Every year, spring quarter comes around and brings the Associated Students (A.S.) student government elections with it. The Nexus recognizes that these elections can be confusing for students who aren’t closely involved in these spaces and believes that every student should be an informed voter.

Because of that, this year the Nexus has launched an Ask Me Anything (AMA) so we can answer any questions you may have about UC Santa Barbara’s student government and the elections overall.

A few questions have been answered below. As students respond to the Google form, which can be found below, more questions and answers will be added.

Profiles of all 50 A.S. candidates can be viewed here. Voting on G.O.L.D. opens on April 22 at 8 a.m. and will conclude on April 25 at 4 p.m.

Questions and answers can be seen below:

Updated [April 24, 2019]

What percentage of passed A.S. Senate resolutions actually affect university policy?

There is no direct percentage of Senate resolutions that affect university policy. There are several different types of bills/resolutions that the Senate passes, but the main two are positional and directional resolutions.

A positional bill/resolution is one that “endorses, sponsors, or supports a group’s actions or events.” Positional resolutions require a two thirds vote. For example, a positional resolution passed this past year was one in support of the AFSCME strike in October.

A directional bill/resolution is one that “directs members of A.S. Personnel, Boards, Committees and/or the Senate to specific duties.” A directional resolution requires a 50% plus 1 vote – in the case of the 69th Senate, 13 votes. One example of a directional resolution passed by the Senate during this past year is “The King’s A+ For Excellence Awards,” which awards five students each a $500 grant.

Further details about the types of bills and resolutions that the Senate can pass begins on page 313 of Legal Code under the Policy 6: Main Motions section in the 2018-2019 version of Legal Code, which can be found at the bottom of this article. 

Where do my student fees go?

As of the 2018-2019 school year, students pay $631.83 in A.S. and Graduate Student Association (GSA) fees and $1,188.87 in lock-in fees – overall, paying $1,820.70 in student fees each school year.

The student fees given to A.S. fund Arts & Lectures, the Child Care Center, Campus Learning Assistive Services (C.L.A.S.), Disabled Student Services, the Events Center, intramural sports, the Multi-Cultural Center, the Office of Student Life, Recreational Sports, the Coastal Fund, Student Health and the University Center.

The students fees designated as lock-in fees include Arts & Lectures, bike path maintenance, a second C.L.A.S. fee, Career Services, C.A.P.S., E.O.P., Event Center, the Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), Health & Wellness, a second MCC fee, the Daily Nexus and the Recreation Center among others.

Some fees fall under both of these categories, such as two separate MCC fees and two C.L.A.S. fees.

The exact breakdown of fees for the 2018-2019 school year can be found here.

How were both parties founded? Why do they have a rivalry? How are they related to OPP and DP parties?

Campus United was founded in Feb. 2016, and ran candidates for the first time in the Spring Quarter 2016 elections. The Isla Vista Party was founded in Feb. 2017 and ran candidates for the first time in the Spring Quarter 2017 Elections.

The last time the Open People’s Party (OPP) ran candidates in an election was in Spring Quarter 2015. The Nexus reported in 2016 that many former OPP members “now identify with the new groups.”

The last time the Democratic Process Party (DP) ran candidates was in Spring Quarter 2014.

The Nexus cannot speak to the rivalry between the two.

How do the candidates plan to lower student fees?

So far, only one candidate – presidential candidate Alison Sir – has said she wanted to lower student fees. The other presidential candidate, Zion Solomon, said during the presidential candidate forum that they would like to keep student fees the same, emphasizing the importance of the fees for creating programs that benefit students.

What is the minimum voting percentage threshold needed to win if a candidate is unopposed?

As stated in A.S. Legal Code, at least 20% of all eligible undergraduate students must vote in the election for it to be valid.

For individual candidates, Elections Board uses the Droop Quota to calculate the minimum number of voters needed for a candidate to be elected. The formula is as follows: Votes Needed = (Valid Votes Cast / Number of Seats + 1) + 1.

Further information about the quota can be found on page 298 of the 2018-2019 version of Legal Code, which can be found at the bottom of this article. 

What is a special election? Is this a special election?

This is not a special election. A special election can happen when a position within the executive offices – such as the president, EVPLA, EVPSA, IVP or S.A.G. – becomes vacant. Special election rules are controlled by Elections Board.

This past year, there have been two special elections: the first in Fall Quarter 2018 and the second in Winter Quarter 2019. Both elections attempted to fulfill the vacant EVPSA position; during both, less than the minimum required number of students voted, invaliding the results.

Who is advising elections? Who are members of the committee in charge of elections? Do we get to see the minutes?

The Associated Students Elections Board is in charge of the elections. There are seven members of the board, and they are advised by Kendra Sandoval and Ruth Garcia Guevara. Election Board minutes are not open to the public.

Students who are on Elections Board cannot run for any senatorial or executive position or be a representative for any campus political party.

Is results night still in the UCen?

Yes. Results night will happen in the UCen’s Hub at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 25.

What endorsements besides the Daily Nexus can candidates get? Is there a list?

There is not an explicit list of who can endorse, but rather only a list of who cannot endorse candidates. As stated in Legal Code, all A.S. entities cannot endorse candidates and parties. Further details about endorsements can be found on page 283 of the 2018-2019 version of Legal Code, which can be found at the bottom of this article. 

Updated [April 22, 2019]

Why doesn’t A.S. have greater authority over the Isla Vista area?

