Student Union Assembly Elections 2014: Candidate Q&A

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Interviews conducted by Dan Becker, Arianna Cohen, Diana Dolloff, Joel Escobedo, Alexa Lomberg, Sydney Moorhead and Katie Murar

The Student Union Assembly (SUA) is UC Santa Cruz’s undergraduate student government, which was responsible for a budget of roughly $430,000 this year. The SUA includes six officer positions, three representatives from each of the 10 colleges and representatives from Queer Student Union, African/Black Student Alliance, Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance, Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán, Student Alliance of North American Indians and Ethnic Student Organization Council, which is currently inactive.

Undergraduate students pay $21 per year to the SUA. The six officers — Chair, Internal Vice Chair, External Vice Chair, Commissioner of Academic Affairs, Commissioner of Diversity and Organizing Director — work to provide a collective student voice, advocate for student issues and provide activists opportunities at the local, state and national level. SUA’s open meetings are Tuesdays at 8 p.m. in the Alumni Room above the College Nine and Ten dining hall.

Chair

Serves as the principal spokesperson of the Student Body, facilitates the weekly meetings and ensures effective interaction within the Assembly and the campus.

Photo by Alex Posis.
Photo by Alex Posis.

Art Motta

About Art:

  • Transfer student

  • Involved in student government in community college, as well as currently involved in Queer Student Union (QSU) and MECha: Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan

  • Porter College SUA Representative

City on a Hill Press: What issues are you concerned about and how would the chair position allow you to address them more effectively?

Motta: Definitely the issues I will be working on are advocacy, affordability and engagement. Advocacy — both on and off campus. The campus demographics are changing and we have to make sure the leadership reflects that, since the leadership answers to the students who have concerns — the leadership answers to students, the students don’t answer to leadership. That’s what we’ve seen this year. There are many students who function outside of SUA because they don’t see the legitimacy in SUA. We need to take responsibility and prove they are the student voice, the official voice of students.

And with affordability, as we know, tuition at the UC’s has nearly tripled in the last decade. When I first graduated high school, tuition was under $6,000. It’s now $13,398 in tuition and fees, so that’s nearly tripled in the last decade. And we also have to find ways to make it affordable to students that come after us. UC president Janet Napolitano has promised that tuition would not increase this next year. But after that, there are concerns of tuition increasing four percent thereafter. That’s about $600 a year for students that come after us so we have to find a way to return to the roots of the original master plan of higher education, which stipulated that admission and tuition shall be free to all of the residents of the state of California in the UC system and it’s clearly not free for students.

And also, engagement. On campus when I say engagement I refer to student organizations, student groups, student involvement on campus because it is the greatest source for retention. When students do arrive to UC Santa Cruz what is keeping them here besides academics? Because first and foremost we are students, but outside of the classroom we do have to focus on our student life and student groups is where that comes in. There are over 150 student groups that operate through SOAR, that are registered student organizations, and there are countless others that operate outside of SOAR, through campus entities, whether it’s any of the resource centers, you know, the campus media, and also the cantú queer center — they have almost over ten student groups that operate through them. And of course across campus we have groups like the sustainability counselor groups, and countless that operate outside SOAR. And we have to make sure that the infrastructure allows students to carry out any workshops, events and their goals as well. To keep each other here grounded in our education but also, you know, have a student life outside of our academics.

CHP: What are some of your goals for the office?

Motta: One of my goals is to make sure the student leadership reflects the campus demographics, and that they are an actual representation reaching out to students who identify as that ethnicity. Recently, according to the Office of Institutional Research and Policy Studies — they released numbers from fall 2013 — the student populations have changed. For students who identify as Latino, they make up 30.2 percent of the population. Students who identify as Asian make up 20.5 percent of the population and those who identify as black make up 2 percent of the population. Those who identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native, 0.2 percent. So definitely, there is a concern there. Students who identify as an underrepresented student need to have more resources on this campus as well. We definitely have to include students who identify as underrepresented in decisions that are being made. The Student Union Assembly is supposed to be an assembly and it operates more as an association. We definitely have to change that and return to our roots.

Next year we will be celebrating the 30th year of student union assembly and also the 50th year of the anniversary of UCSC’s existence. Are we ready to reach those milestones? What is taking place, internally, in student government? To carry that out, each student pays a $7 quarterly fee, to the Student Union Assembly and we have to make sure that those fees are being used in ways that will benefit the student body, the entire student body, so students have a concern or a voice in where their fees are going.

And also, as I was saying, affordability. We need students to reach out to local representatives, local legislatures, so the External Vice Chair is definitely playing an important role. We have to make sure that they are knowledgeable on these issues as well because they are the voice of students off campus and the voice to local legislatures.

And also, with engagement. We have to make sure that the internal vice chair remains true. You know, the Internal Vice Chair chairs the Student Committee on Committees. So we need to make sure that students are appointed to committees and provide a voice, a student voice, on those campus committees. And that’s another area where students can voice their opinions and concerns as a student.

As well with the different student groups on campus, many student groups have to work hand in hand with the Commissioner of Diversity and also the Commissioner of Academic Affairs so they have to make sure that all the officers are on the same page and speak to each other and know what is going on, that there’s constant communication, not only among the officers but with the assembly. The assembly meets on a weekly basis, usually for several hours. That’s the only time a week where the entire assembly is together. We have to make sure that that time is used wisely.”

CHP: What do you see the duties of SUA Chair as?

Motta: The role of SUA chair demands experience, ability to ensure accountability, representation, and to coalesce the student voice while keeping an awareness of public issues. You see, in 1985, students took the first steps to unite on a campus wide level. The SUA was created to give students a real voice, a voice that is now recognized by the chancellor and the UC regents. And that voice isn’t being used to the most of its ability. That’s definitely what I have concerns with. I don’t think it is, and it should be.

CHP: What are your qualifications for this position and what brought you to the SUA?

Motta: I’m a transfer and re-entry student so I’m not a traditional student. I started here as a freshman. So I definitely have a bit more life experiences. This is my first year at UCSC but I’ve been heavily involved. Some students don’t realize that I’ve only been here one year. They suspect I’ve been here longer because of all the different areas that I am involved in. And many students come to me for questions because they know that I’m in SUA, I’m known as “the SUA guy”. So just to find out that students would rather come to me than an officer is really disheartening and concerning as to why they see that disconnect among the officers. So definitely, regarding experiences, at my community college I was heavily involved in working collaboration between different student clubs, student groups, heavily involved in student government and making sure that students were represented. At that community college, about 47 percent of the students identified as Latino, so it was definitely a Hispanic serving institute. Just recently, now UCSC is in the midst of being able to be eligible to be a Hispanic serving institute, we’re still in that process. But definitely at my community college and beyond, heavily involved. I was picked out of the graduating class to be the commencement speaker, so I definitely rose up and showed that I do have the experience and ability to perform.

Photo by Alex Posis.
Photo by Alex Posis.

Justin Lardinois

About Justin

  • Served as SUA Chief Justice, working with university policy, SUA governing documents and parliamentary procedure

  • Vice Chair on Student Fee Advisory Committee

City on a Hill Press: What do you see the duties of SUA Chair as?

