The Daily Nexus endorses fourth-year feminist studies major Geovany Lucero as the next Student Advocate General. The Nexus believes that Lucero — who is running unopposed — has illustrated the exceptional experience, qualifications and goals necessary to succeed in this position.
The Student Advocate General (S.A.G.) works in the Office of the Student Advocate, an executive, nonpartisan office that assists and represents students in disciplinary administrative and conduct matters. In the past year, Lucero has served as the internal deputy chief of staff in the office, and the Nexus believes they have the knowledge and skillset to begin work as the S.A.G. from day one of their term.
Lucero plans to prioritize maintaining nonpartisanship if elected as S.A.G. by focusing on the provision of help and resources for students, rather than aligning with campus political interests, and providing support and representation for any student who needs it.
“I’ve never been a fan of this separation into different groups, so I’ve never had any political intention with the work that I do,” Lucero said. “I don’t want to align myself to any type of political agenda … because I represent everyone and I want to provide help to anyone that needs help.”
As S.A.G., Lucero plans to hold the Office of the Chancellor, the University of California Police Department (UCPD), the Isla Vista Foot Patrol (IVFP) and the Santa Barbara Police Department accountable to maintain a safe environment for UCSB students. In addition, they hope to implement better training for caseworkers in the S.A.G. office to ensure mental and emotional well-being when dealing with difficult cases.
Lucero spoke specifically about academic dishonesty; this issue has been intensified by remote learning, including its evolving definition and what constitutes “self-plagiarism,” which involves reusing one’s own work that has already been published or used in a course. If elected, Lucero hopes to provide students with clarity and understanding when it comes to resolving academic disputes such as raising awareness of their rights to testify at their hearing.
Throughout their academic career, Lucero has become increasingly involved with the university. They worked as the internal deputy chief of staff at the Office of the Student Advocate for the 2020-21 school year while serving on the Multicultural Center Council, a coalition of representatives from student organizations across campus.
Additionally, Lucero has worked as the program coordinator for the Pride Committee in the Trans & Queer Commission and as a student organizer with Hermanas Unidas de UCSB, a campus organization that provides leadership opportunities and resources for Chicanx and Latinx students.
Their work experience also includes incorporating decompression spaces in the S.A.G. office for students to engage in self-care, community-building, self-preservation and re-grounding exercises. They have also worked on gaining acknowledgements from the chancellor and UCPD that policing in Isla Vista has often been unsafe for marginalized communities, in the hope that this effort will be the first step in tackling police accountability.
In past projects, Lucero showed an eye for detail and a focus on serving under-resourced communities. Take their cookbook for meal prep on a budget, for example: On behalf of Hermanas Unidas at UCSB, Lucero consolidated affordable recipes and meal-prep ideas for students who live on a budget and have little cooking resources available. All of the ingredients could be sourced either locally or at the university’s food bank for free.
Lucero’s lived experiences provide them with the perspective of being a marginalized student, which the Nexus believes will help them serve UCSB’s diverse community.
“I’m a queer, non-binary, non-traditional, first-generation, low-income student making my way through UCSB, finding my way through community work and through my own mental health journey,” Lucero said. “It’s been a really, really personal wild journey. I’m just here to put myself out there and help other students now.”
Lucero’s personal experiences with academic probation, Satisfactory Academic Progress (S.A.P.) Appeals, retroactive withdrawal, UCPD and more gives them a raw insight into the flaws of the university.
“Last year, unfortunately, I was a survivor of a hate crime … and after that assault, I almost dropped out because the university abandoned me, and I had to leave my housing because it was unsafe for me,” Lucero said.
“I have literally been fighting against the university since my first day here, and it hasn’t been an easy journey,” they continued. “In advocating for myself and finding resources for myself, I realized that I wasn’t the only one going through these kinds of issues. So being able to find myself and advocate for myself, I found the potential and the energy to also do that for others.”
While many A.S. candidates are passionate about change, Lucero said regardless of whether or not they are elected, they will continue to do student advocacy work. Lucero has a clear passion to serve as a resource for students — one that will allow them to not simply fulfill the responsibilities of the office, but to elevate the position for further accomplishments.
“I’ve been doing this work and I will continue to do this work with or without a platform,” Lucero said. “I really want to amplify that I don’t want anyone here at UCSB, new or old, graduating or just beginning, to feel like there’s nobody there that can help them, but I will find a way to help you, one way or another. You always have a voice with me and have somebody that can speak up for you. I’m here, I will listen and I’m going to continue doing this.”