The Daily Nexus unanimously endorses unopposed candidate Vero Caveroegusquiza, a third-year political science major, as the next External Vice President for Statewide Affairs.
Caveroegusquiza’s experience as the current head of staff in the External Vice President for Statewide Affairs (EVPSA) office, coupled with her extensive work with grassroots activism groups and substantive understanding of marginalized communities’ needs, would lend themselves to an impactful tenure to the benefit of the student body.
Caveroegusquiza’s platform points focus on expanding students’ basic needs resources, fighting for affordable, accessible and ethical housing, combating harmful investments made by the University of California and strengthening community alternatives to policing.
“This is the office that I think really cares about student advocacy and activism, and I want to ensure that remains to be the case,” she said.
Caveroegusquiza’s housing platform championed advocacy for further grants to students — especially those that are undocumented — and a commitment to fighting the construction of the proposed Munger Hall dormitory.
As a student of multiple marginalized identities, Caveroegusquiza’s lived experiences parallel those of various underrepresented communities at UCSB and would help inform her decisions, allowing her to advocate for her constituents with empathy and solidarity.
If elected, Caveroegusquiza said she will work to expand grants for undocumented students and ensure they will be eligible for employment with the UC, divert funds away from UC police and raise further awareness for the Restorative Justice Program, where students cited for specific violations are able to take a class in order to wave harsher penalties.
Caveroegusquiza currently serves as chair of the Mauna Kea Protectors (MKP) and demonstrated a thorough understanding of issues impacting Indigenous students across the UC, including campuses’ long standing noncompliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act that requires the reunification of Indigenous artifacts and remains with tribes.
“You have failed your native students, you have failed the local Indigenous communities your campuses reside on and you need to actually start taking accountability for that and actually start taking steps toward what justice means on that front,” Caveroegusquiza said of the UC Regents.
In addition to MKP chair, she served as the secretary of Human Rights Watch UCSB, and as an organizer with Cops Off Campus, Students for Justice in Palestine, El Congreso and the Associated Students Black Women’s Health Collaborative.
While Caveroegusquiza’s experience in student advocacy is extensive, she did not highlight the duty of presenting initiatives at a statewide and federal level, which is integral to EVPSA responsibilities.
Previous EVPSAs have advocated against UC-wide tuition hikes, championed legislation supporting undocumented students services, found legislative supporters for progressive legislation like menstrual equity bills, led campaigns to increase the Pell Grant and generally offered clear plans for presenting student needs to entities like the UC Regents, the state legislature and the governor’s office.
While the Nexus believes that Caveroegusquiza’s platforms point to an understanding of where students need support from executive officials, we also believe her constituents deserve a firm understanding of how she will relay their desires to statewide entities and make them a reality on a broader scale, something she did not clearly articulate during her endorsement interview.
The Nexus also holds reservations regarding Caveroegusquiza’s unfamiliarity with local elected leaders in and around Isla Vista, including Congressman Salud Carbajal and Supervisor Laura Capps. She was unable to articulate any critiques or praises of the elected officials, leaving her ill-equipped to assess what official advocacy measures should be directed toward and exposing a vulnerability in her knowledge of the community.
“I will say I’m not incredibly familiar with them. I think maybe the fact that I’m not really familiar with them means that we could probably receive more attention from them,” she said.
Caveroegusquiza’s experience with grassroots organizing — while impactful and important — does not directly translate to the consistent communication and connections that she will need to maintain with local and state officials and thus brings into question her abilities to utilize the powers of the office to its fullest extent.
Despite these reservations, Caveroegusquiza is involved in nearly every aspect of the current EVPSA office as head of staff: organizing a number of events and travel arrangements, overseeing funding requests and other logistics within the office. The Nexus applauds her initiative and involvement and believes the extensive responsibilities she’s undertaken this year will allow for a seamless transition within the office.
Caveroegusquiza said she wants to continue the current work of the EVPSA office in uplifting students and work to inspire future student activists to follow her path.
“It’s been great to have this opportunity not just to organize students, but to realize I’m capable of organizing students, and that if I’m capable of organizing students there are so many other students out there that are also capable of doing this great work,” Caveroegusquiza said.
Caveroegusquiza’s extensive experience within the EVPSA office, valuable perspectives and assessments and policies indicate a candidate with great potential and desire to successfully advocate on behalf of the UCSB community at a statewide level — a task her advocacy experience will be instrumental in.
The Nexus believes Caveroegusquiza’s solid campaign goals and expansive advocacy work as a leader both inside and outside the EVPSA office, will set her up for a strong tenure as the next EVPSA.
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