Justin Lardinois: I would say they are a facilitator and also a representative. A big thing in the SUA constitution is the first duty of the chair that it lists is leader and principal spokesperson of the student body. So I think what the SUA chair should be there to do is to facilitate SUA, be there as a support for the other officers, for the representatives — make sure everything is going smoothly and everyone can have their voice heard, and then also there to be a representative for the student body because all the other representatives of SUA represent a very specific subset of the students, whereas the Chair is supposed to be there for everyone.

CHP: What are your qualifications for this position and what brought you to the SUA?

Lardinois: I think what brought me to SUA was just a general interest in government and politics. One of my majors is politics and so it’s something I’m passionate about. As far as my qualifications, I’ve served as SUA Chief Justice which gave me a lot of experience with university policy, SUA governing documents and parliamentary procedure. I am the Porter College representative and Vice Chair on the Student Fee Advisory Committee, so that’s taught me a lot about how fees work and university budget, and also I’ve served on Porter senate.

CHP: What issues are you concerned about and how would the chair position allow you to address them more effectively?

Lardinois: One of the big issues right now is students feel like SUA isn’t really working for them, and they’re right — it isn’t. Because right now for me, it seems like SUA is just for people who go to college government meetings, go to SUA meetings or are experts on procedure, and I don’t see that as the way it should be. I want it to be open to students and that’s why one of my platforms is having informal town hall meetings every now and then, where students can come and talk to me about what’s important to them and I can voice their issues in SUA.

CHP: What are some of your goals for the office?

Lardinois: In addition to the town hall meetings, another big thing for me is campus safety. This campus needs to be a safe place for everyone. If you look at the UC motto, it says, ‘Let there be light.’ Well, you come on campus at night, it’s well, ‘where are the lights?’ I want to work on improving lighting on campus, and another big thing is the CSO program. They’re called Community Safety Officers, but in my experience — and I think a lot of students would agree with me — they act like police. I don’t think that’s what they should be there for. They should be a resource students feel like they can depend on when they’re in trouble.”

Photo by Alex Posis.
Photo by Alex Posis.

Marjohnny Torres

About Marjohnny

  • Transfer student

  • Director of Sustainability in community college’s student government

  • Involved in MEChA: Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan

City on a Hill Press: What issues are you concerned about and how would the chair position allow you to address them more effectively?

Torres: When I started in student government, I was director of sustainability. A part of the job was keeping the school zero waste, making sure all the events happening on campus were zero waste. If a student organization was throwing an event where food was involved, I would make sure we would provide the compostable plates and the cups so the events were zero waste. It makes it easier on the side of the organization since they don’t have to worry about ‘we have to do extra in order to be good for the environment.’ We would show up, we would already have a trained crew — you stand in front of the trash bins and tell them there’s the sign. So when you attend the event, it’s not just, ‘I’m going to an event and eating’ but the food you’re eating is also a part of it. When you throw it away, you’re finding out from the sign next to [the trash bin] that it’s going to a landfill and the problems that landfills create. In the same sense, if you’re not used to composting and throwing things in different places, if you see three bins and you do it at an event, even if it’s just for two or three minutes, that stays with you. Maybe you just didn’t know you could throw this one in this one or that one and you would all benefit from that. So it’s implemented programs like that that just make it easier for organizations to do things like that.

I also love the forest. A lot of the time I spend on this campus is in the forest. And currently, a policy that the administration passed or that was put as a presidential mandate was the zero tolerance for smoking. And I don’t smoke cigarettes but I enjoy the forest a lot. And what’s happening here is, we’re not like UCLA or Berkeley where you could cross the street and you’re outside of campus and you could smoke a cigarette. People are not stopping smoking cigarettes. They’re going into the forest, and the butts are everywhere. So it’s something that we need to address that just because there’s a policy that says this is how it has to be, we can’t have that kind of stubbornness. It’s damaging our forest and that’s one of the main reasons people come to this campus and the beauty of it. It’s not good to see cigarette butts somewhere when you’re hiking or just being out in nature, cigarette butts are not good. As students, we could write letters to Marlboro and these companies to make them biodegradable. There’s things we could do about it. But we need to start those conversations. We can’t just cross it off completely and “this is how it’s going to be.” We need to talk about how the schools are affected differently. Because we are in a national reserve, you can’t just ignore behavior that is going on. So we need to address it and it’s conversations like this that we need to bring to the table and discuss.

And like I said about the UC regents, we really want a democratic way to elect them and the president. There’s complaints about Napolitano about the UC Regents making the wrong choice, but they could fire her and appoint someone that’s just as bad and where do the students stand? All we can do is ask and asking is not enough. We are paying. If there was a private company and we were paying the amount of money we’re paying you would have some say in the leadership of that organization, and it’s not happening. It’s not happening. It just doesn’t make sense that like ten or twenty years from now the regents are not going to be appointed anymore. The people are beginning to understand that this is how things get done. If you want someone to be accountable you need to have some sort of way to make them accountable. So we could vote them in and out of office and there will be more of a legitimate governance over us. They’re appointed; they’re not doing anything that’s good for us. And that’s one of the biggest issues that I want to bring to the student government and not just to the student government but to the students of the campus and the other UC campuses as a whole.

CHP: What are some of your goals for the office?

Torres: Get the conversation started. Just get people from all aspects of the school. We need administration, we need students, we need workers, we need everybody who has an interest in the school, who either works for the school or gains something from the school, the students, our education. That needs to be the priority — working toward a student and worker run university. Ten or 20 years from now we’re not going to have the UC regents the way it is now. Students are mobilizing and it has to change. People want to elect the people who run their institutions and it’s getting that conversation started.

There are a lot of things that we need to figure out. Would it be the students that vote for them? Would it be the state that votes for them? Then we would need to change the California constitution. How are we going to go about that? We would need to petition in order to get a referendum going. There’s all sorts of things that need to get started that while individuals and organizations can work on, if its the people, like the 22 students that were arrested last quarter, if they had been the student government, that would have been a completely different story. If the student government was saying there’s a lot of complaints about Napolitano. If the student government took a more active stance on it, then it would make a difference. If there’s just random students that are protesting, like yeah, there are legitimate people working toward these causes but we need people in every single position, in every single angle. It’s not going to be easy. That’s the last thing they want to give up: control of the decision making that happens in the school. That’s going to be the last thing that they want to give up but that’s the first thing that we should be striving for that we want to claim.

The school teaches of democracy all of these things like autonomy, sovereignty and we don’t have that. So I’m a politics major. I’m not learning all this stuff so I could fill in a bubble, so I could get into a good school, so I could fill out a test so I could get a job from 9-10 where people would pay me hundreds of dollars. In the world that I’m from, I come from Los Angeles, it’s very oppressed, systematically oppressed. And it’s not an option to just stay quiet and not do anything about it. So we need to go out and change these things. It’s not enough to just post something or forward an email. Yeah, we need all that but we need more. We need our institutions, the people who are supposed to be representing us, to be speaking out on these issues. We are not a democratic institution and we need a democratic institution and that’s why I’m running.

CHP: What do you see the duties of SUA Chair as?

Torres: The reason for the chair is to maintain order in the meetings, to mediate the meeting so that people who come in with ideas are able to express themselves without someone overpowering the meeting or someone not getting a say. I was in student government before. I have an A.A. in public policy, I’ve been in a lot of groups so I’ve helped to mediate large groups of students already.

