Members of Associated Students’ recently elected 2011-12 executive board have begun organizing plans for next year before taking office on May 18.
Board members plan to streamline expenditures in response to severe proposed budget cuts to the university and association in the upcoming year. In addition, the executives plan to begin publicizing A.S.’s ongoing projects and spending in a regular newsletter and through office hours in public spaces like the Arbor.
The board will begin transitioning into their new roles with a presidential forum on May 3 at 5 p.m. in the MultiCultural Center Lounge.
President-elect Harrison Weber, a third-year history of public policy major, said the transitional forum will allow students who feel underrepresented in the 2011-12 association to voice their concerns.
“I’ve always planned on reaching out to students,” Weber said. “But given the election results and the reaction to it, it’s an added responsibility that we value these students who feel disenfranchised.”
Weber said he hopes the forum will promote an atmosphere of transparency and student involvement within the association, which was predominantly swept by Open People’s Party in last week’s election.
“We want to maintain a level of transparency that’s consistent with a student-run government,” Weber said. “We’re making every attempt to curb student apathy [and] being receptive and open in dealing with central issues on campus.”
EVPLA-elect Tim Benson, a third-year communication major, said students should be better represented at local government meetings as they constitute roughly 75 percent of Isla Vista’s population. Benson recommended publicizing the meetings on social media sites like Facebook to make them more accessible to the student body.
“Our whole goal is to bring the issues to the students,” Benson said. “For us to have such little representation in what’s going on is really too bad. There’s such an unbalanced and unequal representation of students, but students pay taxes here and they pay outrageous rent prices too.”
IVP-elect Chloe Stryker, a third-year political science major, said she plans to complete her first project — restructuring the outdated A.S. Legal Code — by the end of this quarter. According to Stryker, getting a head start on her plans will ease the process of managing next year’s impacted budget.
“In A.S. we’re going through a budget crisis because we have been expanding exponentially,” Stryker said. “Finance Board is going to have a little less than half of what they had this past year. Next year’s entire budget will be what we had for just Spring Quarter of this year.”
Stryker said various Boards, Committees and Commissions will combine efforts to minimize the effect of financial pressures on the association.
“There should be collaboration between BCCs so they can somehow work together and have less of a budget,” Stryker said. “There’ll be more restrictions and more caps on how much they can request for their full budgets.”
SAG-elect Beau Shaw, a second-year philosophy major, said he will decrease honoraria within his own office to help ease budget tensions.
“The [Office of the Student Advocate] gives slightly more honoraria to their employees than the other offices do,” Shaw said. “So we’ll be reducing honoraria to be more in line with all the other A.S. offices.”
Given significant proposed cuts to UCSB’s budget next year, EVPSA-elect Ahmed Mostafa, a third-year political science major, said it is imperative to extend action against budget cuts beyond the UC system.
“I want to expand and mobilize our efforts to not just within the UC system but to all public systems of higher education, such as California community colleges and state schools,” Mostafa said. “Together, we’re all being affected by the budget cuts.”