Starting today, students can vote for whom and what they believe will make UC Davis a better campus.
Polls open at 8 a.m. today at elections.ucdavis.edu and close 8 a.m. Friday. Voters can choose their preference from two executive tickets and 15 senatorial tickets, in addition to The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) ballot measure.
“These elections will affect you in one way or another,” said Adam Thongsavat, elections committee chair and second-year history major. “For almost all the issues this campus faces, there’s someone running who feels passionate about it.”
The Green Initiative Fund
The ballot measure TGIF would fund undergraduate research in sustainability. Should the measure pass, TGIF will net approximately $124,000 in grant money from student tuition fees. Each student will automatically contribute $4 to the fund every quarter, starting fall 2009.
TGIF requires a 20 percent voter turnout, with 60 percent of those votes in favor of passing the measure. Voter turnout appears to be one of the elections’ greatest challenges, Thongsavat said.
“Twenty percent is a really tough amount of votes to get,” he said. “Last election, there was only a 13 percent turnout. But TGIF is really dividing people, so hopefully they’ll all get out and vote yes or no.”
The elections committee has held two debates on TGIF, and each brought out strong supporters and opposition. Some argue that TGIF is the main reason why this quarter’s voting may bring an estimated 19 to 20 percent student turnout.
“We’re at a turning point in sustainability,” said Morgan Woolf, a second-year undeclared major and TGIF supporter. “I definitely want to be a part of that decision. I don’t even really know what the senators do. And I don’t think many people even do. So TGIF seems like a tangible decision I can vote on.”
However those who oppose TGIF say that the ballot initiative is structurally flawed, and not beneficial to the greater student population.
“I do not stand in support of TGIF because I believe it’s more about being greedy and being lazy, not being green,” said Lula Ahmed-Falol, presidential candidate in last Thursday’s executive candidate debate in the ASUCD Coffee House.
President and Vice President
Ahmed-Falol and running mate Senator Rebecca Schwartz are campaigning with the L.E.A.D. slate, which has controlled the executive branch for the previous four administrations.
Their platform goals include an increased amount of lobbying for lower tuition fees, better transfer student support, cheaper textbooks, more campus entertainment and auditing the ASUCD budget to make it more efficient.
“So many people suggest cutting units, but we will cut items line-by-line,” Ahmed-Falol said during the debate on Thursday. “Just by doing this for two hours, Becca and I saw $14,000 in cuts we could probably make.”
Independent candidates Joe Chatham and running mate Chris Dietrich are in strong support of TGIF, in addition to campuswide wireless Internet connection, better campus entertainment, more avenues for student advertising and a more efficient structure to ASUCD units like the Bike Barn and Campus Copies/Classical Notes.
On the topic of transparency, Chatham and Dietrich stressed their commitment to an accessible student government.
“When we’re elected, we will aggressively pursue student participation,” Chatham said. “We’ll be out in the dorms and on the Quad making sure people know that they can get involved in ASUCD.”
Both tickets are against the establishment of U.S. Bank on campus, despite the revenue it would bring to the administration.
There are a total of 15 senators running for office in this election. Their platforms include a wide range of promises, from eliminating senator and commissioner stipends to making the Coffee House menu more vegan-friendly.
Aside from having one of the highest numbers of senators running in a quarter, this election also features the most slates for senators to run with. In addition to L.E.A.D., students have also recently created A.C.T. and H.E.A.D.
Candidates running with L.E.A.D. include Previn Witana, Chintan Desai, Momo Newbon, Trevor Taylor, Shawdee Rouhafza and Elle Segal.
Will Klein, Zaana Hall and Justin Gold are running under the organization A.C.T.
Indepedendent candidates include Kevin Massoudi, Jeremia Kimelman, Luka Vidovic, Burke Rosen and Joemar Clemente.
Sanwarl Li is running under the newly created H.E.A.D. slate.
Students can vote today at elections.ucdavis.edu with their Kerberos username and password.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.