CHP: What are your qualifications for this position and what brought you to the SUA?

Torres: A few weeks ago, I saw a few students were being arrested so I asked myself what is this really about? and it was about smaller classes. And one of my TA’s was one who was arrested. If he doesn’t have the space to ask to the administration for smaller classes, and he needs to go out in the street and protest, then that means that there isn’t that space. So if my teachers are telling me that every single year classes get bigger, but after that they don’t mention anything, it keeps me wondering “well, why?” And the more I wonder and the more I research and ask, it always comes back to the same thing. It’s the regents who decide on everything that goes on in any of the UC’s. So it doesn’t matter how many committees you go to, at the end of the day it’s the regents that make those choices and they have no reason to be accountable to students. They are appointed by Gov. Brown for their terms, and students have no say. They have no reason to want to do what is good for students. They work for the companies that as a school we borrow money from. So it doesn’t make sense to me that someone who works for the companies that I borrow money from is going to run the school and make sure that my best interests are kept at hand. What I’ve seen is that they’re charging more, that interest on my loan, and I see it, you know? The people that could fire them and the people that hire them, those are the owners of the companies so of course they’re going to do what’s best for the companies and what’s best for the companies is to keep us students in debt. And we need to address that.

So the reason I’m running for student government is so that we can collaborate better. Like I’m already working through grassroots through a lot of students and other campuses. What we want is a democratic way to elect the UC regents and we need to get the conversation started. It’s not something that’s going to happen within a year but we need to get the conversation started so that we’re able to do so. And through the power of the student government, because we’re able to meet with people and other student governments, we can mobilize. We’re doing it anyways but the resources that student government could provide would expedite the process faster. We would be able to do it better with more resources.

And what are my qualifications? I care for the students. I’m not going to tell you that I want to do things, I’ll tell you the things I’ve done. In community college, I went to Santa Monica College, I started a community garden. I was sitting there and wondering, there’s so many trees on campus, you should be able to go up to the trees and grab fruit from it, you know. So I went to the grounds department and I found out who was in charge of planting the trees and I went to them and I talked to them and they were like “No, you shouldn’t. Like I have a boss, I have nothing to answer to you.” I said “okay”. I started going around to classes, asking for signatures. “Hey, this is an idea that I have, let’s work on it.” And from just going around classes, some people were open to put their signatures in, and when it came down to it I found out, who’s running the school? It was the board of trustees. They’re the ones that get to make those decisions. And so I went to them with signatures, and I had to get student government support and get academic support and just the community at large and people had tried to do it a few years before but the administration had been reluctant because they feared that it was going to look ugly. The garden is established now and it’s one of the things that when they advertise the campus, it’s one of the things they put in the flyer. And that’s how I got involved in student government. Through that.

But after that, I got here to UCSC and I got involved in MEChA and I worked with AFSCME and UAW. Through MEChA, I’m education affairs coordinator and what that is, is every week I have to present a topic that I want to bring forward, and so previously we’ve done alcoholism and drugs and dependency and just how to deal with that because a lot of people who are our age, are engaged in a lot of behavior that, we’re not here to demonize them but at some point, people may want to stop or some people need to deal with it, you know? So having that conversation that they may not have had at home just having it in a space among students helps so much. Another thing we did is GMO’s.

Like talking about what is a GMO, and one thing we found out just through doing our research is that Obama appointed to the Food and Drug Administration… basically what they do is they make sure there isn’t any poison in our food. And the guy that Obama put to fill in this position is the guy that used to work for Monsanto. So when the same person that is supposed to keep poison away from my food is the same person who works for the company that makes the poison, it’s like, it’s those kinds of things that we need to talk to the community about so we can create the change. Because there are organizations and if I’m elected we’ll need to use the powers of the student government to really make an expose on who the board of trustees are because if you go to Wikipedia, go to Google to just start researching it, they’re not hiding it at all. They work for these companies. They belong to these companies. And they’re appointed. And I’m a politics student and to me that’s described as … it’s not democracy. The people who are running this institution, we have no say over. It’s outside companies that are doing it. And I want to change that. And we are working with students that are ready to do so. And being in student government is a tool for that. Because we can’t have people getting arrested, we need to sit down and talk about this with other students and really bring the issue back from just people jaywalking across the campus and remember that there was a reason for why they were out there and it wasn’t just random students but there were TA’s and teachers there too.

Internal Vice Chair

Responsible for the internal operations of SUA, works with the Organizing Director on campus-wide campaigns and is chair of the Student Committee on Committees (SCOC).

Photo by Alex Posis.
Photo by Alex Posis.

Kayla Oh

About Kayla

  • Served as Chief of Staff for current Internal Vice Chair

  • Neighborhood Assistant (NA) at Oakes College

Other Projects of Interest

  • Collaborating with TAPS to create an app for a campus bus GPS tracking system

  • Lack of parking

City on a Hill Press: What kind of events and programs would you like to bring to campus?

Oh: First, with the concert, I want to improve that and expand it to include more students next year. Not only through adding a volunteer task force earlier on in the year so they can help plan it, but also working with student orgs and collaborating so they can showcase their talents at the concert as well. It was a little too late this year to reach out to them, or we reached out and they didn’t get back to us in time — there were a lot of miscommunications so we weren’t able to incorporate as many students as we wanted to. The winner of UCSC’s Got Talent couldn’t have worked this year since it happens after the concert, but that is definitely something to think of for planning it next year. I’d also like to see more philanthropic events in general, something like a dance-a-thon. It’s kind of a silly thing, but I’ve seen it work at other UCs and other universities and they’ve been incredibly successful — UC Merced raised over $75,000 this year. It’s a really fun way to come together around a cause. A lot of dance teams on campus wish they had more opportunities to showcase what they’ve been working on all year so that could be an avenue for them to do that.

CHP: What issues are you concerned about and how do you plan to address them?

Oh: A big issue on campus in general is the lighting and safety. Slugs United has already taken the initiative to extend the escort system and the 20 bus route. We’ve done certain things so students can get home more safely, but I’d like to see that continue and grow so we can extend these services. I’ve called the escort system and they’ve told me that they end at midnight — but it was 3 a.m. and there are no more Night Owls and I need to get back home. Also, I’d like to see more student involvement in SUA. We try so hard to outreach to students and have events that get them excited, and it’s just really hard to reach out to a lot of them. Edge of Eden is the first big project that’s gotten a lot of student interest and so I’d like to see that continue, but we can get more students and orgs involved in the planning process to make it more collaborative. In terms of collaborating, another one of my platforms is creating liaison positions between the office of internal affairs and all of the different orgs on campus.

CHP: What do you see the duties of Internal Vice Chair as?

Oh: I think the Internal Vice Chair is meant to build community on the entire campus and provide some sort of student life activities that otherwise aren’t taken care of. I think it’s all things student government controls that are internal, so on this campus, directly affecting students. But, we have the Commissioner of Academic Affairs, Commissioner of Diversity, we have an Organizing Director, we have these other three officer positions that have these specific roles and so the Internal Vice Chair isn’t meant to just take care of academic or diversity issues, they’re meant to work with them in order to build more of a community on campus and fix the issues that affect many students but don’t fall into any one of those categories. So that’s sort of where the concert came from this year.

