Interview: Scott McDonald


POSITION: Student Advocacy General
PARTY: Independent
YEAR: Third
MAJOR: History and Anthropology

1) What’s the primary issue that you hope to tackle during your tenure?

I’m really concerned with the way the Residence Hall judicial system works as opposed to the way that the University judicial affairs runs things. The University system tends to be more transparent, while with the Residence Hall system, students generally feel like they didn’t get to represent their sides. For instance, we’ve had a lot of students get CASE when they hadn’t drank or smoked in their lives. So that’s definitely one of my goals is to do a lot of outreach, which is complicated within residence halls, because they have their own policies. The other goal I’m working on right now is just getting this office more connected to AS in general, because we just got voted in as an executive position and AS does not have much oversight over us. I really want to fully integrate us within AS, but still maintain a certain degree of independence.

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

It’s hard for me to speak to AS in general because I’ve been in this office for two years and this is where all my experience is, so I know where we need to improve. We need to improve our caseload, that is, get more cases coming in, especially with the residence halls. As far as AS as a whole, one thing I see as an outsider is that AS is a group of strong active group of people, but I think that there is a disconnect with them and the larger student body, so that seems like something we could work on.

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

My main experiences that I’ll draw on are from having the management position already within this office and just the work I’ve done with so many different students and that’s really what it is all about for me. I really like working with students and when we run into administrators who are hostile, I just draw on the fact that we have helped students. That is what I will use for fuel for myself and evidence for why this office needs to be granted a better level of access in the administration.

4) 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 student fees and what makes your plan the best?

That doesn’t really have to do with what we do here but if people from AS or anyone who is involved with those issues ever came to our office and needed our help or resources, I’d be more than willing to help. I understand the reasoning behind the salary increase: it is the idea that we need to attract competitive people to the position, obviously it is difficult to quantify whether the logic behind it will end up working. On the one hand, I understand it, while on the other hand, they should probably make better decisions.

5) 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? That goes back to the disconnect that I discussed earlier and there is a large portion of the student body that doesn’t really care about what goes on in AS, which is too bad, because AS is really an open organization. As far as getting people out there to vote, I think one of the things that should be focused on is the new Cumulative Progress Requirement that passed. I remember when it was first announced, so many people were bitching about it. The thing that killed me was that they could do something about it. If they organized with AS could really send a strong message to the academic senate. If we focused on things that really directly impacted students like that, we could go a long way towards getting rid of that difference in energy.