Editor’s Note: This was written in response to the Nexus’ “A Demand for Standards Re: A.S. Senate.“ This article has been edited for grammar to the best of our ability without changing the content of the article.
I appreciate the publicly stated concerns and have the utmost respect for the Daily Nexus news team and the work they produce for students. In Spring 2018, I was elected by 3,665 UCSB undergraduate students — roughly 17.7 percent of the student body and the most votes any single candidate has received in a contested race in the history of ASUCSB elections. These votes were dependent on my previous work as a senator and my commitment to advancing the position and office of the Associated Students Internal Vice President.
The Daily Nexus’ claim that I, the leader of Senate, “fails to take his job seriously” is one that meets me with much disappointment and irritation to what my position actually entails.
Since my election to the position I have reopened communication with many on-campus entities and departments which include — but are not limited to — Academic Senate, the Office of Student Life, Finance & Business Committee, UCen Governance Board, Student Fee Advisory Committee, Library Administration and the Campus Elections Committee. To my knowledge, Internal Vice Presidents in the past arguably have not taken as much effort as I have to physically attend these meetings and represent Associated Students to its fullest capacity on campus.
Furthermore, as the Internal Vice President I also chair the Associated Students Committee on Honoraria, where I have to process every single request for monetary compensation that is submitted by every BCU member, executive office member and entity chair.
In addition to being the representative for student on-campus and university affairs and chairing the Committee on Honoraria, I also serve as the presiding officer and chair of the Associated Students Senate where I manage 24 student senators and at-large student representatives to the three senate standing committees. Doing so, I maintain parliamentary procedure and create the weekly senate agendas as well as review the minutes to every board, commission and unit that operates within the Associated in order to ensure they are par with the Associated Students Legal Code. Lastly, I process 50+ weekly on a day-to-day basis solely on Associated Students, Campus and University Affairs, yet nobody other than myself and the individuals who have held my seat before are aware of them.
As an executive officer of Associated Students, I also have the honor and privilege to work with 10 of the most amazing and driven individuals on campus in my office who are committed to enhancing the well being of students at the university level. This entails yet more meetings and task delegation including but not limited to facilitating the Fall Associated Students Kelly Pearman Executive Fellowship, holding weekly office meetings and executing officewide projects and responsibilities. All of these add to my duties of being the chair of senate, chair of Committee on Honoraria and representing student on-campus committees and boards.
To address the points stated in the editorial,
1) The clause stated the public posting of Office Hours also states under it:
“The Executive Director or designee shall be responsible for posting office hours on the respective door, the A.S. website, posting the respective office hours next to the photo portraits of the ASUCSB elected officials that are placed in the University Center, and for sending out a university-wide email to all students with the names of all elected and appointed ASUCSB officials and their respective office hours by the end of the (3rd) third week of each quarter.”
I assume the Daily Nexus self-nominated myself as the designee or assumed I was the Executive Director of Associated Students which I am not. Past Internal Vice Presidents have also never compiled a master list of senators’ office hours, yet I am doing so this quarter and will do so for the rest of the year as a part of my platform for transparency that I ran on.
2) “They did not establish a Senate bill database until after the Nexus created one last year in order to make every resolution easily accessible to the senators’ constituents.”
Nowhere in the Associated Students legal code says that a Senate bill database needs to be established, and as part of my platform for transparency, I made it upon myself to establish it this year as precedent for future Internal Vice Presidents.
3) “They demanded The Bottom Line (TBL) turn off a livestream at the end of a public Senate meeting, which TBL – and the Nexus– had every right to record.”
Senators during the meeting did not consent to being filmed at the time of the livestream which is completely within their right to privacy, and it was during a time where minutes were not to be recorded.
4) “Their website is still not updated with the names and office hours of this year’s senators, even though it is the end of Week 7.”
Senators and myself do not even have the ability to personally update the Associated Students website, so the Daily Nexus assuming that we do is a complete misunderstanding of what we can do as elected officials, as bureaucratic processes still apply to these student leaders.
Lastly, I am also a first-generation Southeast Asian student on this campus double majoring in a BS in Biological Sciences and a BA in Asian American Studies. I take 16 units a quarter in order to graduate on time so that I can receive two degrees from the prestigious undergraduate institution which is UCSB.
Like all elected officials within Associated Students, I am a student first and leader second. If we need to take time to have a mental-health break or destress from what our lives entail, then we will and that should not be ridiculed.
Just because I take the time to acknowledge that my position is more than just being the chair of the Associated Students Senate but also a main representative of undergraduate interests at the campus and university level does not mean that others can only see my duties as controlling one aspect of the association when it is simply not.
If the Daily Nexus wants to judge the two posts on my twitter account and a private snapchat story then they can, but never will I let an individual, group or entity assume and say that I do not take my job seriously because I understand the privilege and work that holding an executive officer position in Associated Students, let alone being the Internal Vice President, entails.
I truly believe what you’re doing as a board is honorable, meaningful and worthwhile. I want to emphasize that my leadership is student-centered. Moving forward, I hope that Associated Students as a whole and the Daily Nexus can work past personal conflicts in order to work together toward a better UC Santa Barbara campus by both serving and informing the student body in a manner that prioritizes the students who voted me into office and pay into running our student-led press. This can be a learning experience, just as was stated in the article, and in the future I would be more than willing to have my office work with yours in assuring accountability, transparency and ensuring that student leaders are properly recognized for their work.
Associated Students Internal Vice President 2018-2019