I’m the chief of staff for the current IVC, and we didn’t see any large scale event that was open to every single student to just have fun together and meet people and work together and just celebrate Santa Cruz because we have a beautiful campus, we have a lot of things to offer so we wanted to put something together that showcased that and have something that students could be proud of and have fun at something without some sort of ulterior motive or agenda. Last year we also worked on the Slug Shuttle, that was one of my big projects. The Slug Shuttle doesn’t fall into any other officer positions. It was a shuttle that took students directly from Quarry Plaza to the airport for free, which doesn’t really fall into the purview of academic or diversity affairs, so that was something we took care of.

Transportation and Parking also sort of falls under IVC, also maybe lighting falls under that too, but that is such a big deal on campus that all six officers have sort of taken on together. [I asked what was meant by ‘lighting’]. For example all the trails on campus, such as the one from Kerr Hall to McHenry, there are those trails in the middle of campus that have no lights. So if you’re walking from the library back to your dorm room or something late at night, it’s so poorly lit that you have to use your phone flashlight and its really dangerous, there are cracks and bumps, no fences or anything. These are really simple issues that have such an easy solution, but its the process to get that started is a big issue and we need to work on that as a whole. So the IVC would start projects like that and work with the other officers to make that happen.

CHP: How do you feel about the campus ballot measures up for vote?

Oh: I believe up for vote is Slug Shuttle, LSS, GROW, the constitutional amendment, and Measure 16. I would say all of them are really important to me. I’ll start with Measure 16, this is something that doesn’t really seem like it would affect students but what it does is allow the student committee on committees to free up their funds by changing the percentages of what they have to spend on what. They have a huge budget and they have such specific guidelines and rules for how they can spend on the money, like 15 percent on stipends or 20 percent on C4, so they have way too much money to spend without enough things to spend it on. So a lot of the money is going unused that we want to give back to the students.

Measure 16 allows us to change those percentages and free up the money so that we can use it on more outreach or on hiring more students. We’re all paying into it so we might as well be able to get some of it back. They way its set up now is very specific but we think there are ways to get that money back like having more events with free food or something. I really hope it passes, it’s really beneficial to students.

Now GROW, I worked with GROW last year during campaigning since we were all near each other and I think one of the main components is that they want to hire a year-round staff member to take care of all the gardens on campus, which is obviously very costly. One of the biggest problems I had when I wanted to start the Oakes garden last year was that I didn’t know what to do during the summer. There were just so many roadblocks and red tape that we decided against changing the current garden. I wish we had someone who could’ve taken care of it and knew what they were doing. GROW would also allow us to have more communication between the colleges on this matter because I know college 8 and Kresge have really successful garden, but how did they get there, what did they do? If we had this new position it would allow for them to recommunicate what they did.

Slug Shuttle–that is my baby, I have spent so many hours on this last year with meetings, e-mails, planning everything. And this year, to pay for Slug Shuttle we want to have a $1.50 student fee per student per quarter, so $4.50 all year. That really isn’t asking that much for everyone to pay a small fee so everyone can have access to free, safe, and efficient transportation home. Getting to the airport, if you’ve ever tried to do it is a nightmare. There are so many buses and trams and shuttles and you have to meet all these connections. If one is behind you’re all behind. Some people think its easier to just use a taxi but thats super expensive. And so I just think this is a super efficient way to fund this really awesome program. We were able to take over 1,000 students to and from the airport last year for free since TAPS paid for it last year, so I would really love to see slug shuttle pass this year so we can get back to working on next year.

Next, LSS, the Learning Services Support, I fully support that obviously. I think retention is a really big issue on our campus so having more academic support is only a positive thing since thats one the largest reasons students leave and don’t return. So having more LSS and advertisements to make it more available to every class is really important.

The last one, the constitutional amendment, that’s something that I’d like to see pass as well just because it changes some things, like it creates a new officer position and it changes the names, which are the things that are most relevant to student lives. Instead of Chair, its President, then the IVC is Vice President of Internal affairs and Vice President of Student Life–which is the new position–then there’s Vice President of External Affairs, and then the rest are all the same positions. The Vice President of Internal Affairs and the Vice President of Student Life would sort of take on the roles that IVC currently has, which are being the chair of Student Committees on Committees and also trying to plan events on campus for students. So Internal Affairs and Student Life would take on those programs because its a big job, its a lot of work for one person and office to do, so splitting up that work and giving bigger stipends to those doing more work with more responsibilities.

Photo by Alex Posis.
Photo by Alex Posis.
Photo by Alex Posis.
Photo by Alex Posis.

Kaysi Wheeler

About Kaysi

  • Co-Coordinator for Filipino Student Association’s Student Initiated Outreach ‘A Step Forward’

  • Community Assistant (CA) at Oakes college

  • On the steering board of the Student Committee on Committees (SCOC)

Other Projects of Interest

  • Creating a benefit festival to involve more student organizations, college senates and non-profits

  • Open a different check-out system for textbooks, expand accessibility regarding academics

City on a Hill Press: What kind of events and programs would you like to bring to campus?

Wheeler: Next year will actually be the 50th anniversary of our school opening so I’d definitely want to throw a pretty big event in terms of celebrating our 50th anniversary —maybe work with SOMeCA because they do alumni events every year. We could get alumni and student orgs to showcase our school in how we’ve grown in the last 50 years. We could work with administration to put on a large scale event.

CHP: What issues are you concerned about and how do you plan to address them?

Wheeler: “One big issue I definitely want to bring up next year is student health — mentally and physically. I definitely want to expand more health services, making it more affordable and accessible. One idea is that I know Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has counseling hours for each student — you get a certain amount of hours. I personally don’t think those are enough to give to each student throughout the year to focus on their problems and get them through their issues. I definitely want to expand on increasing those hours because I faced depression throughout my college career and I know it’s common among students. That’s where student fees are going so I’d like to see more out of the health services. I’d also like to work with CAPS, Sexual Assault Facts and Education (SAFE), Student Health Outreach and Promotion (SHOP) and the health center in general to co-sponsor programs and outreach more to the student body.”

CHP: What do you see the duties of Internal Vice Chair as?

Wheeler: I see the duties of the IVC as being dealing with students issues and dealing with the internal affairs within the university. Definitely being the liaison between the student body and the administration, making sure that students needs are met as well as working with different student orgs and the college campus. Basically just creating more unification within the school as whole.

CHP: How do you feel about the campus ballot measures up for vote?

Wheeler: I have looked over the referendums and I do, for the most part, agree with them in terms of although they do increase our student fees these are necessary measures to improve campus. Although definitely next year if I were to be elected in office I don’t want to piggyback on the student fees for a lot of things, I’d want to find other funding and sponsor events and to deal with student issues and improve campus as a whole rather than just forcing students to fork over more money.

Fundraising or finding sponsorships. The concert this year I think serves a great purpose of unifying the school. Definitely next year I’d like to reimagine it a little bit, maybe make it into a benefit festival and maybe work with a nonprofit org and get more student orgs involved in it. Definitely call on the college senates because they could help fundraise money in the colleges themselves to help fund that. That way our student body is more involved as a whole in the festival idea and working with a nonprofit you can definitely get benefits from that and then also donate proceeds to them.

