Students on campus will soon have the chance to voice their opinions on the administration with the click of a mouse.
The ASUCD Elections Committee has announced a special election where two measures will be considered – one calls for no confidence in the leadership of UC President Mark Yudof and the other calls for no confidence in the management of the UC Board of Regents.
“The administration and the higher ups in the UC system need to pay more attention to what the students want,” said Christina Platenkamp, a sophomore film studies major.
Platenkamp was one of many who circulated 150 petitions roughly one month ago in an effort to get the required 2,000 signatures to hold an election.
Brian Sparks, senior international relations major and organizer of the campaign, handed in approximately 2,350 signatures to the elections committee. The committee conducted a random sample to determine whether at least 1,807 signatures were valid. In the sample, only 3 percent of the signatures were invalid, said ASUCD Elections Committee Chair Nick Sidney.
Sparks is confident that the measures will pass since they do not require a minimum voter turnout and are determined by simple majority.
“Theoretically one person could come out and vote yes and it would be a no confidence vote,” he said. “I don’t really think anyone is going to go to the polls and vote, ‘No, I have confidence in Yudof.'”
Between 8 a.m. May 26 and 8 a.m. May 28, students can vote on these two measures online like they would for any other ASUCD election.
If the measures pass, the elections committee will sign off on the results, the student government administration office will send out the measures to whomever Sparks requests and the measures will go online under the quarter’s legislation.
Special elections are unusual, Sidney said. Ballot measures are fairly common, but typically coordinators try to time it so the ballot vote lines up with a regularly scheduled election.
“It doesn’t come up very often so there isn’t much of a precedent,” he said. “But we would treat it like any other resolution passed by the senate.”
The elections committee will hold a public debate for proponents of the referendum on Tuesday from 12-1 p.m. in the Garrison Room of the Memorial Union. There is currently no opposition to the proponents though.
Collecting signatures proved to be difficult after talking to friends and making class announcements, Platenkamp said.
Some students Platenkamp approached were resistant, believing either Yudof or the regents were doing their jobs well or that the vote of no confidence would not accomplish anything.
“At the very least, we are raising awareness,” she said. “A lot of people were out there talking to people they didn’t know and trying to engage them in conversation and let them know about the situation.”
A similar vote of no confidence might be attempted at other schools in the UC system.
Students from UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UC Riverside contacted Sparks with interest in the vote, and UC Merced will probably try to hold a vote this fall.
“I think it’s a good idea and it’s caught on,” Sparks said.
JANELLE BITKER can be reached at email@example.com.