforts in Sacramento.

If elected, Mostafa said his main goal would be protecting students’ accessibility to higher education.

“I see in this room a group of students that all share a common goal: to get an affordable, quality education,” Mostafa said. “My overarching goals are to unify the student body, staff and administrators. These budget cuts affect us all and together we can all mobilize over the common goal of protecting our educations. We need to tell legislatures true stories of how budget cuts have affected students and make our stories truly heard.”

Madarang said she plans to promote student involvement in UC Board of Regents decisions.

“I would like to expand lobbying efforts both at the capital and in the local area to make sure that money goes to our school system,” Madarang said. “Students should be in the forefront of every decision made on this campus. There should be another student seat on the Regents so that we have more representation in decisions made for us by the UC Regents.”

Mostafa said he would also strive to make the EVPSA office more accessible to the student body.

“I want every student to know what the office is and that every student can come in and be exposed to it,” Mostafa said. “I would restructure positions and create positions that advocate for student groups on campus that are underrepresented on [Associated Students] such as the engineering department and the Greek community. I want a campus that knows what the EVPSA office is and a campus that participates in our events.”

Madarang said she fears that California Governor Jerry Brown’s budget cuts will make a UC education unaffordable in the future.

“[Tuition increases] would make a college education unattainable for many students,” Madarang said. “I have successfully lobbied Gavin Newsom’s staff and other governing bodies and would encourage students to become involved in protecting their education.”

Audience member Tiffany Mayville, an off-campus representative and fourth-year environmental studies major, said the election forums reveal how prepared each candidate is for his or her prospective position.

“Sometimes students come forward and want a position, but don’t know what the office really entails,” Mayville said. “Forums show us whether a candidate knows the position they’re running for and therefore how well they’ll do in that position.”