External Vice Chair

Representing SUA to the University of California Student Association (UCSA) and the United States Student Association (USSA) and works with the Chair to advocate student interests at the local, state and national level.

Photo by Alex Posis.
Photo by Alex Posis.

Louise Cabansay

About Louise

  • Current legislative liaison and Vote 2012 coordinator for the EVC office

Projects of Interest

  • Working to finalize current plans for a new metro route that would go by Safeway on Mission St.

  • Find funding for new Night Owl routes

  • Organizing a community festival with local businesses and organization

City on a Hill Press: How do you plan to represent and advocate for UCSC?

Cabansay: “I’ve been doing that the last two years already because I’ve been working in the office. We have a lobby core, a group of students who specifically learn about the different pieces of legislation. Mainly, it’s a conduit to giving a face to an issue, a name to what, for example, does student debt mean. For the government it means dollar signs, but to a student it means education or no education. It means getting a degree or not getting a degree. So really, my plan in representing UC Santa Cruz is to just help maintain that structure that allows students to speak for themselves. This year, the office has been able to bring legislators on to campus to directly speak to students. We’ve brought a regent to campus for the first time in years. We created an event for students to meet with administrators, legislators and regents so they can actively speak. We have our conferences where we take students to Sacramento, to DC, so they can speak for themselves. Also, you’ve got to have [administrators, legislators and regents] come to the students and be at the table for the students, and not just the students going there.”

CHP: What issues are you concerned about and how do you plan to address them?

Cabansay: I’m really concerned about funding for higher education. If you look at it, tuition has tripled in the last 10 years, doubled in the last five. We have Prop 30, but that is a temporary fix. Tuition would have soared if Prop 30 didn’t pass. Janet Napolitano’s current model is a tuition freeze for next year, but for each year after that, it’s about a 4 percent increase in tuition and we’re already paying one of the highest rates for tuition for a public university. I plan to push through some of the campaigns that are already being worked on like Prop 13 reform and oil severance tax. One campaign that really speaks to me is attacking the prison industrial complex. There’s more inmate per state inmate spending than there is for higher education. They spend at least $60,000 a year on each inmate, but they can’t fund their students, your future? What does that say about the state’s priorities? Working on those campaigns, there’s a lot of momentum moving forward on those because there’s a definite need. Students are getting more aware, more agitated. I hope during our Congress happening in the summer — the University of California Student Association Congress is where students propose, plan out, and ultimately choose what would be the goal of the UC-wide push for what they want to do — that we work with possibly proposing a petition campaign for Prop 13 reform. Prop 13 reform would basically close the loophole that corporations have taken advantage of involving property taxation.

CHP: What do you see the duties of External Vice Chair as?

Cabansay: To represent the students to outside UC Santa Cruz. So you represent students and their priorities regarding higher education to the local santa cruz government, to the statewide legislature, to the national legislature. You maintain a relationship with the regents, in a way that represents what students need, what students want. Basically, just representing UC Santa Cruz outside of UC Santa Cruz, that’s what the external vice chair pretty much does.

CHP: What are some of your goals for the office?

Cabansay: So I would like to see more engagement with the local Santa Cruz community. I feel like this office has been very strong in advocating at a state and national level, but there’s still a lot to do that we can do here. And I feel like that is the most direct contact that students have with the city. There’s current plans for a new metro route that would go through Safeway. I hope to work with that and continue that work because it’s kind of been held up a bit, so it’s not going to be finished. The current EVCs working on that now and it’s not going to be finished by then. And also maybe trying to find new Night Owl routes, find funding for new night owl routes because that is a big safety concern for students. Not everyone lives downtown, off Bay. There’s definitely a huge amount of students who live on the westside.

Well there’s a midterm election coming up. I’m hoping to break voter registration records again. As vote coordinator for 2012, we were able to break the voter registration records for this campus. Hope to do so again because as it shown, in 2008 when students came out in mass numbers and broke records all around, the national congress actually increased funding for higher education, increased how much grants they were able to give out, increased the maximum grant, gave out more grants. But then, in 2010, when that number dropped, they cut funding. The only way to get those people in power to listen to you is through voting and it’s very unfortunate that like money talks a lot in politics, but ultimately its like the votes that will get you in. I’m hoping to break those records again. It’s pretty much a lot of goals. I’m hoping to build more connections with the local community. One of the things I really want to push for is a big community fair, or community festival. My idea is kind of like an OPERS Fall Festival, but with the local community, with the local organizations, with local businesses, so people can come to the campus and share what they have to offer. Like a lot of students don’t know what resources are around, don’t know what local businesses are around. There’s a free tax preparation service downtown that students don’t know. But I know a lot of students don’t know how to do their taxes. One of the smaller things is to like have a tax preparation service for that time because that does impact things like financial aid, if you’re able to file your taxes, if you file them well, you could be receiving the financial aid that you deserve.

Photo by Camille Carrillo.
Photo by Camille Carrillo.

Nick Valencia

About Nick

  • Neighborhood Assistant (NA) at Oakes College and sits on the Oakes senate

Projects of Interest

  • Make the EVC office more accessible to students through increased outreach

  • Spread awareness about conferences that students can go to and creating more conferences at UCSC, such as one at the beginning of the year and one at the end of the year

  • Improve the price of off campus housing through working with the Santa Cruz City council

City on a Hill Press: How do you plan to represent and advocate for UCSC?

Valencia: I plan to represent UCSC firmly and honestly. What the students want, whatever it is, I’m going to tackle head first. Standing at 5’7” I’m not the most intimidating person, but I am going to push for whatever the students want. I want to do that exactly how they want to do it. If they want something done, like say they want me to lower tuition. I can’t just go up to a regent and say, ‘Lower our tuition.’ What I can do is tell everyone and anyone who I’m connected to through the EVC office that we need tuition lowered. And if it’s not going to happen, I’m not going to come back to the students and say, ‘They said maybe.’ I’m going to say, ‘They said no, but let’s keep pushing them. Let’s find other ways around this. Let’s be solution-based and find a creative way to solve this.’ We can’t lower tuition, but maybe we can create a scholarship. There are thousands of dollars in California grants that go unused and if universities apply for it, it creates funds, it creates small scholarships for need-based students who want to get school supplies but can’t afford it because student debt is so much. I would fight for the students. I would do exactly what they wanted and I would give them the chance to do so as well. This isn’t my office, this is our office and I really want to push that.

CHP: What issues are you concerned about and how do you plan to address them?

Valencia:  My platform is AAD to higher education. I think it’s cute. It stands for Accessibility, Affordability and Diversity. The issues I’m concerned about are the access that students have to higher education and the SUA government as a whole and how affordable it is and how diverse the spaces are so I can tackle accessibility and affordability. Going back to what I said earlier, a lot of students don’t know what EVC is. They don’t have access to SUA because some students feel that it’s not a safe space for them. Some students just aren’t informed of it for whatever reason. I think outreaching could be done a little better to advocate for the students and show that we care. In that way, I want to give students access to SUA and make it extremely transparent for them and give them access to the EVC office so they can fight for the rights that they believe in. And issues of affordability and also tying into access.

