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Davis, California

Friday, October 22, 2021

Campus showdown: LEAD vs. BOLD

With ASUCD senatorial elections beginning Nov. 9, a new campus slate has emerged to compete against LEAD and the independents: BOLD.

Comprised of current senators, former LEAD members and fresh faces, BOLD’s mission is to better serve the interests of the UC Davis campus than the senate has done in the past.

“The reason we created BOLD was because we were really frustrated at the lack of results at the table, specifically at the senate table,” said Adam Thongsavat, a senior history major, former independent senator and BOLD pioneer. “If I were to graduate today, there would be little that the senate table has done to make student life better.”

BOLD hopes to improve the campus by implementing more long-term bills that will also benefit future students and support the business units, Thongsavat said.

“I would rather tackle a big issue and plant the seed for a future student than run on some bullshit thing like more staplers in the computer labs,” Thongsavat said. “BOLD’s message is really simple: let’s do things that matter, let’s do things that will have a real impact.”

He also said that, unlike the structure of LEAD, BOLD has a clear and unified stance on the issues the members want to address.

“LEAD is just a body; it doesn’t stand for anything anymore. It’s just for getting people elected,” Thongsavat said. “When we talk about BOLD … it’s much more cohesive. I think it’s going to work much better.”

Rudy Ornelas, a junior sociology major and director of legislation and policy, explained that the purpose of LEAD’s slate is to be comprised of individualistic minds.

“The point of LEAD is to have a forum for individuals to come together and work on individual ideas,” Ornelas said. “That’s the way LEAD has always been.”

He also said that LEAD candidates are better suited to serve the student body, and historically have proven themselves to do so in the 10 years that LEAD has existed on campus.

“LEAD has shown results, whereas former LEAD or now BOLD hasn’t actually proven themselves,” Ornelas said. “They can claim to be new, but they’ve all been in the association and they haven’t proven results before. How can we trust them to show results now?”

Additionally, the executive office under LEAD management has created 200 new jobs in the association and has generated more funds toward campus units this year, Ornelas said. Thus, he does not understand why the slate is sometimes heavily criticized.

Ornelas also said he is upset about an online video that was released by AggieTV introducing BOLD as a new campus slate. In the past, AggieTV has created videos for individual candidates, but business units are prohibited from endorsing a specific slate, Ornelas said.

In response, Megan Frantz, a senior American and technocultural studies double major and incoming director of AggieTV, said in e-mail interview that both candidates and slates have always been invited to create a video, and the purpose of the videos is just to encourage students to vote.

AggieTV was not endorsing BOLD by creating that video, Frantz said.

Will Quinn, a senior environmental policy and planning major and chair of the Environmental Policy and Planning Commission, created a Facebook group called “Defeat LEAD (again).” However, Quinn said that he is against the concept of slates, rather than just LEAD specifically.

He said a slate that has been around for 10 years starts to rely on its name as a kind of brand recognition, and the candidates running under that name may not recognize the original goal of the slate anymore.

“LEAD has almost become synonymous with ASUCD,” Quinn said. “If the symbol is stronger than the message, then you’re no longer electing people, you’re just electing a brand name. Obviously BOLD could become that just as easily if they came into power and I don’t think that’s any better.”

Quinn also said that he would like to see a mix of representatives at the senate table.

“Just like a democracy, there should be a mix” Quinn said. “I get concerned when you get that one brand name taking over the system and nobody is questioning it anymore.”

Both Thongsavat and Ornelas state that the candidates of their respective slates are the most qualified and the most committed to serving the student body. However, it is the voters’ responsibility to research all of the candidates, including the independents, and decide for themselves.

MARTHA GEORGIS can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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