A.S. has representation within I.V. through the External Vice President for Local Affairs (EVPLA) position, held by third-year global studies major Jeike Meijer. The EVPLA can advocate on behalf of UCSB students’ needs in I.V., but they cannot make direct changes to laws; instead, they work with governmental bodies that make those decisions, such as the I.V. Recreation and Parks District and the I.V. Community Service District, to make change within the community.

UCSB owns property in I.V., but cannot control or make decisions over I.V. as a whole because, by nature, the two are separate. UCSB is a university; I.V. is an unincorporated district – and home to families, private businesses and more, not just students.

Because UCSB and I.V.’s histories are so intertwined, there are ways in which the university can directly or indirectly exert influence over what happens in I.V. For example, the university has a representative on the I.V. CSD, who serves as a coordinator between the two entities. Additionally, UCSB gives a $200,000 grant to the district.

The candidates for this year’s EVPLA election are third-year political science Matthew Griffin and third-year environmental studies major Christian Ornelas.

What kind of compensation do A.S. members receive?

The A.S. executive director and other full-time staff members within A.S. receive yearly salaries. For example, the current A.S. executive director, Marisela Marquez, received $110,911 for the 2017 fiscal year.

A.S. Executives receive $3,000 per quarter, while A.S. senators receive $400 dollars per quarter for serving on the Senate.

Both face different sets of rules and requirements, which can be found in A.S. legal code.

Does the Daily Nexus have beef with the A.S. Senate? What’s up with always criticizing their shortcomings?

The Nexus does not “have beef” with the A.S. Senate. Just as with any other relationship between reporters and the government officials they cover, the Nexus reports on both the Senate’s shortfalls and its successes. As a campus newspaper, it is important that we hold A.S. accountable because, after all, the same people who read the Nexus are the ones giving A.S. their money to spend.

What are the ideological differences between CU and I.V. party?

During our endorsement interviews, we asked each candidate running for an executive position about the difference between Campus United and the Isla Vista Party, and they all gave various vague answers. Some candidates said their party thinks outside of the box, while others said their party was like a family to them. The executive candidates also emphasized that they would not speak about the opposing party.

Campus United has a website that includes information about its platform: https://ucsbcampusunited.org/platform

The Isla Vista Party has a Facebook page that is regularly updated. However, there aren’t many details on the page regarding the party’s platform and ideologies: https://www.facebook.com/IslaVistaParty/

Where can I view a list of candidates?

A list of all candidates can be seen on our website here.

What are some of the programs that come from my student fees?

Besides providing Senate with a budget to spend throughout the year, your student fees fund a variety of different programs across campus. For example, the A.S. Program Borard is funded by student fees, as well as the Bike Shop, Queer Commission, Food Bank and many others. You can find the full list of A.S. funded entities here: https://www.as.ucsb.edu/entities/

Updated [April 16, 2019]

Why should I care?

Each student enrolled at UCSB pays $210.61 every quarter to Associated Students to go toward “a wide variety of operations of Associated Students that benefit the students of UCSB, the campus and the surrounding community,” as written on the A.S. Finance and Business website. This amounts to an estimated $14 million a year, as of last reported numbers. 

What are the different A.S. positions?

A.S. serves as an umbrella for dozens of organizations. The most well-known divisions of A.S. include the legislative branch (the A.S. Senate), the executive branch (the A.S. Executives) and the judicial branch (the A.S. Judicial Council).

Within the A.S. Senate, there are 25 senatorial positions.

The 25 senators are elected based on different constituencies; there are 12 off-campus senator seats, five on-campus senator seats, four Letters & Science senator seats, one College of Engineering senator seat, one College of Creative Studies senator seat, one transfer senator seat and one university-owned off-campus senator seat.

There has been no College of Creative Studies senator for the past school year, and no students have declared candidacy for the seat this year’s election as of press time.

Within the executive branch, there are five A.S. executive positions: president, internal vice president (IVP), external vice president for statewide affairs (EVPSA), external vice president for local affairs (EVPLA) and the student advocate general (S.A.G.)

The EVPSA position has been vacant since Spring Quarter 2018 following the disqualification of EVPSA-elect Mayela Morales and the two subsequent special elections that failed to meet the voter threshold.

The president serves as a representative of UCSB at the systemwide level and is a voice for students within the UCSB administration. They also work on projects within their own office to enhance the UCSB student experience and sit on various committees around campus. The IVP presides over the A.S. Senate, and has the power to serve as a tie-breaking vote. The EVPLA works with local government bodies, such as the I.V. Community Services District and the I.V. Recreation and Park District. The EVPSA advocates for UCSB student issues at the state and federal level. Finally, the S.A.G. heads up the Office of the Student Advocate, which provides support for students/student groups who are involved in a dispute with the university.

How can you reach out to your senators and other executives?

There are multiple ways to contact your senators and executives. As of this year, the 69th senate passed a resolution that requires senators to provide their constituencies with an official Facebook page. A.S. executives also have official Facebook pages, where you will find their office hours, the location of their office hours, contact info and projects they are currently undertaking.

To address the entire Senate as a whole, students or community members can speak at public forum during weekly Senate meetings, which begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Flying A room of the University Center. The Senate does not hold meetings during Week 10 or finals week.

When does voting begin?

Voting officially begins on April 22 at 8 a.m., or Monday of Week 4. It ends on April 25 at 4 p.m. The results will be announced on April 25 at a time and place to be determined. Log onto G.O.L.D. to cast your vote.

A full version of A.S. Legal Code 2018-2019 can be viewed below:

If you don’t see the content of this PDF click here to download it.