I mentioned wanting to make a scholarship, but another thing I want to do is…the tuition freeze is going to end after next year, right? So a lot of people say, “Well I’m a third year, it doesn’t matter,” or “I’m a senior, it doesn’t better,” but for sophomores it does matter, for freshman it does matter, for people who are going to stay a fifth year, it does matter. And it also matters for my nieces, my nephews, maybe you have nieces or nephews, maybe you have a little brother or little sister. If these tuitions keep going up, not every parent has all the money in the world and not every student has all the money in the world. At some point, when is public education going to become private education because it costs so much money. So I really want to push to find ways to make schooling more affordable for all of us as students and that will also increase access that future students as well have. I want to create a campus that’s accessible and affordable for students now and for the next three, four, five generations, really thinking ahead.

And for issues of diversity, I really want to open up these spaces. Like I’m friends with another candidate Kaysi Wheeler, and she went to Ledgecon. People who went to Ledgecon were largely a group of students from this organization called Lobby core and she was the only student outside of Lobby core. The students who go to Lobby core have a lot of experience lobbying and she was the only one who didn’t and she learned and brought back a lot. She taught all of her friends and everything just the basics of lobbying and it’s so cool. And I want to get more than just Lobby core into those spaces. I want to get everybody, you know? Because the way I think about it, is this, if the same students are going to the same conferences, they have blind spots, naturally, blind spots in their own experience. So say John who is a middle class male from a Hispanic background, he doesn’t understand the struggles of say a queer woman who identifies as black and she has a whole different on how higher education affects her than John would. And so what I want to do is open up these spaces so we can get all those experiences united together, to create a change that is very central. So instead of fighting for one right, we’re fighting for collective rights together because you know as students we call come together on this campus and something we can all gather around is the struggles of being in higher education is so expensive. And if all of our experiences come together and we can really show how it affects every community differently and some harder than others, we can really push legislatures to make a change.”

CHP: What do you see the duties of External Vice Chair as?

Valencia: So, I see the duties as being largely at it’s core serving as a liaison between student issues and national, state, and local governments. But personally I see it as an outreach job and not necessarily a job but an outreach position. I feel that what I’m supposed to do as EVC is reach out to the students because one of the things when I ask about EVC or SUA is they go, “Soo-ah you mean?” and I’m like “Kind of.” It’s SUA, I explain to them. And they always say “What does EVC do?” and EVC is largely not my office, it’s the students office. This is their opportunity to get all of their voices united and stand for something that they believe in. So I feel it’s my job to outreach to them, to really show them that this is your office and the issues you care about are available to be represented on such a large scale that it shouldn’t be your job to come and find me. I should be the one standing out here in the quarry for an hour a day. Standing out here going, “Hi, I’m Nick EVC and I want to know what you want me to push.” Do you want to make this campus more affordable? Perfect. Let me tell you what I already know about it and you tell me if you know something else because we should all be working together. And I feel like that’s largely what it is, outreach and working with students to create an office that’s based around the questions they want answered and the needs they want solved.

CHP: What are some of your goals for the office?

Valencia: Some of my goals…I have so many. So I think my biggest one is opening it up. I really, I’ve said this a thousand times, but I want this to be our office, I don’t want it to be my office. I want to take away that phrasing of “What are you going to do with your office?” No, “What are you going to do with our EVC office?” Because it really is our office. And opening it up. We don’t have the funding to send 800 students to [Washington] D.C. for Ledgecon, but you know what we can do is send maybe more than 12 and send you know maybe 15 from different backgrounds, and also get 800 student inputs that all of those students are going to fight for, on top of their personal ones.

Another one I want to do is increase awareness about these conferences and I want to hold an in house conference, just students of UCSC to come to this conference, say maybe, because we start school in October for some reason, so maybe at the end of October, a conference basically highlighting all of the conferences that we have the option of going to, the conferences we can apply for and the conferences students want to go to, and start setting up pre-delegate meetings. So Ledgecon is in winter, have our first meeting in November, and have our first meeting be like, “Alright, what do we want to tackle now?” And then when January rolls around, and we get closer to Ledgecon, and Ledgecon is I believe in March, really hit home with these ideas we want to tackle. I want to create that in house conference to really give students a chance and to raise awareness. Bring food, because everyone loves food, and they’ll come for that, and give students a chance to really learn what we’re having.

And then the other things I want to do, one of my other goals, is create an end of the year conference. And which you’re required to do when you go to these conferences is bring it back to the campus in some form or way, but they always do it kind of sporadically or don’t do it at all, and what I want to do is create, think of it like an EVC carnival where like all the delegates of Student of Color Conference, Ledgecon, Student Lobby conference, come together and they do all these funny activities with all the students and it’s kind of like a little carnival where making some of these awareness issues. Like one of these campaigns is IGNITE, Increasing Graduation, Not Incarceration Through Transforming Education, presenting that, because it’s a lot and it’s kind of scary, but presenting it in a fun way, a little mini game, win some prizes, and here’s what we stand for, a really fun thing.

And being an NA, I try finding fun ways to program for my residents, so that’s one of the things. And lastly, but certainly not finally because I have some many more that I can go on and on for hours for, is I really want to increase the opportunity for students to lobby. You know, we can’t go to D.C. every year, we can’t, it’s too expensive. But what we can do is go to Sacramento more and go to our city council, you know? The Santa Cruz City Council, because they have a say in off-campus housing, affects us. Part of making this campus more affordable is finding a way to make housing more affordable. Yes, it’s more affordable off campus, I believe it’s like 1200 or 1300 we’re paying on campus compared to the 600 you might pay for a double off campus, but what about finding ways to get off campus and they don’t have a car and the bus routes need to be extended. Or working with renters to figure out some kind of solution. Maybe you can pay for the water a little more and maybe we can do something for the house. Just find ways to make this campus affordable for those living off campus, make it safer for those living off campus and make it easier for them to access the university and everything.

It’s long winded, but I do want to open up the office, create fun conferences, and really bring back the campaigns that as EVC and the EVC is mean to go out and really go lobby for, bring them back to the campus as a whole, and find ways to give people more experience, other than the big one, which is Ledgecon and SLC and really increasing all these opportunities for students

Commissioner of Diversity

Responsible for coordination and communication between the resource centers, resource center directors, student organizations and the retention and outreach student organizations. Maintains communication between the SUA, campus units and administrators about diversity, including Hate/Bias and Title IX. Track diversity with regard to enrollment, retention, dropout rates and academic standing.

Photo by Camille Carrillo.
Photo by Camille Carrillo.

Israel Molina

About Israel

  • Executive Vice Chair of Queer Student Union (QSU)

  • Current Chief of Staff to Commissioner of Diversity

  • Sits on the board of American Civil Liberties Union

Projects of Interest

  • Work closer with the resource centers and identity organizations

  • Increase the amount of delegation and outreach

  • Delegating more people within the office and bringing more people into the SUA space

City on a Hill Press: What issues are you concerned about and how do you plan to address them?

Molina: To me, the most pressing issue is creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment throughout campus. The way I want to address that is by creating this sort of identity or cultural competence program that everyone would have to complete, like AlcoholEdu, before entering. That way, we can take the first step of eliminating ignorance and taking the first step  of informing everyone that their words do have an impact on other people. They have the power to really change that culture we have on campus and to really make it more inclusive.

