Candidates come out swinging

    Four candidates faced off in the Price Center for the 2003 A.S. presidential debate on April 3. Students First! candidate Kevin Shawn Hsu, Unity candidate Jeremy Paul Gallagher, New Students First of the Unity Action Parking Wave Slate Slate candidate Brian Uiga and independent candidate Bryan Barton voiced their positions on topics such as campus climate, athletics and Greek life.

    Evan McLaughlin
    Guardian

    Independent candidate Kevin Hsu did not participate in the event.

    Much of the debate focused on three main issues: the quality of student life, student parking problems and UCSD athletics.

    The first such issue that the candidates were asked to address was how they would improve the quality of student life and community at UCSD.

    Tyler Huff
    Guardian

    “”UCSD is a paradox. It is a great university with extraordinary programs, but at the same time there are very serious problems with student life,”” said Kevin Shawn Hsu, the current A.S. vice president internal, in his opening statement. “”The quality of student life at UCSD and sense of community isn’t created by the A.S. president. It is created by the student organizations. Those are the people who improve the quality of life at UCSD, and it is what Students First! is all about.””

    Kevin Shawn Hsu stressed the importance of working with and improving student organizations and events as the central component of improving student life at UCSD: “”Student organizations are the lifeblood of our university.””

    Gallagher, who is currently the A.S. commissioner of services and enterprises, plans to get students involved in various organizations and promote attendance to off-campus events, such as UCSD sporting events.

    “”We need to really activate and motivate the students. Getting involved is essential in campus life,”” Gallagher said. “”When people feel that they are involved, they feel like they belong here and want to stay here.””

    In addition, Gallagher wants to promote outreach from the A.S. Council to get more students involved in decision-making in the student government and school administration.

    Uiga provided a simple solution to improving student life at UCSD.

    “”The way to improve student life on this campus is to make it more fun because right now it is really boring — it’s terribly boring. The reason why is nobody is willing to get involved,”” Uiga said, blaming past A.S. councils for the poor quality of student life at UCSD.

    Barton blamed the poor quality of student life on the problems with students parking.

    “”We have to worry about parking first, and then we can worry about these other lofty goals. Parking has to come first, and then we can have some fun. I plan to entertain, and I plan to allow the people to park their cars.””

    The parking problems Barton touched on were the next subject the candidate was asked to address.

    Barton opened the debate on the heated subject, expressing outrage about parking fees and excessive ticketing.

    “”I am going to find out where that money goes and who is in charge of it,”” he said. “”I am going to make him accountable to the students.””

    Barton also blamed the current A.S. Council for the loss of student spots.

    “”They lost 1,200 [“”S””] spaces under their watch,”” Barton said.

    Barton gave many of his ideas on how he would increase student parking, including allowing unpaved student spaces, generating money for additional spaces using corporate sponsors, and reducing “”A”” and “”B”” spaces.

    “”We are just going to try to make it happen in every single way possible,”” he said.

    Kevin Shawn Hsu stated that student parking can be increased by working with the Transportation Parking Committee when building parking structures or adding carpool spots to ensure that the addition of student spaces is a top priority.

    “”The key is to make sure that any changes in the current policy of the Transportation Parking Committee is student-friendly,”” Kevin Shawn Hsu said. Kevin Shawn Hsu also expressed his desire to reevaluate parking ticket prices.

    Gallagher also promoted the idea of expanding carpool “”S”” spaces to create more parking for students.

    “”This will create more room for students, and it is environmentally friendly,”” Jeremy Gallagher said. “”This is an actual plan that can happen, and we’re pushing for it right now.””

    Uiga proposed a more unconventional approach to deal with the student parking problems.

    “”The A.S. has no power over the parking services. All they can do is pass a resolution,”” Uiga said, proposing to pass, if elected, a resolution for a three-week period of protest, calling on students to park in “”A”” and “”B”” spots, then boycott ticket payment and to flood the parking services with ticket appeals to send a message that reform is needed.

    Athletics at UCSD was also a big subject in the debate. The candidates were asked about their views on a possible future move to Division I athletics and gaining athletic scholarships.

    “”UCSD and the UCSD administration talk all the time about how they want to compare us to schools like Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCLA,”” Kevin Shawn Hsu said. “”You can’t compare us to schools like that without an athletic program that is nationally recognized; without an athletic program where student-athletes are supported by things like athletic scholarships and where student-athletes feel like on this campus they are getting respect, support and energy from other students on this campus.””

    Kevin Shawn Hsu acknowledged that a move to Division I athletics may be far away, but advocated building the necessary structure and foundations for a future move. He also supports implementing athletic scholarships, pointing out that UCSD is the only Division II school in the nation that doesn’t give athletic scholarships.

    “”We owe it to [the student-athletes] to support them back at the university,”” he said

    Gallagher took a similar stance on the issue.

    “”Athletic scholarships and moving to Division I are something we need to talk about. It is something the A.S. needs to bring to the attention of the entire school,”” Gallagher said. “”UCSD needs athletics. We need to move to Division I even if we need to create a 10-year plan or a seven-year plan; something to get athletic scholarships, something to get Division I here.””

    Uiga blames funding cuts for the lack of support of sports and called on students to come out and support the teams, regardless of their status or record.

    “”Sports are a big problem. The reason it is a big problem is that not enough people care about sports,”” Uiga said. “”What you need to do is get the will of the people behind sports.””

    Barton had a different take on how to handle the UCSD athletics programs.

    “”I am not an expert on sports. What the People’s Parking Party plans to do is empower the people who do know a lot about sports,”” Barton said, referring to delegating more power and responsibility to the A.S. commissioner of athletics and others in related positions.

    “”I am going to empower them and do everything I possibly can to make it happen for them because they know a lot more about this issue than I do,”” Barton also said of raising revenue for UCSD athletic programs.

    The four candidates also unanimously agreed on the need for Greek housing and pledged to remain active in working to improve UCSD, regardless of the outcome of the election.

    During the debate’s last round, Uiga challenged Barton to a boxing match on the lawn above the Price Center to decide who was “”the worst presidential candidate.”” Barton represented Kevin Shawn Hsu and Uiga fought on behalf of Gallagher being the worst candidate. Both opponents wore boxing gloves, and Uiga conceded the match after several minutes.

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