The Daily Nexus endorses Daevionne Beasley — a third-year sociology major who already has a year of executive office experience, nearly unprecedented for a presidential candidate — for Associated Students President.
Beasley’s path toward the presidency is unique; not in recent memory has a candidate who has already served in an Associated Students (A.S.) executive position run for another executive office. For most, a year with that level of responsibility and amidst the party politics of A.S. is enough.
But one year later, Beasley shows no signs of slowing down.
When Beasley ran for the External Vice President for Statewide Affairs (EVPSA) position, the Nexus endorsed his opponent, Alexandra Leal Silva, largely due to her three years of experience working in the office in comparison to Beasley, who was an outsider to A.S. at the time.
However, as we noted in our endorsement of Leal Silva at the time, both she and Beasley were confident, charismatic and genuine leaders who seemed to sincerely care about the well-being of UC Santa Barbara students.
Beasley is facing two opponents in this year’s election: third-year sociology major Daniel Segura-Esquivel, who is running with the Isla Vista Party, and second-year cell and developmental biology major Austin Foreman, who is running as an independent.
The Nexus believes that Foreman is not suited for the position of president. It became clear in speaking to him that while he is passionate about what he does, he lacks the tangible experience needed to serve as a representative for the student body.
Furthermore, he seems to lack a wider understanding of university and any tangible experience outside of A.S. When pressed about his experience and platform points, he faltered, and often talked in circles while failing to explain how he would feasibly pursue them.
One of the largest reasons Foreman gave for running is that he wanted to work on improving the retention of A.S. career staff. While this is an admirable goal, it should not be the reason a student runs to be A.S. president, a position that is meant to serve all students, not just those within A.S.
We believe that Foreman — who has introduced numerous resolutions focused on helping his fellow students over the past year while serving as an on-campus senator — would have been better off pursuing the position of Internal Vice President.
In regard to Segura-Esquivel, the Nexus believes the third-year student is incredibly capable of being the next A.S. president, if elected.
In the three hours in which we spoke to him, it became clear he has acquired the wide range of knowledge needed to be this campus’ A.S. president and that his passion for students is nearly unmatched. He stressed that his identity as a “brown, queer, first generation, low-income student” has allowed him to be at the forefront of campus issues.
Some of his platform points — centered around helping students with basic needs as well as establishing emergency protocols — are not particularly innovative, as they echo ones proposed both this year and the year before by candidates running for A.S. positions. But Segura-Esquivel, refreshingly, was able to back up his platform points with detailed plans for accomplishing them.
However, during our interview, Segura-Esquivel often went on tangents and strayed far from the question at hand. While we appreciated his enthusiasm, his answers brought into question his ability to effectively communicate on behalf of students to administrators.
Beasley, in comparison, was an approachable candidate who was able to get his point across easily, which assured us of his ability to do the same with both the average student and administrator.
Ultimately, in any other election year, Segura-Esquivel would be the clear choice for our endorsement. But due to Beasley’s year of executive experience and his extensive history of advocacy for UCSB students, the Nexus chose Beasley for our endorsement, with the firm belief that he would be the best president for our campus.
As EVPSA, Beasley seemingly worked tirelessly to help advocate on behalf of students; the EVPSA is a unique position within A.S., involving extensive lobbying and traveling between D.C. and Sacramento. In addition to serving as EVPSA, Beasley is also a resident assistant this year. His ability to balance the two intensive time commitments while taking classes is certainly impressive.
But even with these hurdles, Beasley helped bring to fruition $10 million in summer financial aid for students through his role with the Coalition for a Better UC and countlessly lobbied on behalf of UCSB students as EVPSA, speaking repeatedly to both UC administrators, including UC President Janet Napolitano, and elected officials in California and Santa Barbara.
During his interview with the Nexus, Beasley made clear his vast knowledge of the campus, speaking extensively to both his history with the Black Student Union demands as well as advocating against Thirty Meter Telescope Project at Mauna Kea, which the UC helps fund. He noted that he hopes to continue both projects if elected president.
All of Beasley’s platform points fall under two categories, he explained in his interview: access and advocacy. He wants to continue current A.S. President Alison Sir’s projects, including her vending machine project — a project aimed at providing food to low-income students — as well as finding a permanent location for the bike shop, something also pursued by Sir’s predecessor, former A.S. President Brooke Kopel.
“A lot of [Sir’s] goals were cut short by COVID … I definitely want to make sure that those projects have a home in my office and [are seen] through to completion,” Beasley said.
He added that he also wants to focus on returning free night and weekend parking to students, who initially voted for “free” night and weekend parking through a lock-in fee in 2003. But that “free” parking only lasted five years; now, if students want to park on campus during nights and weekends, they are required to purchase a $52.50 permit that lasts for three quarters. Beasley said he has already had a few conversations with Transportation and Parking Services (TPS) over this issue.
Like Foreman, Beasley also aims to make sure students have “adequate access” to mental health resources and know their options, if elected. He noted that “you never really know what you’re getting into when you go [to C.A.P.S.],” adding that “C.A.P.S. isn’t for everybody.”
“When I first went [to C.A.P.S.], there were no available Black psychologists. And when I asked for one, I kind of got laughed at. I ended up being able to go out into the community to find Acacia Health and Wellness,” he said.
Similar to many executive candidates this year, Beasley hopes to establish a standardized emergency response protocol at the university. He explained that in his time at UCSB, he’s seen a gap between the administration and its students when times of emergencies struck, such as during the 2017 Thomas Fire and the current coronavirus pandemic. He noted that he had “countless meetings” with administrators to help address students’ needs before the coronavirus shut down the campus.
He added that there needs to be more outreach between the administration and students in terms of advocacy, particularly on administrators’ parts.
“The students are constantly having to go to [administrators’ doors] … ‘Can we have a meeting? Can we talk about this? Where’s the funding for Black students? Where’s the funding for Native American students?’ That shouldn’t have to be a recurring conversation,” Beasley said.
“Next year as president, I will make sure that administration is able to reach out to students and ask them what they need instead of the other way around,” he continued.
Ultimately, the Nexus believes that Beasley’s passion, combined with the relationships he already has with UC administration, gives him a leg up over anyone else. He has also shown the ability to adapt through his time in office, tacking on projects he hadn’t run on, like the TMT project, and turning them into major initiatives for his office.
The Nexus believes that Beasley will use this tangible experience as EVPSA to his benefit if elected president; he has worked incredibly hard to highlight efforts that otherwise may have slipped through the cracks. He has proven time and time again over this year as EVPSA that he has the ability to advocate for change at the highest levels.
If elected as the next president, the Nexus believes that Beasley will not only continue the work he is already doing, but use his unique qualifications to truly listen to his constituents and go above and beyond to create tangible change on this campus.
Update: The Nexus has replaced the portraits done of each candidate with their self-submitted headshot. We heard concerns about the portraits not accurately reflecting what the candidates look like and will actively work to ensure that this will not happen in the future.