CHP: In 2000, a UCSC student threw a bottle at a visiting high school senior.* If you were Commissioner of Diversity then, how would you have responded?

*Editor’s Note: The high school senior was a participant in A Step Forward, a student-initiated outreach program facilitated by the Filipino Student Association (FSA).

Molina: I would have probably held a town hall meeting in whatever area that incident had occurred. I would have invited the people who have been affected by that and the community members from the university who were also affected. We would talk about how that had affected our community and what future steps we can take to address those kinds of issues.

CHP: What do you see the duties of Commissioner of Diversity as?

Molina: A champion for all forms of diversity, which to me, is an all encompassing word that includes ethnicity, race, socioeconomic background, mental health. And it really, to me, the responsibility of commissioner of diversity is to always be improving the SUA and the university to create a more welcoming environment for everyone.

CHP: What are some of your goals for the office?

Molina: Work more closely with the resource centers and especially the identity organizations that we have on campus. We’re so fortunate to have so many different ones that there is a space for everyone here, but I really want to continuously be in communication with them to better gage what I should be doing as commissioner of diversity, to really be able to steer myself according to what issues are most relevant to them. And by working with the resource centers, directors, and the program specialists, then make those goals a reality.

Photo by Alex Posis.
Photo by Alex Posis.

Alexander Williams

About Alexander

  • Transfer student

  • Member of Black Men’s Alliance

Projects of Interest

  • Maintaining the relationship between the Ethnic Resource Centers and the other resource centers like Services for Transfer and Re-Entry Students and the Disability Resource Center

  • Reach out to other UCs and asses their diversity programs

City on a Hill Press: What issues are you concerned about and how do you plan to address them?

Williams: I’m mostly concerned about treatment — whether that’s disability concerns, religious concerns or ethnic concerns. I’m really trying to focus on treatment of one individual and the other and trying to make it so that not only is there a common ground between all of us, but there’s an understanding. Because when we understand each other, we are tolerant of each other. We’re much more able to get things done because there’s no malevolence.

CHP: In 2000, a UCSC student threw a bottle at a visiting high school senior.* If you were Commissioner of Diversity then, how would you have responded?

*Editor’s Note: The high school senior was a participant in A Step Forward, a student-initiated outreach program facilitated by the Filipino Student Association (FSA).

Williams: I would have responded by making that a learning experience. I’m wearing Nelson Mandela. I promote non-violence. I fully believe we can achieve everything as one people through nonviolence. We don’t have to resort to [violence], we have evolved too much to limit ourselves to that. For a student at UCSC to blatantly do that, we need to regard that as what I’ve mentioned previously — that tension, that malevolence — that keeps us from recognizing the value in each other and promoting that and making sure we’re being more about acceptance and not segregation. We’ve all seen how that works, trying to exclude people. Tension builds up in that act. It’s just not productive. It’s not the wave we need to be on. I would probably make it an event in response to that, and just shut down that negativity and try to counteract that as much as I can.

CHP: what sort of event?

Williams: Well first off, I would get that organization involved because, you know, that student was part of that organization and I feel like to exclude them or whatever would be heresy. I would try to take that situation and caused it and I would try to reverse it onto itself. Maybe, we would make something, make bottles or something, to counteract that item that that person used as violence to try and take away that power, try to instill a positive message in what we’re doing. Something like that that would take away.

CHP: What do you see the duties of Commissioner of Diversity as?

Williams: I see them as maintaining relationships between the Ethnic Resource Centers and the different centers here on campus such as STARS, Disability Resource Center, and organizing different events such as the Pachanga Dance, recently, that the Chican@ Center put on. Involving myself in those events and making sure those events are promoting diversity as much as possible because that’s essentially what I’m trying to do. And with promoting diversity, comes the equality across color alliance. I’m trying to transform this position to do that. I’m trying to make UCSC be the forerunner for that platform for this equality because as students, we praise ourselves as the “other” UC, UC Santa Cruz, and so, it’s time that we do that in a diverse fashion.

CHP: What are some of your goals for the office?

Williams: Transform some of what the office can do, really try to reach out to the other UCs, to other schools, try to see what their diversity programs are doing there and taking all the information I can from that and bring it into our school, try to instill this mission of promoting harmony between students because diversity isn’t just based on race, it’s based on disabilities, it’s based on religion, based on something other than faces. I feel, sometimes, disability-related events don’t get more recognition—try to balance those events out a little bit as far as support. I want to be able to change the student body. I want to be able to change the way the student body thinks. I know that just me, based coming from the town I do, Lancaster, coming here, I feel so well received by most of the people here and I feel like that’s a lot because people recognize the hate. We’re diverse [here], we meet together. We’re a student body but we’re organized in that we’re all UCSC banana slugs and so, I want to focus more on that—the unity that we have.

Commissioner of Academic Affairs

Facilitates communication between UCSC and the UC Academic senate, as well as the undergraduate academic programs. Part of this communication requires gauging student academic concerns through administering surveys and polls, such as the CLASS survey.

Photo courtesy of Mick Del Rosario
Photo courtesy of Mick Del Rosario

Max Hufft

About Max

  • Current SUA IVC

Projects of Interest

  • Representing the Academic Senate as a whole, including the Committee on Educational Policy (CEP)

  • Have more involvement with the Student Academic Senate by having one representative from each college on the senate

City on a Hill Press: If elected, what projects do you plan to work on?

Hufft: I have three different platforms that I am hoping to accomplish next year. One of them is to make progress with the programming areas within academic affairs. When I was a freshman, there was this really cool program where students got to meet and greet faculty members who have a strong leadership presence in the university, and I want to bring that back on a division level. There are five different divisions here at UCSC, and I would like to hold five different meet and greets to meet with the dean and department chairs within each division. Students could mingle and discuss areas of interest with the people who are shaping our different majors in a setting different from office hours. The next thing I want to work on is reforming the CLASS survey. Instead of it being its own separate survey, why don’t we work with the most effective survey on campus — the current course evaluations survey? I want to work with the committee on teaching, telecommunications and educational policy to make sure we have questions about whether or not students crashed this course, whether it will affect their graduation date and such to give immediate feedback to specific departments to give information regarding the effect that impacted classes have on students’ education. The last thing I want to work on is less of a goal and more of a theme. Every year the Committee on Education Policy reviews the programs and policies of each department, and the Commissioner of Academic Affairs helps with these revisions. The major departments can’t handle the amount of students they have without kicking people out, so there are some qualification policies for majors that are absolutely ridiculous. I want to work with student representatives to make sure that qualification policies are fair.

CHP: What issues are you concerned about and how do you plan to address them?

Hufft: As I mentioned earlier, a huge problem for academics next year will be the major qualification policies, but I also hope to have more involvement with the Student Academic Senate, which I helped write the constitution for my freshman year. I want to rope in one member from each college government and ask them if they can sit on the committee. With this senate I feel we’ll have a really effective team of students who will be able to push on any type of issue that may come up with academic affairs, and will help voice the needs of the students.

CHP: What do you see the duties of Commissioner of Academic Affairs as?

