On Wednesday, UC Santa Barbara’s Associated Students Senate voted to indefinitely table a petition to hold another special election during Winter Quarter 2019 for the External Vice President of Statewide Affairs position.
The Associated Students (A.S.) Senate voted with 15 yeses, three nos and two abstentions.
As a result, UCSB remains without an External Vice President of Statewide Affairs (EVPSA). Without another special election planned for Winter Quarter 2019, the EVPSA position will remain vacant for the rest of the 2018-2019 school year.
A.S. Elections Board initially mandated a special election for the EVPSA position to take place in Fall Quarter 2018 after Mayela Morales, a current fifth-year global studies and Chicanx studies double major, was disqualified approximately three weeks after the Spring Quarter 2018 elections were held.
The Declaration of Candidacy period for the EVPSA special election officially ended on Oct. 2, leaving Madeline Loudon, the runner-up in the Spring Quarter 2018 EVPSA election, as the only candidate in the race.
The final deadline to vote was extended multiple times, as the special election was repeatedly unable to meet the voter threshold.
The final deadline to vote ended Nov. 4, with the special election unable to meet the 16 percent threshold.
On Nov. 4, A.S. Elections Board Chair John Paul Renteria confirmed there will be no EVPSA for the 2018-19 school year following.
On Nov. 8, Elections Board held a meeting in which Davis Quan, Elections Board member, motioned to hold a special election during Winter Quarter 2019 for the EVPSA position, citing that it would follow A.S. Legal Code, according to Elections Board minutes.
“If an executive officer position should become vacant after the fifth (5th) meeting of Fall Quarter, an election must be held by the fourth (4th) week of Winter quarter,” according to Article 11, section 2, (A.1.1) in A.S. Legal Code.
A.S. Elections Board held another meeting on Nov. 13, in which Elections Board member Andrew Yan motioned to set the voter threshold for the winter special election to 10 percent, according to Elections Board minutes.
“Quan stated that since the threshold for a General Election is 20%, a special election voter threshold for one position should be half of that,” the Elections Board minutes read.
During Wednesday’s A.S. Senate meeting, Elections Board Chair John Paul Renteria presented the petition to hold a special election during Winter Quarter 2019 for the EVPSA position.
According to the Elections Board’s minutes, Election’s Board would have begun advertising for the special election after the petition was approved by A.S. Senate.
During Wednesday’s A.S. Senate meeting, Renteria said he believed the threshold of 10 percent is obtainable.
In June, A.S. Senate passed a resolution temporarily splitting the position’s funds and duties between the External Vice President for Local Affairs, the Student Advocate General, the A.S. President, the A.S. President Proxy and the Lobby Corps Co-Chairs.
A letter from UC Student Association President Caroline Siegel Singh and Chair Davon Brandon Thomas said this vacancy is “deeply concerning and signals a lack of understanding of exactly how vital this position is to the UC Santa Barbara student body.”
“Due to the vacancy, UCSB students have already missed 2 of the quarterly meetings with UC President Janet Napolitano and her staff,” the letter continued.
“It is often during these meetings that EVPs are tasked with bringing up major campus issues to be addressed by the Office of the President.”
The letter was voted on by the External Vice Presidents from every UC, their office staff and the board as a whole, according to the EVPSA office’s Campus Organizing Director Alexandra Gessesse.
“To be honest, we’re going to keep doing the same work. But what will the office look like to the larger state of California, I don’t know,” Gessesse said in an email.
“This is an injustice to students’ needs and concerns beyond the absence of an executive member.”
The full UCSA letter can be read here.