AS Beat Reporter
Candidates running to become the next Associated Students Student Advocate General (SAG) at the University of California, Santa Barbara answered student questions at a public forum in The Hub the evening of Tuesday, April 15.
The primary function of the AS Office of the Student Advocate (OSA) is to provide guidance to students in resolving disciplinary matters, including such instances as alcohol- and drug-related violations, plagiarism and cheating accusations, and situations of harassment or assault. Candidates for SAG are required to run on an independent platform, unaffiliated with any campus political party.
Second-year College of Creative Studies literature major Bailey Loverin, who has served as Chief of Staff to the current SAG Kristian Whittaker since the start of this school year, repeatedly emphasized the experience in this position that she feels best qualifies her to succeed Whittaker in the fall.
“Ten months is a really, really short time to hold any sort of office, and you want someone in it that can hit the ground running from the day they are sworn into the office until the day they leave it,” Loverin said. “I have experience; I have the knowledge of what this office needs.”
Third-year electrical engineering major Amir Khazaieli has served as the AS Collegiate Senator for the College of Engineering for the past two years and cited his knowledge of internal AS structure as well as his legislative experience with student rights as primary qualifications for the SAG position.
“So far in my career on the Senate, I’ve been a vocal proponent of student rights,” Khazaieli said. “I haven’t been able to do much advocacy on behalf of the students…but that’s what I’m trying to change now.”
Loverin stated three main goals for her time in office, should she be elected. These goals would be to “police the police” in order to monitor common power abuses within law enforcement, to extend residence hall rights, especially in situations related to mental health, and to create a legal fund available to students who come to OSA needing financial assistance.
When asked how she would define the role of the SAG on the UCSB campus, Loverin said she disagrees with definitions of the OSA as a voice “for” students.
“You [as SAG] don’t need to be a voice ‘for’ students; you need to be a voice that amplifies silent voices,” Loverin said. “You need to make sure students are heard when they’re not being heard, when they’re not being respected, and that’s what I want to do.”
In describing his platform, Khazaieli emphasized the importance of transparency in the OSA and its interactions with university offices such as Judicial Affairs, and he promised to promote such transparency should he be elected as SAG. Other goals of his would be to increase the personal investment of each caseworker in the advocacy cases to which he or she is assigned, as well as to incorporate resources that he feels could be better utilized by the OSA.
When asked how he would define the role of the SAG on campus, Khazaieli said the job “extends beyond just casework.”
“I believe the Student Advocate General is in charge of making sure that, one, advocacy is done on behalf of the students when needed, two, student rights are protected…and also defending the best interests of students in terms of their personal troubles,” Khazaieli said.
Voting for the SAG and all other AS positions will be open to UCSB students on GOLD April 21-24.