Hufft: As a whole, I see the duties as two things. First, I see them as a liaison between students and faculty, and also as a representative for the Academic Senate as a whole, which includes the Committee on Educational Policy (CEP). Also, as Commissioner of Academic Affairs, I am responsible to be the person who builds upon current projects as well as brings more projects for the students.

Photo by Alex Posis.
Photo by Alex Posis.

 

Joshua Scuteri

About Josh

  • Involved with the UAW and AFSCME unions and protests

Projects of Interest

  • Expanding library hours

  • Increasing the number of TA’s per student

  • Promote programs such as Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, as well as Community Studies

City on a Hill Press: If elected, what projects do you plan to work on?

Scuteri: In general, I hope to promote those programs for the marginalized, such as LGBT. I’d like to see more promotion in class of other organizations. Our curriculum should be more community-oriented. So much of it is academic-oriented and Ivory Tower, but I really want to see a reinvigorated culture of activism here on campus, which again, once made UCSC great. I see it lacking today. My heart is actually green. I’m an environmentalist at heart and I don’t see enough environmentalist campaigns. I’d like to kick those off as well, such as Take Back the Tap — it’s important. I understand that this position can actually be shaped by me so I plan to do quite a few campaigns for environmentalism. I plan to support, of course, class size reduction. They’re wrapping up class size without anyone beating any eye, it’s just par for the course now. We need to keep the pressure on to keep that from happening.

CHP: What issues are you concerned about and how do you plan to address them?

Scuteri: I really appreciate what my fellow candidate [Marjohnny Torres] running for Chair is promoting, getting a discussion going to democratically elect the UC regents. Since 2011 we are more of a private institution than the public one we are marketed as. Since 2011, the majority of UCSC funding comes from students’ tuitions, and if we’re funding the college, we should have more of a say in the running of the college. I’d like to see the beginning of that discussion to democratically elect them. I can lend my position to that as a long haul. There’s nothing that’s going to happen in anybody’s term of office. It’s not going to happen in any one term of office. That’s something we’re going to have to continue by passing the torch, but it’s important we push hard for it now. My position can lend to that and I can maybe discuss with the curriculum board how we might be able to promote senior theses on a constitution, tapping the student skills and using the student body as a resource to reimagine what a more democratic campus might be and putting UCSC back on the map as a campus of innovation.

CHP: What do you see the duties of Commissioner of Academic Affairs as?

Scuteri: My main drive is to keep open these not-yet-curriculums, still programs, and turn them into curriculums that we’ve worked so hard to get here at UCSC. It seems we’re reducing the amount of innovative courses that made UCSC great and I think we need to bring that back. I want to see more innovation in our curriculum, less standardization. People worked hard to get CRES, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, as an instance among many, that’s just one instance among many. There was hunger strikes in the 80s in order to get it in here, did you know that? I just learned about that when I’m looking into it. I don’t know if I’m able to say I don’t trust it in my opponent’s hands? Well, I mean judging from his voting history, I felt it was my duty, that’s why I’m running as a write-in, it occurred to me this man is just going to get elected without any competition, so it’s my duty to at least give him a run for his money. Things like Community studies and CRES, they speak for the marginalized student, they need a voice, and people worked hard to get it here and I don’t believe there is any excuse to let them go, whether it’s austerity or anything, I find them important.

Organizing Director

Organizes internal and external campus issues and ensuring students are involved with SUA sponsored programs. Primary coordinator of campus-wide UCSA and USSA campaigns.

Photo by Camille Carrillo.
Photo by Camille Carrillo.

Brad Mleynek

About Brad

  • Chair of Crown student senate

  • Past Crown SUA Representative

Projects of Interest

  • Bring back information from conferences

  • Introduce educational forums on strikes

  • Find a way to work on preventing the eventual tuition hike

City on a Hill Press: What issues are you concerned about and how do u plan to address them?

Mleynek: Making sure that all students here at UC Santa Cruz have a voice. It doesn’t matter if you are involved or not, I want you to get involved. I want SUA to be that space for students to come and feel free to talk. A lot of people have gotten shot down in the past in that space and have been silenced, and that’s wrong. I want SUA to be a safe space on campus so that students can come to us and really voice their opinions on the issues — the issues of increasing tuition, the issue of unfair wages for our workers here on campus. The workers who we live right next to every single day who work for us and allow us to come to school and eat and go to class. There are a lot of different issues, not just student issues.

CHP: What are your goals for office?

Mleynek: Another big goal is just getting SUA’s name out there and making sure that students are aware of the events that are happening. SUA is hosting the East of Eden festival that is happening on May 10. That’s something that hasn’t happened at UC Santa Cruz. If you go on the Facebook page there are almost 4,000 students going to that. I can’t think of a single event in my three years here where 4,000 students showed up besides the OPERS Fall Festival because that’s tradition. That’s why SUA is doing this, to start another tradition here at UCSC. One of my biggest goals is taking the success of this festival and pushing it toward our traditional events such as the Multicultural Festival or the Pride Parade at Kresge and really improving these events and getting more students to go to those events. We could have 2,000 to 3,000 students participating in those, I just don’t think they have the resources and I think SUA is a great space to get those resources for those groups that want to hold those events.

CHP: What do you see the duties of Organizing Director as?

Mleynek: As organizing director, a lot of my job is going to be working with the office of external affairs and also the office of internal affairs. One of the big things with external affairs is the conferences, two of the big conferences being one up in Washington DC. Also we have our UCSA conference and our USSA conference that are really a great way for students to get together and talk about the issues that are going around not only in the UC but also in the entire United States. What’s really a big thing for me and that is my biggest goal is bringing back that information that our representatives that go to these conferences receive and bring it back to UCSC and make sure all the students gather the information and are informed about what’s going on so that we can work together in getting to those goals that we want to reach.

We have a hike in tuition right now that is s right now at a pause, but once that pause is over it’s going to keep going up and we need to fight that and make sure that doesn’t go back up. That’s one of the things I’m looking into. Another big thing is the campus issues we have. A lot of students this year have been impacted because of the strikes that have happened over the course of the year. A lot of students feel like their voices weren’t heard and I want to change that. I want to bring in educational forums for students who aren’t educated about why students are striking and why campus is being closed and that maybe they can join too because they realize what they are fighting for and we can get more students out there and make it more effective.

CHP: What are some of your goals for the office?

Mleynek: Another big goal is just getting SUA’s name out there and making sure that students are aware of the events that are happening. SUA is hosting the East of Eden festival that is happening May 10. That’s something that hasn’t happened at UC Santa Cruz. If you go on the Facebook page there’s almost 4,000 students going to that. I can’t think of a single event in my three years here where 4,000 students showed up besides the OPERS Fall Festival because that’s tradition and that’s why SUA is doing this, to start another tradition here at UC Santa Cruz. One of my biggest goals is taking the success of this festival and pushing it towards our traditional events such as the multicultural festival or the Pride Parade at Kresge and really improving these events and getting more students to go those events as well because we could have 2,000, 3,000 students participate in those as well, I just don’t think they have the resources and I think SUA is the greatest space to get those resources for those groups that want to hold those events.

Editor’s Note: The original iteration of this article suggested that Justin Lardinois, a candidate for SUA Chair, served as a Porter College Representative—this was incorrect. Lardinois does not hold, nor has he ever held, the aforementioned position.

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