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 can be viewed at and/or in our May 16, 2024, print edition.

The 2023-24 Associated Students Internal Vice President Sohum Kalia reflected on his term, outlining the successes of his internal approach to the role while also acknowledging shortcomings of his leadership over a divisive year in the association.

Joshua Yepez Martinez / Daily Nexus

The duties of the Internal Vice President (IVP) include chairing the Associated Students (A.S.) Senate’s weekly meetings and representing the organization in all internal affairs. 

During his term, fourth-year philosophy major Kalia primarily focused on creating internal reform within A.S. Specifically, Kalia created a new financial management system, established data management software to keep track of A.S. appointments and restructured the office of the IVP. 

“I think I’ve done so much more to progress the position of IVP and the actual mechanisms and functions future entities will work with,” Kalia said. “[That’s] something that I haven’t seen any past IVPs do.”

In his initial endorsement interview with the Nexus, Kalia said one of his primary goals for his term was to improve and modernize the association’s financial management. Kalia said that his new financial management system, which he described as his “magnum opus,” has “massively” accomplished this goal.

“Every single dollar that went into the association before my term and every single dollar that’s going into the association after my term is going to rest in different areas in the association; it’s going to take a different path and it’s going to have a tangible, measurable, quantifiable change in value due to the work plan office has put in this year,” Kalia said. “I am so, so, so proud of that.” 

“We’re an association whose only metric is how much value it gives to the student body,” he continued. “We should not be burning money before it’s spent on the student body.” 

Another goal that Kalia emphasized in his endorsement interview was to eliminate the disconnect between Senate and Boards, Commissions and Units (BCUs).

Kalia said that the divide between Senate and BCUs is mainly due to a lack of information on both sides. He believes his new data management solution — which aims to keep track of every person appointed to a position in A.S. — will help promote cohesion in the Senate.

“A huge, huge issue in the association is that we have these 20 students managing the entire structure, finances, policy and strategic direction of an $18 million organization. Those 20 students do not have access to a list of everyone in the association,” Kalia said. “They don’t have the information necessary to make an informed decision.”

“Allowing future Senates to make informed decisions about the things that they have to vote on is a huge, huge quantifiable success,” Kalia said. 

Kalia also reorganized the office of the IVP during his term, creating several new entities such as a Chief Compliance Office and a Technology Management Office. Kalia categorized his restructuring of the IVP office as a “huge success,” underscoring the importance of having a Chief Compliance Office — that enforces compliance within the association.

“[The Chief Compliance Office is] such a great asset to the student body when it comes to keeping A.S. accountable,” Kalia said. “I’m super proud of it, and I’m glad I could be a part of it.”

One of Kalia’s goals that he was not able to accomplish during his term was increasing the transparency of the Senate by distributing Senate agendas to all undergraduate students at UC Santa Barbara over email. Kalia said that his office ran into administrative issues when attempting to implement this idea.

“The University Student Affairs has a huge lockdown on what is and isn’t allowed on these email blasts,” Kalia said. “We got hit with a wall of bureaucracy.”

Kalia said that while he was unable to implement his idea of emailing Senate agendas to students, he has “laid the groundwork” for the idea and hopes his initial conversations with administration on the topic will make it easier for future IVPs to ultimately be able to communicate with students.

“At the end of the day, we did come to a fair understanding and have a good idea. We now have the ability,” Kalia said. “There’s the groundwork laid to make this possible, it’s just not possible within this term.”

Kalia experimented with a hands-off approach in his leadership. Kalia announced his intention to yield his chairship of the Senate to second-year computer science major, first president pro tempore and Off-Campus Senator Ephraim Shalunov at the Senate’s Jan. 24 meeting.

Kalia returned as the chair one week later after he realized that stepping down “would not be productive.” His initial decision to step down prompted Shalunov and Off-Campus Senator and second president pro tempore Amelia Rowe to object to his chairship and demand his resignation at the Senate’s Feb. 28 meeting.

Kalia said that he still believes in the philosophical idea behind his decision to step down as chair, but acknowledged that the idea was poorly executed.

“I still firmly believe that the legislative branch should be managed and run by the legislative branch, and I’m not going to stand down on that,” Kalia said. “I think it was poorly timed and poorly executed. I’ll definitely own up to that. It could have been done better. It should have been done better. Absolutely a mistake on my part.” 

In addition to Kalia’s brief absence as the chair, the Senate also experienced several meetings where members of the UCSB student body discussed the territorial and Indigenous struggle of Palestine and Israel during public forum. Specifically, the Senate’s Nov. 8, Nov. 15, Feb. 28, April 10, April 24 and May 1 meetings all sparked controversy among students, prompting changes in meeting locations and increased safety measures at certain meetings.

In assessing his handling of these meetings, Kalia said his philosophy as IVP was to be “pro-Senate” and adhere to the Senate’s wishes as much as possible, and that he tried to strike a balance between doing what the Senate wanted while ensuring the safety of the student body.

“I think my handling of it was near the best it could be,” Kalia said. “It’s a very, very difficult balance to strike between the needs and wants of a very vocal political body of students and safety concerns that can arise from the intense passions shared from every side.” 

Further reflecting on this year’s controversial Senate meetings, Kalia said that he would advise future IVPs to prioritize student safety and the functionality of the Senate over the Senate’s wishes.

“I would advise future IVPs — for the sake of the student body, for the sake of actual transparency and actual function — you shouldn’t listen to the Senate’s wishes over functional or safety concerns,” Kalia said. “The whole reason we’re here is for the student body. If there’s any functional concern, then we’re not serving the student body. If there’s a safety concern, then we’re not serving the student body. Those are paramount. Those are the prime concerns.”

“I really hope future IVPs won’t allow a culture to breed where emotional and political ideologies are more important than functional and safety concerns,” Kalia said.

Looking back on his term as a whole, Kalia said that he hopes future IVPs will build on the work he has done.

“I came in with a lot of ideas of what a utopia of A.S. could look like. And while it was absolutely impossible to do that, what I have done is built the foundations for that utopia, so that it can actually be built. I’ve made a utopia possible, even if I couldn’t actually build it myself,” Kalia said. “I really, really, really hope that future IVPs will continue to build on my work and fix the internal affairs of the association.”

A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the May 16, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Alex Levin
Alex Levin (he/him) is the University News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Levin was the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. He can be reached at