This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and formatting.
Every spring at UC Santa Barbara, students vote for their Associated Students (AS) student representatives on GOLD during the spring AS general election. Despite remote instruction, this year will be no different. Students will vote for multiple positions, including internal vice president (IVP).
According to AS legal code, the IVP is responsible for monitoring and relegating all student fees, serving as the representative for AS in internal affairs, and serving as a liaison between AS and all other campus organizations. The Bottom Line recently spoke virtually with the candidates for IVP, Tianna White and Racquel Almario, regarding their plans for the position.
Both White and Almario have experience within AS serving on the 70th AS Senate. In researching the work put out by each candidate, TBL compiled a list of resolutions and bills authored by both senators thus far this year.
Tianna White (she/her/hers), who is running as a member of Campus United, is a third-year political science major, member of Alpha Chi Omega and a current off-campus senator. White stated, “AS can be confusing, including the distinctions between AS entities.” In her opinion, the IVP is like the CEO of AS, and Senate is like the board of directors.
White admitted that AS can become “toxic” and the discourse is not always the most professional. “Politics can play a role in this discourse. I definitely want to foster a healthy atmosphere.” She stated that sometimes senators become confused and don’t complete their requirements. In order to decrease confusion, White wants to conduct AS training right when students show an interest in AS.
Additionally, White spoke about creating social media graphics for students to learn about AS entities. “The power of social media has been evident in this election cycle, but this doesn’t mean they’ll look up the AS website.” White’s main goal in office is to utilize the powers of the IVP office and publish easy-to-understand graphics for social media. She admitted that some of her policies are shared (the emergency fund for example) and that she would work with senators for this fund. However, she showed pride in her idea to create the social media graphics. “This is something I can claim as my own.”
Finally, White spoke about “IV Hustles,” a Facebook page she and fellow AS executive candidate Lea Toubian created. “I came up with the idea after I saw a lot of meshing on ‘Free and for Sale.’ Things get drowned out and posts are hard to find. IV Hustles is more consolidated. It’s for students who have passions and services to share with the student body.” According to White, the page came from her desire to connect AS with students.
“It’s so important that students support students. I’m running for IVP which is administrative, but you can’t do this work if you don’t love the school. I love this school and the students. I like how we support one another. If my work helps someone out, I’m glad to have done it. It’s about the community.”
Racquel Almario (she/they), who is running with Isla Vista Party, is a fourth-year feminist studies major and Asian American studies minor, the chair of the Associated Students Finance and Business (ASFB) Committee, and a current off-campus senator. According to her, “The IVP is basically in charge of AS Senate as well as bridging AS with campus organizations.”
One of the things Almario wants to do is increase accessibility to AS and show students all the resources available to them. She plans to do so by creating a website like the one that ASFB has, one that would “promote AS events and entities.” She also wants to rewrite AS legislation. The goal of both measures is to make AS occurrences easy for students to understand.
Almario wants to encourage and facilitate communication between AS and on-campus organizations and ensure a fair connect between entities. “I want to ensure the needs of all communities are fairly represented and prioritized.”
Almario’s main goal in her term is to improve accountability for AS members. “I want to create an online senate tracker where senators can log the work they complete. Senators have responsibilities listed in legal code and not everyone does them. We are required to complete seven training sessions, but this can be hard when you are trying to crash classes or perform other commitments. The tracker can make this easier.”
Almario wants to make this log accessible to students to find on the website. “Students pay around $210 a quarter for AS and this money goes into specific measures. As Finance and Business chair, I have learned where the money goes and I want to make sure students are aware of where the money is going. This will establish inclusivity and safety.”
Voting for the 2020 AS General Election opens on GOLD at 8 a.m. on Monday, April 20. Students will have the opportunity to vote for all of the candidates, including the Office of AS Internal Vice President, until 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 24.