The Nexus compiled profiles of our current Associated Students elected officials to reflect on their past year in office. As they look back on their campaign platforms, we asked our elected officials to tell us about their successes and shortfalls throughout their terms in office. The term in reviews for the other executives — President, EVPLA, IVP and S.A.G. —  can be viewed at

2022-23 External Vice President for Statewide Affairs Marvia Cunanan brought attention to the struggles of marginalized students at UC Santa Barbara through extensive advocacy and student organizing during her tenure. 

Nisha Malley / Daily Nexus

Fourth-year sociology major Cunanan prioritized championing the needs of students with disabilities through her state and local lobbying work as External Vice President for Statewide Affairs (EVPSA), in addition to her advocacy work as the University of California Student Association (UCSA) campaign chair.

Cunanan centered their platform points around disability justice and prioritizing funding to address the needs of marginalized students. They made good on both goals, rallying and lobbying for a wide array of policies aimed at allocating funds toward both causes and raising awareness of obstacles marginalized students face in their academic careers.

“There’s a lot of issues with accessibility and the way that disabled people are treated across the UC and really the lack of support services that are available for us to navigate our college careers,” Cunanan said. “I knew that in the position of being EVP I would be able to speak directly to my experiences and leverage my personal experience to create bigger, broader gains for the disability community.”

Cunanan sought to highlight and remedy a number of issues affecting community members with disabilities across UC campuses, making it a priority to fight for an expansion of staffing capacity at disability support services.

“I am proud to say that we did start work pertaining to disability justice in a way that UCSA has never done before,” she said.

Cunanan voiced concerns about the accessibility of UC Santa Barbara’s campus and a lack of funding for support services both on campus and UC-wide. They advocated for UC-wide trainings on disability access and inclusion and adequate funding for disabled student program directors.

Her office also pursued approximately $19 million from the state of California in further funding for programs supporting students with disabilities across the UC — taking the issue to the student lobby conference and meeting with state assembly members and state senators to raise awareness of the unmet needs of marginalized students across the UC. 

“We need staff that can work with students to provide support outside of the classroom — not just accommodations but thinking about our academic and career advising needs, none of that support directly caters to the communication access needs of students with disabilities, so we really see it as an urgent need to expand funding for disability support services,” she said. 

The effort saw further general funding to disability support services in a California State Senate budget subcommittee proposal, an achievement Cunanan attributed to the impact of student organizing.

“It really speaks to the impact of student lobbying and the work that we’ve done to bring these issues to the forefront of both the Assembly and state legislature’s minds as well as the UC Regents,” they said.

In collaboration with A.S. senators, Cunanan worked to reduce barriers to funding student travel in order to ease the transfer of funds to organizations that promote equity in higher education.

The effort allowed a number of campus organizations to travel to conferences, including the Black Student Union delegation to the Afrikan Black Coalition Conference and the Legal Education Association for Diversity’s trip to the east coast to learn more about the path to law school for students from low-income and first-generation backgrounds.

“I do want to make sure that I’m giving back to our community,” Cunanan said. “The A.S. bureaucracy that can prevent other students from having the same opportunities is something that I tried to work on.”

Cunanan said she’s proud of the turnout her office facilitated during the UC Student Organizing Summit in August, with UCSB bringing the largest delegation of students than any other university to the Pasadena event.

Cunanan additionally used their position to advocate against the Thirty Meter Telescope project and ensure that her office and UCSA were accessible and transparent to all students via social media.

The EVPSA office faced difficulties posed by unprecedented turmoil in the A.S. Senate during Fall Quarter 2022 and Winter Quarter 2023, which Cunanan acknowledged impacted their work.

“That definitely did pose some challenges in fall quarter in terms of office capacity, and if I’m being honest, it was something that personally did impact me and the way that I was able to engage with things,” she said.

“The way that I see it this situation would have been so much easier to navigate if we had well supported programs and services on campus to facilitate repairing harm in our communities and the fact that we don’t, it does speak to the UC’s priorities,” she continued.

Cunanan said their successor, third-year political science major Vero Caveroegusquiza, possesses a “really strong organizing mindset” and understands the need for student engagement.

“It’s something I really admire about Vero and it gives me a sense of relief knowing that this office is in good hands with them,” they said.

A version of this article appeared on p. 6 of the May 11, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Mark Alfred
Mark Alfred (he/him) was the University News Editor for the 2022-23 school year.