2018 ASUCD Fall Election — Meet the Candidates

from top left to bottom left: ALEXIS RAMIREZ (AGGIE STUDIOS / COURTESY), PEIYUAN (TONY) CHEN (AGGIE STUDIOS / COURTESY), RICHARDO ZAPARDIEL (AGGIE STUDIOS / COURTESY), SEAN KUMAR (AGGIE STUDIOS / COURTESY), NOAH PEARL (ALEXA FONTANILLA / AGGIE), MAYA BARAK (VENOOS MOSHAYEDI / AGGIE), KEVIN BUTT (ALEXA FONTANILLA / AGGIE), FRANCISCO LOPEZ MONTANO (TIMOTHY LI / AGGIE)

Eight candidates running for six Senate positions

The following eight candidates are running for six senatorial positions in the upcoming 2018 ASUCD Fall Election. The candidates are running either independently or on one of two slates: Unite! and BASED. The Senate Debate will be held on Nov. 13, with voting beginning the same day and ending Nov. 15.

 

Peiyuan (Tony) Chen — BASED slate

Third-year undeclared major Peiyuan (Tony) Chen is running on the BASED slate and has three main platforms: relocating the parking structure to expand access to student parking, partnering international students with the study abroad program and creating an all-encompassing international student committee to represent the voices and needs of international students.

As an international student himself, Chen feels that the international students do not have representation on the Senate table even though this demographic of students makes up nearly 20 percent of the undergraduate population.

Most international students go to class and then home, so they do not have much of a social life and interactions between international and domestic students are limited, Chen said. But he hopes to change this state of affairs by creating a bridge via student government between domestic and international students.

He also brought up concerns with voter turnout in ASUCD elections and noted that past elections have yielded votes from less than 10 percent of the student population. Chen also has experience working at the Peet’s in the ARC and is interested in working with the CoHo, if elected.

 

Richardo (Ricky) Zapardiel — Unite!

Richardo (Ricky) Zapardiel is a fourth-year political science — public service major and candidate for the Unite! slate. Zapardiel’s platform is three-pronged, consisting of food security, first-generation students and bicycle security.

The food security platform is based off of the Global Food Initiative and surveys that have been issued during the past few years. He particularly mentioned his interest in The Pantry.

Zapardiel plans to work with The Pantry and the Mental Health Initiative if elected — he identifies himself “as someone who has undergone certain mental health roadblocks.”

He is also a first-generation student and a veteran of the Marine Corps.

“I have talked to other first-generation students and with our campus being more than 44 percent first-generation students, I feel like connecting them to those resources that go unused [is important],” he said. “I’m a veteran myself of the Marine Corps and it was a little bit troubling being a transfer and a first-generation student because of some of the resources I was not connected with.”

With bicycle security, he explained that he feels there are ways “to implement higher tech means of security, like security cameras.”

As a fourth-year student, Zapardiel is unsure at this time whether or not he would be able to fulfill the entirety of his term if elected.

 

Noah Pearl — Unite!

Third-year statistics and political science double major Noah Pearl is a current member of the Internal Affairs Commission (IAC) and is running on the Unite! Slate. Pearl has been a member of the IAC since the fall of 2017, and has looks over and edits virtually every piece of legislation before it reaches the Senate table. He has three platforms: improving transportation services, improving the long-range plans of every ASUCD unit and planning communal meals for students who remain on campus during holiday breaks.

To improve means of public transportation in and around campus, Pearl has plans to advocate for more rental bikes, as there are currently only 60 on campus, and look into a partnership with a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft to provide discounted rides on weekend nights.

If elected, Pearl plans to improve ASUCD’s long-range plans, which every unit has.

“Currently, they’re not given enough attention and they’re not done in a thorough way,” he said. “If we distributed the work among all seven ASUCD commissions … they’d be able to put more effort into each plan, which would cross over and help each unit year-by-year with their institutional memory and in training new hires.”

As an out-of-state student, Pearl said he was stuck in the dorms during breaks. He believes ASUCD has the resources to sponsor community meals during these breaks for students who remain on campus.

