The ASUCD Senate election starts today and runs through Thursday. It matters.
ASUCD has a huge presence on campus with an operational budget of over $11 million. It directly affects students through its units; Unitrans gets students to and from campus, the ASUCD Coffee House provides sustainable, nutritious food for students, the Association gives out $10,000 in scholarships yearly and ASUCD directly employs over 1,500 students. ASUCD senators directly influence all these things.
Historically, the turnout for ASUCD Senate elections has been abysmal. Out of 25,000 undergraduate students, only three to four thousand students actually vote. That is a turnout rate of 16 percent. We can do better.
This year is especially important. ASUCD faces what could be a perfect storm in the coming years. The ASUCD budget for the next fiscal year faces a huge hit from the Shared Services Center (SSC) tax and the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) tax.
Although ASUCD was exempt from the SSC tax this year, no guarantees have been made for 2013-14. Likewise, the UCOP tax is being slowly phased in. ASUCD only has to pay one third of the tax this year and will fully assess the tax over the next three years. This means one of two things: increased student fees or cuts to our units. It is crucial that we elect competent, proactive senators.
Aside from the budget, senators fill many other crucial roles in our student government. They advocate for their adopted units. They write legislation and work on committees that manage ASUCD operations. They work on personal projects to improve the quality of student life on campus. Most importantly, they advocate for the students to protect and fund what is important to us. Ethnic and Lavender Graduations, the Student of Color Conference, KDVS and many others have been supported thanks to senatorial advocacy.
The elections are held over three days and can be found online at elections.ucdavis.edu. The process is easy — you rank your candidates in order of preference. That’s it. ASUCD has polling stations set up on the Quad for students to vote between classes. You can do it from home. You can do it while falling asleep in lecture. You can do it on the bus to class. There is no excuse for not voting.
If there are any issues that matter to you — increased funding for clubs, additional support for students in need, more lobbying or just having milk tea at the CoHo — vote.