Interview: JP Primeau


POSITION: President
PARTY: Open People’s Party (OPP)
YEAR: Third
MAJOR: Pharmacology and Business Economics

1) Where do you think AS has the most room for improvement?

Associated Students needs to take a more active role in the university decision making process. When the Academic Senate passed the increase in the minimum unit requirement from 12 units a quarter to 15 units a quarter, AS was caught completely off guard. AS needs to work with the Academic Senate and the University Administration as they set policy rather than blindly wait until the university takes action. The culture in AS of fighting new university actions or policy six months after they have already been set needs to change, and students need to be involved on the ground level as those decisions are made. There are close to 60 largely unfilled student positions across nearly every aspect of university governance that AS is just now beginning to address. These committees concern what your student fees go to pay for, admissions policy, outreach and retention, campus development, Isla Vista jurisdiction and parking- just to name a few- literally all areas of campus and the community- and there is very little student representation on them. AS need to be more accountable for making sure that student input is heard in the shared governance of the University.

2) What is the primary issue that you hope to tackle during your tenure?

Tackling the issue of student representation in the University decision making process is my primary concern. Students need to have a say in what their fees pay for, to have a presence when parking policy is set to fight parking fee increases, to have a vote whether or not their minimum unit requirement is raised, to have more input in campus development plans. Currently through my capacity as the Undergraduate Representative to the Faculty Legislature I have begun to create a Student-Faculty committee that will address student representation in the Academic Senate. If elected president I will work tirelessly until students are represented at every level of University action and policy making. I believe student representation to be a watershed issue. If students are represented and better able to work with the university as it sets environmental policy, admissions policy, and academic policy (to name a few) the campus will be a more open place for all.

3) While UCSB has the highest per capita of registered students voters of any US university, only 21.95% of undergraduates participated in last year’s AS Elections. What do you think accounts for this difference in energy? Why should students vote and how will you encourage them to do so?

While campus registration of student voters is bolstered by the tremendous system we have in place to get voter registration packets in student hands, voter turnout for AS elections is lower because AS does a poor job of making students aware of its actions and bringing in opinions and people from outside the A.S. ‘fold’ into A.S. Students vote to increase the accountability and set the direction of their student government. Students don’t vote when they haven’t seen the past direction/accomplishments of the student government and feel left out of the future direction. I am going to encourage students to vote by advocating what A.S. does and will do for them in the upcoming year.

4) Discuss any experiences in the campus community that you feel will inform your work as a campus leader.

I have been a part of AS for the past three years, serving three years on Finance Board and the last two years as an Elected Representative-at-Large on the Legislative Council. Through my capacity on Finance Board, I have worked with literally hundreds of student groups helping them to secure financing for their events. Through my two years on legislative council, I have seen and worked on issues from all over campus ranging from fighting parking fee increases to the redevelopment of the Committee on Public Safety. I have served on or worked with the vast majority of the boards, committees and commissions in A.S., and through my capacity as the Committees on Committees recruitment chair, recruited a large number of students to all of them. I have also served on a number of faculty, staff and administrative committees, most recently reviving and serving on the long forgotten position of Undergraduate Representative to the Faculty Legislature. I have extensive experience lobbying with the administration and dealing with the University bureaucracy. While at UCSB, I have traveled to Sacramento on multiple occasions to lobby the state legislature to lower student fees. Over the past year I served as the Representative of the current A.S. president at the all U.C. Presidents council. Through my experiences working at the statewide level for the U.C. I have gained a unique insight into the problems facing the various UC campuses and how to address similar problems on our campus. In the past I was involved in RHA, club and intramural sports (UCSB crew). Currently, I serve as the President of the Inter Fraternity Council. Through my experience working with a wide range of communities all over campus I have gained an appreciation and respect for the diversity present at UCSB. I have seen the issues that unite the campus and the issues that divide us. I have come to learn that a college education means different things to different people. There is no typical UCSB student- and A.S. has to reflect that.

5) What kinds of student resources (organizations, events, etc.) that come to AS for funding do you feel most directly serve students?

Student funds should be spent on the issues that provide maximum benefit to UCSB students. We need to ensure that student funds allocated through the Students Initiative are being spent directly on issues or events effecting students and ensure those funds are not ‘institutionalized’ into university bureaucracy.

6) It was recently announced that the next UC President’s base salary is jumping to $591,000, while student fees continue to rise. How will you address the issue of rising students fees and what makes your plan the best? I’ve talked to the Alumni Association about this and the response everybody tells me is “Well, realistically, paying a top executive that much is peanuts compared to lowering student fees.” But I think raising our top administrator’s salary before we lower student fees sends the wrong figurative message to students about the University of California, and to people who want to get an education through the UC System.