Looking Forward

Looking Forward

The Tritons Forward elections sweep creates promise for a partisanship-free A.S. Council that can turn its ambitious goals into action on campus.

ASstudent

 

In an unprecedented sweep of all executive, campuswide and academic positions on A.S. Council, the Robby Boparai-led Tritons Forward slate has officially taken the fourth floor of Price Center in a blaze of red shirts, big ideas and the support of more than half of campus voters. Boparai and his pals campaigned on ambitious goals of financial stability and student involvement, and will now have the opportunity to act on their plans.

As Spring Quarter 2014 progresses, the candidates will become council members with the opportunity to change this campus. Strong leadership from the Tritons Forward team will be critical as issues like transportation and the Sun God Festival’s future demand more urgent solutions. We expect high productivity from the 2014–15 Council, as they should not run into any slate-based political gridlock while addressing campus issues.

The new Council roster shows a pivotal transition period for A.S. Council. With the constitutional changes in place for 2015–2016, Igor Geyn will serve as the final elected VP Finances and Resources, as the spot will become an appointed position beginning next election cycle. Meanwhile, Amber Hawthorne has an opportunity to set a precedent for the new VP Campus Affairs position that replaced VP Student Life and the expanded responsibilities that it entails. VP External Affairs Allyson Osorio may also start a closer, productive relationship between UCSD and the University of California Student Association. A clean slate lies before the new members of campus leadership, and there is plenty of work to be done.

Last year, when current VP External Vanessa Garcia was elected as one of the only candidates not from the Keep it REAL slate, the UCSD Guardian was optimistic and hopeful for bipartisan actions in Council chambers and that the aggressiveness of the 2013 election would not translate into slate-based biases. While Garcia did make a significant error, we couldn’t help but conclude that the standoff between Keep it REAL and Garcia and the push to impeach her early in Fall Quarter 2013 was motivated by ideological (and slate) differences. Unfortunately, this resulted in a drama that took up a sizable portion of the already short council terms.

While Tritons Forward won’t see any unfriendly faces on the all-campus side of the Forum, Boparai’s slate will need to work with the 10 new senators — soon to be bumped up to 12, as soon as Eleanor Roosevelt College representatives take their seats — provided by the college council elections. These individuals will also have equal say in campus affairs in the coming year. Both John Muir College Senator-elects Brianne Logasa and Taylor Valdivia won their seats through running on the Muir College-specific GLAD slate — a slate that formally endorsed Tritons Forward rival Let’s Act!. While slate politics alone won’t pose a real threat to the Tritons Forward ultra-majority, we hope that Council leaders will keep to their pledge of diverse opinions and non-partisan, pragmatic approach to campus issues.

When the time comes for the executives to select members of their cabinets in the form of the new class of associate vice presidents, we hope there aren’t any biases against prospective AVPs that ran under the Let’s Act! flag. Should they decide to apply for AVP jobs, talented and experienced Let’s Act! leaders like Kyle Heiskala and Eden Berdugo would make phenomenal additions to the duty-specific areas of Council.

Council unity will be critical from day one as it will be the new A.S. Council’s job to promote the Week 8 special election for the transportation referendum. Last week’s general election notched an abysmal 23 percent voter turnout; this barely exceeds the minimum percentage that qualifies a fee increase for passage. Getting 20 percent of the Triton community to the polls for a special election during the week following Sun God Festival is a daunting task that we definitely don’t envy.

But such is the nature of student leadership. Tritons Forward and all of the other slates ran not for personal fame and fortune — campuswide senator stipends are modest at best — but to improve the lives of the students on our campus. We look “Forward” to seeing that come to fruition.

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