Isla Vista Beat Reporter
UCSB undergraduate Kristie Nguyen was appointed as the new Director of the Isla Vista Community Services District Board (IVCSD) on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
Nguyen, a second-year sociology major and Asian American studies minor, will serve out the remainder of former Director Natalie Jordan’s term until December 2020, following Jordan’s resignation earlier this year.
Nguyen is the first woman of color to serve on the board and is one of two people of color, along with Director Ethan Bertrand, comprising the seven-member board.
“Looking at the board I knew that they were all guys — not mostly of color — and I think it’s important to have a face that represents the demographic here,” Nguyen told The Bottom Line.
“A lot of women of color here don’t think that they have the ability to go on election board, and by [being appointed], it will actually motivate a lot of girls to do that.”
Her vision focuses on sexual assault issues in Isla Vista, improving lighting and parking, public safety, and increasing engagement between the Community Services District and I.V. residents through social media.
Though initially four candidates had applied for the board position, two withdrew their applications: Jeremy Roark, who withdrew prior to the meeting, noting that he felt confident in the other candidates, and Lindsay Sherman, a third-year sociology and Chinese double-major, who withdrew that same day. The board’s decision was between Nguyen and Jeremy Levine, a fourth-year statistics and economics double major.
The meeting began with opening statements from each candidate, followed by public comment and board questions, leading to the board’s public deliberation and unanimous decision.
During the interview session, candidates answered questions from the board about their connections with the community, interest to public service, and commitment to Isla Vista.
Members of the board agreed that they were looking for a candidate connected to the community and who would strengthen communication between the board and I.V.’s diverse residents.
Nguyen holds active publicity roles in Campus Democrats and Alpha Delta Pi; she was also involved in campaigning for Measure R last year alongside current directors Brandt and Bertrand.
Levine was formerly co-chair of UCSB’s Environmental Affairs Board and deputy editor of The Bottom Line. He is currently outreach and research consultant at the California Center for Public Policy and an intern in the Department of Economics.
Freeman supported Levine for his background with environmental issues, noting the lack thereof on the board and added that, after speaking with various communities in Isla Vista, everyone knew Levine in some way, but no one had dealt with Nguyen before.
“When I think about campaigning, I know we already have a lot of strong background on the board between [Bertrand and Brandt],” said Freeman.
Director John Hedges also initially expressed his support for Levine as someone who could “reach across the aisle” in reference to Levine’s experience with outreach in the Latinx communities and plan for more dual language programs.
The remainder of the board backed up Nguyen, recognizing her experience reaching out to the community through campaigns and canvassing, her focus on communication, and representing women and communities of color.
“I think that being able to have a board that looks like our community, especially a woman and a woman of color is something that really strikes me as paramount importance,” said Brandt.
“I believe Kristie brings different involvement in the community that we don’t really have at the table right now,” said Bertrand, “especially in her involvement in leadership in the Greek community.”
Following a half hour deliberation, the board voted unanimously in favor of Nguyen’s appointment.
Afterwards, Freeman acknowledged that the board “went in the right direction” with Nguyen’s appointment, describing the significance of having a woman of color in the position.
After his loss, Jeremy told The Bottom Line, “Regardless of being on the board or not on the board, I’m going to be in Isla Vista for the next few years and I want to improve this area. I want to help the people of this area feel that they have the voice and the power to improve themselves.”
He believes Nguyen will make a good addition to the board and wishes her the best.
Nguyen was sworn in immediately after and sat in on her first CSD board meeting as new director that same evening.
“I’m so humbled and honored for my election on the board and I want nothing more than to see Isla Vista continue to flourish,” said Nguyen. “And I’m going to work to do just that.”