The Hub Hosts a Panel of 10 A.S. Senator Candidates to Debate Issues Ranging From Public Lighting to Mental Safety

During the Associated Students On-Campus and University-Owned Housing Senator debates, senatorial candidates for the 2014-15 academic school year congregated in the Hub yesterday to discuss their views on specific campus-related issues as well as proposed solutions and future plans.

The panel consisted of 10 candidates, equally split amongst the Open-People’s Party (OPP) and the Democratic Process Party (DPP), collectively picking apart various subjects such as flaws in the dining commons and the overall effectiveness of A.S. Each candidate was allowed 30 seconds to a minute for each question asked, giving them time to argue both their party’s positions and their own personal platforms.

The panel lasted for a duration of one hour and began with the discussion of the more pressing and pertinent issues on campus, with safety being first discussed.

Daisy Fernandez, a first-year sociology and feminist studies major running for On-Campus Senator with OPP, said she sees the need for increased safety on campus through increased implementation of lighting structures. She suggested installing light structures near the tunnel by Student Health and the Rec Cen.

The candidates also discussed physical and mental safety of the students against issues such as homophobia and intolerant attitudes of prejudice or discrimination. According to Unique Vance, a first-year environmental science major running for On-Campus senator with DPP, students should not feel worried about the security of their own homes at UCSB and should receive consistent services that ensure their safety.

“A lot of people feel unsafe in their own dorms and their own homes, and that should not be an issue,” Vance said. “I really want to include more safe places for students in their own homes so that they can feel safe.”

Also at the debate, candidates discussed UCSB students’ well-being as well as higher availability of exercise classes at the Recreation Center and workshops on health. In addition, they touched on the topic of food quality in the dining commons.

Emani Oakley, a first-year political science major running for On-Campus Senator with OPP, said the dining commons should accommodate more students by serving special nutritional needs, such as gluten-free diets.

“One of the things I would do to improve health and wellness would be to provide more nutritional facts,” Oakley said.

Tension arose within the debate when the topic of A.S.’s effectiveness and its potential improvements was brought up to candidates. Steven Kwok, a first-year economics and accounting major running for On-Campus Senator with DPP, said the organization is not quite as “associated” as he believes it should be.

“To me, Associated Students … should be an organization associated with its students. But right now, it’s not doing its job,” Kwok said. “So I think how Associated Students can improve is to stop making promises it can’t keep.”

Along the same vein, Alonso Martinez, a first-year mathematics major running with DPP, said he feels A.S. needs to increase efforts of transparency so students know more about their organization and their works.

“I definitely want to make sure that the Associated Students is more transparent — that people know what’s going on,” Martinez said.

Finally, the debate ended with short closing statements from each candidate. Third-year film & media studies and black studies double major December Brown, for example, used the time to sum up her goals and restate her purpose in running for University-Owned Housing Senator with OPP.

“UCSB is our home, and I would love to be a voice for all of our people,” Brown said.


A version of this story appeared on page 3 of Thursday, April 17, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.