Interview: Megan Klein


PARTY: Student Voice!
YEAR: Third
MAJOR: Law & Society, Political Science – Public Service
MINOR: Queer Studies

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

Access to Associated Students as the general scope of it, but really making sure we have communication within all AS Boards, Committees and Commissions, so we know what’s going on and which committees need help or aren’t functioning. Also simplifying the process of how to get involved in AS; making it something simple and accessible to all students and more of a conversation instead of an interview process so people can actually pursue what they want to do, as opposed to being placed where people think they would do well. Working on recruitment is also important because people don’t even know about AS and all its resources. Working for students as opposed to being very bureaucratic about things and making everything simple is really my goal, and making everyone in AS remember that we are working for students, not just everyone in this little building. That’s a big thing for Leg Council especially, focusing on remembering why we all ran and making sure that we’re accessible to students and not just playing our opinions; that we’re really working for what all these different organizations and individuals want.

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

Communication is the huge thing for me, through a number of ways. One is restructuring the way Leg council functions so that students can get more involved. For example, maybe restructuring the meetings to be less formal and more of a working group kind of thing instead of just going in to this meeting and this battle. I also want to work with the chancellor and vice chancellor to make sure things like the MCP don’t happen and we have a really open line of communication. It’s really all about access and communication. I don’t want an us versus them situation at all, on any side, definitely not with organizations and individuals coming in with their concerns and getting caught in the crossfire or bounced around from committee to committee not knowing who to talk to. That’s a huge issue in AS right now, so I want to break down that barrier through working with a lot of people.

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? To address the first part of the question, the campus climate changed a lot after the Student’s Initiative was passed, so you don’t see these three to seven ballot initiatives every year; it’s literally just the candidates. When we had five or six different groups campaigning, there was more visibility, and a lot more discourse about AS and the election in general. There are no longer issue based campaigns and people see it as party versus party, when it should really be “these are the issues that will affect you” and letting people know there are solutions to these issues. Things like the SRB, the creation of After Dark and the passing of Student Initiative happened because of students taking action as a collective, so you can’t complain about things unless you go out there and vote. Also reassessing how the elections committee will function and thinking about what we could be doing throughout the year to be sparking things coming up will help. I think what would also help is having people who are elected, once they’re in office and accountable, be accessible. Then people will start to know what AS is doing. We want to work with the Nexus and The Bottom Line to put in some kind of report card of what AS is doing.

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

I got involved right away with the Freshman Summer Start Program. Being involved in Hall Council helped me as well in identifying the diversity of experiences on campus and seeing what kinds of things other people care about. I’m also in the Greek system, so I see the different things its doing and really all the different work that’s being done on campus. Currently I’m on Finance Board, which I feel has prepared me the most. Because you meet with so many campus leaders, you get to know a lot of their issues, and you get to know a lot of their needs. As a leader in AS, it’s really important to know what the campus needs, not necessarily what you think it needs. Assuming you’re the expert is a very big pitfall. We should really be asking organizations and individuals what they need because AS is huge in resources and has so much to give. Finance Board also prepares you for being familiar with procedure, but I wouldn’t say the book is necessarily the guide to how AS should run. We need to make that a little simpler. I also sat on the Student Initiated Outreach and Retention and Recruitment Committee. Taking the broad experience and perspective of the campus that I’ve experienced but also being really open minded to keep everyone, even those I haven’t heard from, keeping in mind that I do represent them, and trying to make myself accessible to them is really important to me.

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

I wouldn’t say one serves more than the other, because we are a whole person and we need different things: a social aspect, an educational aspect, an awareness aspect, whatever it may be. As long as no matter what someone wants, there’s a safe space for them, or there’s an event that they’re interested in, and funds going into the university from their money is something that they would want. I don’t think there’s a priority over anything specific, as long as they’re providing an open event that anyone would feel comfortable going to or benefit from.

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?

With his compensation package, it’s ridiculous; he’s almost making a million dollars a year. We’re being cut $331 million to the UC system next year, and that’s about $500 a year for each student, which could be a month’s rent. What we can do here is really investigate where our money is going on campus. Utilizing resources we have like the chancellor, because he has the ability to voice concerns about our fees at UC Regents meetings, supporting things like Student Lobby within AS, and really supporting, encouraging, and recruiting students to work through the Statewide Affairs Office is really important. We need to open communication with our university and as students take a strong stance in solidarity in saying that this realistically affects us. We can get students on the Student Fee Advisory Committee, on the different academic senates to make sure these things like the MCP, which is another way for them to raise revenue, don’t happen. Our campus needs some empowerment because as a collective we have so much power over this university if we can really gather together and use it.


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