City on a Hill Press is dedicated to informing students about the spring campus elections and as a part of this effort, we are profiling the candidates for the Student Union Assembly officer positions. Voting started Wednesday, May 13th and continues through this Wednesday, May 20th. Vote online at http://www.elections.ucsc.edu.
Third year politics major Scott Matsumoto has been part of the College Nine student governance for almost three years, and is now running for the office of Student Union Assembly Chair. He is currently holding the position of College Nine Senate President, and has previously served as Student Senator and the College Nine Student Representative to the SUA.
CHP: What is your platform?
I’m running because I feel that a fundamental change is needed at UC Santa Cruz relating to student governance.
I do feel that the current student government has become somewhat detached from the student body and my goal is to bring transparency, accountability and communications back to the average student here on campus.
If you asked students around campus what SUA is, the vast majority of people will say they don’t know. It’s very valuable for students to know what their student government is doing, what things they are focusing on and where their fees are going.
CHP: What would you do to change that?
In order to change it, I would first open communications with all different organizations, with all different departments. Pretty much open up communications with students, the administration of every individual college, all the different student organizations on campus, not just the ones that are a part of SUA, and the UCSC administration, along with the city of Santa Cruz.
CHP: How would you accomplish this?
If elected, we’re required to stay here over the summer and I would be working to establish connections with all the people I just mentioned.
CHP: What are some of your accomplishments as College Nine Senate Chair?
As College Nine Chair, I convened the first council of chairs in years. It was a meeting that the current chair said he was not willing to form.
It was a way for the chairs of all 10 different senates to sit in a room and discuss matters relating to the university. It was a way for individual students to meet with each other and see how things are going, as well as to help work on things like TAPS.
The College Nine Senate was also able to start the newspaper readership program from USA Today and that’s pretty much a program that provides free newspapers for College Nine. Convening the council of chairs was a big accomplishment for the year and the launch of our College Nine website to relay messages back and forth to the students.
CHP: Your posters around campus are calling for students to “vote for the underdog.” Could you explain this slogan?
In SUA, there are things kind of like slates. Previously, it was Students First, this year it’s Progressive Students and for the past couple of years it’s been the same group of people that has won every election. Very rarely does someone outside of that group win.
It’s always been an uphill battle for us, and we know that change takes time. We’re mainly fighting against the machine; they have all the resources and everything, all the access. They’re kind of like a political party. Technically, those are not allowed on the ballot, but there’s nothing there to enforce it.
CHP: What else would you want to change?
If elected, I would actually focus on internal services rather than external services. For example, I’ve noticed the past year that students have to form their schedules around library hours and it should be the other way around, where the library should form a schedule around student hours.
I would be working to get the library extended hours, at least during finals week. If the library is unable to get that to happen I’d work with the individual colleges for rooms to be available later at night so students who were trying to cram would be able to study in them.
SUA has some financial support to do it and I don’t think it would cost a whole lot to keep it open at least two more hours for one week.
CHP: How would you deal with budget cuts if you were elected?
The role of student government is to make sure that services are there for students. SUA has been building this carry forward pot, left over money from previous years. It’s supposed to be used in times of budget cuts like right now.
I would use some of that to help financially support some of the organizations that are being cut or greatly changed to make sure students have the same education without the budget cuts, at least the best that we can do.
Scott Matsumoto for SUA Chair [Facebook]
Elections Guide: Spring 2009 [City on a Hill Press]