Associated Students Spring election results were announced last night in Karl Geiringer Hall, leaving the senate seats dominated by Open People’s Party (OPP) members and a majority of the executive positions secured by members of Democratic Process Party (DPP).
DPP candidate Sophia Armen won the seat of president while fellow party members Bethlehem “Betty” Aynalem and Nadim Houssain took the positions of External Vice President of Local Affairs and External Vice President of Statewide Affairs, respectively. Mayra Segovia, the only OPP candidate to secure an executive position, was elected Internal Vice President while Yoel Haile took the traditionally independent position of Student Advocate General.
Two new lock-in fees, $1.80 per quarter for A.S. Food Bank and $10.08 per quarter fee for Finance Board, were approved while fee initiatives for College Bound, Commission on Student Well Being (COSWB), the proposed Student Engagement Center, The Bottom Line and Isla Vista Pride were all struck down.
Although DPP dominated top executive positions, OPP took 20 out of 25 A.S. Senate seats, providing the student government with ample representation from both parties.
Armen said the results are a refreshing change from last year’s OPP domination of both executive and Senate positions.
“There needs to be a diversity of opinions. I think the main problem has been that one party has been monopolizing and that’s not just democracy, right?” Armen said. “While we’re sitting here and bickering, real stuff is going on and the Regents want that.”
DPP supporters joyfully flooded the stage when Aynalem was elected EVPLA, but the display of enthusiasm left the event at a standstill.
A.S. Executive Director Marisela Marquez maintained order and advised students to settle down, emphasizing the importance of civilized behavior.
“Nobody tramples over anybody, ever — especially not right now,” Marquez said.
Newly elected Off-Campus Senator Alex Choate (OPP) said A.S. members should work across party lines to accurately represent the student body.
“We’re really happy that Mayra made it to IVP. This is a democracy and what the students want is what the students voted for,” Choate said. “I can’t speak for DPP, but one thing that OPP stands for is that we’re all trying to work toward the same goal.”
Segovia said she plans to work extensively with Senators at the upcoming A.S. retreat to foster a sense of unity and overcome party divisions.
“I was upset that I was the only one from OPP to be elected to Executive Board and I’m not going to be able to work with the executives that I was hoping to,” Segovia said. “[However,] business is business and we have to get down to work and get over party lines.”
Despite the DP party’s landslide victory with executive positions, Vanessa Ramos — one of the few DPP candidates to win a Senate seat — said the lack of DPP representation in the Senate reflects concerning flaws in the elections process.
“Yeah, I was surprised. We’re typically the underdog,” Ramos said. “Like last year, the representation between OPP and DPP was really off-balance. It’s quantity over quality because it’s just about numbers — getting yourself out there and giving out free stuff.”
In light of his loss, former presidential candidate Nate Walter said he plans apply for a position on the A.S. Committee on Committees.
“I’m going to pursue my goals in another capacity,” Walter said. “Not having the title doesn’t mean that I won’t still try to do the work that I originally set out to do.”