If elected, Pearl is interested in adopting Unitrans and utilizing the expertise of unit officials to bring his plans of improving public transportation into fruition.

 

Alexis Ramirez — BASED

Fourth-year political science major Alexis Ramirez is running on the BASED slate, with a focus on three main platforms: holding administration accountable, promoting and supplying a nutritionally-balanced Pantry and ensuring ASUCD is run effectively.

A minority student himself, Ramirez chose to run on the BASED slate because he agrees with the slate’s mission to represent minority communities.

If elected, he has plans to partner with ASUCD’s Office of Advocacy and Student Representation to send out a survey to students to assess campus-wide confidence in student government, make sure all ASUCD committees and commissions are properly staffed and work with the Yolo Food Bank on behalf of The Pantry to supply students with nutritional food items.

Ramirez does plan to graduate in the spring and would not be able to fulfill the entirety of his year-long term if elected.

 

Sean Kumar — Unite!

Second-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major Sean Kumar is running with the Unite! Slate and has three platforms: expanding on-campus mental health services to keep up with student needs, expanding STEM representation on Senate and placing more compost and recycling bins around high-trafficked areas like the MU to keep up with the UC’s zero-waste initiative.

Kumar served as current Senator Jesse Kullar’s chief of staff. Following an increase in STEM representation on the Senate table after the Winter Elections, Kumar saw a difference in the discussions being had at Senate meetings. Kumar hopes to provide additional representation for STEM students on the Senate table and to implement more STEM workshops for students.

Kumar also addressed concerns with the availability of on-campus mental health resources for students. He hopes to ensure students have sufficient access to counseling appointments.

If elected, he is interested in adopting KDVS.

 

Francisco López-Montaño

Third-year political science and economics double major Francisco López-Montaño is running with the Unite! slate with platforms of united student advocacy and increasing the efficacy of student representation through student involvement and club representation.

López-Montaño has been thinking of running for Senate since their freshman year and has been to a number of Senate meeting. If elected, they have plans for ASUCD to directly partner with student clubs and organizations — such as a partnership between the Asexual Club and ASUCD’s Gender and Sexuality Commission — so as to more effectively serve as a representative voice for as many student groups as possible.

“We need to make sure these lines of communication are not just visible but that they’re direct and accessible which means that they don’t just work for ASUCD and their purposes but also for the clubs, their purposes and what they need,” López-Montaño said. “I think the best way to reach out to students is through clubs and organizations.”

López-Montaño also mentioned ASUCD’s deficit and said the association should begin to address the issue by looking into its history and seeing what has worked and what has not.

With regard to increasing voter turnout, López-Montaño discussed reserving computers in computer labs around campus specifically for voting purposes. If elected, López-Montaño said they are interested in adopting Unitrans and working with the unit to ensure students get to campus as efficiently as possible, especially during midterm and finals.

 

Maya Barak — Unite!

Maya Barak is a third-year international relations major running on the Unite! slate. Her platforms include ASUCD resource awareness, minority advocacy and Greek relations with the campus.

Above all things, Barak is hoping to work toward a campus in which students are aware of what ASUCD is truly responsible for, whether that’s ASUCD’s ability to ignite change within the community or simply the resources that it provides. She firmly believes that ASUCD is meant to be a student representative group, and for this to properly work the campus as a whole ought to know how to get involved.

Barak supports a constitutional amendment that would establish a new position called “student advocate,” a position that already exists within other UC campuses like Berkeley and San Diego. The position would work to help students in areas that ASUCD hasn’t helped them with before, according to Barak. This student advocate would be an expert in financial aid, student housing and student judicial affairs.

Barak believes that her platform of resource awareness is representative of her desire to run for office. She admits that she still has much to learn about how ASUCD operates, but believes that this desire to know and do more is what makes her a driven candidate. Her priority is to act as a liaison between ASUCD and communities that don’t hold as strong of a voice within the university population.

 

Written by: Hannah Holzer, Kenton Goldsby and Olivia Luchini — campus@theaggie.org, features@theaggie.org

 

City News Editor Kaelyn Tuermer-Lee contributed reporting.

 

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