2014 SUA Officer Election Results Announced

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Below are interviews City on a Hill Press conducted with the candidates at the beginning of campaign week.

 

Justin Lardinois — Chair

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.”

  

Kayla Oh — Internal Vice Chair

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.

  

Louise Cabansay — External Vice Chair

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.

  

Max Hufft — Commissioner of Academic Affairs

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.

 

Israel Molina — Commissioner of Diversity

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.

  

Brad Mleynek — Organizing Director

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.