The Elections Committee announced who will be campaigning for the positions on the six college councils and A.S. Council later this year at last Thursday’s Mandatory Candidates Meeting. Students will be able to vote in the A.S. General elections on TritonLink between April 4 and April 8.
Similarly to last year, the majority of the A.S. candidates belong to two campus-wide slates: Tritons United and Students Determined. There are also five independent candidates who are running for President, Vice President of External Affairs and the Campus-wide Senator positions.
The candidates for A.S. President are current Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Daniel Juarez for Students Determined, current A.S. President Dominick Suvonnasupa for Tritons United and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Rushil Patel, who is running as an Independent.
Juarez, a Muir College senior who has been involved with A.S. Council for the past four years, told the UCSD Guardian that a lot of students’ problems are interconnected and, by trying to tackle them separately, students and faculty are failing to successfully address them.
“If we are strategic and decide to look at campus issues holistically, collaborating with other key stakeholders, we will [solve those issues],” Juarez said. “If we chose to do it on our own, we won’t.”
In light of concerns about campus climate, Juarez underlined their slate’s goal to provide material support to students whose academic success depends on accessibility of housing, quality food and funding.
Representing Suvonnasupa,, Warren College junior Joey Giltner attended the event to speak about Suvonnasupa’s platform, which can be described by the acronym F.I.G.H.T. – fair fees, inclusion, good mental health, housing and transportation. Giltner described the importance of housing in terms not only of cost but also accessibility, specifically in regards to emergency housing.
“Both Dom and I have been homeless this year,” Giltner told the Guardian. “No student at UCSD should ever be homeless. We should always have access to housing, so we’re going to work with HDH to ensure that emergency housing is an option.”
In opposition to the two running slates, Patel made a decision to run independently. Patel, a Muir College junior who has been a member of A.S. Council for the past three years, cited being frustrated by the polarization of A.S. Council as why he chose to run as an independent.
“I’ve seen how slates can cause some unnecessary division in this campus and that’s something I don’t want to be a part of,” Patel told the Guardian.
Basing his campaign on social media and help from his team that consists of close friends and allies from various communities, Patel aims to deal with previously mentioned housing, parking and transportation difficulties and make sure that potential new regulations do not negatively affect UCSD students.
The candidates for A.S. Vice President of External Affairs are Eleanor Roosevelt College junior Lauren Roberts for Students Determined, ERC junior Zack Gianino for Tritons United and Anurag Coramulta, who is running as an independent.
Roberts told the Guardian that her slate prioritizes getting housing under control, diversifying CAPS staff and tackling problems of accessibility and retention.
“We want to sustainably go to D-I, so we can retain students who otherwise would be pushed out by the fee increase,” Roberts said. “We’re just looking to include more different people in our campus.”
Gianino told the Guardian he plans to implement the slate’s F.I.G.H.T. platform through an emphasis on student action and involvement on and off campus.
“We have embraced the idea of join the party, which is a play on words as a student political party but also as student life — making things not more politicized but opening a new type of student government that focuses on how students actually think about the campus,” Gianino told the Guardian.
Some initiatives on his platform include bringing students’ civil engagement to high schools and community colleges, creating discussions regarding racism and lobbying Congress members for legislation to accompany new influxes of students.
The candidates for A.S. Vice President of Campus Affairs are ERC junior Sabrina Ekdahl for Tritons United and Muir College junior Derek Van De Streek for Students Determined.
As a strong proponent of the D-I referendum, Ekdahl described school spirit as a significant factor in campus climate that unites people from diverse communities.
“My biggest thing is having stronger school spirit, and having people more proud to be a Triton,” Ekdahl told the Guardian. “And I think that if you have more spirit and you’re more excited about your school, you’re going to want to get involved, so it’s a cycle.”
Ekdahl also considers campus safety a high priority on her platform, citing inadequate and lighting — like that in the Gliderport parking garage — as an issue for students.
“I’m a strong advocator for safety on campus, and making sure that everyone feels safe and comfortable because this is a home for us,” Ekdahl said. “If we don’t feel safe we’re not going to thrive on our environment … And with that, fixing the lighting issue on campus.”
During the meeting, A.S. Elections Manager Claire Maniti also went over the campaigning rules, including logistics, college-specific guidelines for distribution of campaign materials, finance regulations and potential sanctions.
The Guardian reached out to Suvonnasupa, Coramulta and Van De Streek, but they were not available to respond by press time.