Hello fellow Anteaters. As many of you should be aware, the elections for ASUCI are rapidly coming up and, if you have time, I would highly encourage you to look at the candidates and the referendums so that you know what the people and issues whose future you can change. For our elections we have a good variety of candidates running and therefore I will not try to tell you who you should vote for: that is your own decision to make. As a student at UC Irvine you are more than capable of making it yourself.
Instead I will tell you about Reza Zomorrodian and why I will be voting for him for ASUCI President so that you, as the reader, have an idea of what kind of candidate he is and whether or not you think he would represent you.
For those who don’t know Reza Zomorrodian, he is currently a third-year political science and sociology double major who has been in ASUCI for almost three years as a Legislative Council Representative and as Speaker-Pro Tempore. In his time, it was apparent that Reza was committed to his job and was arguably the most active member of Legislative Council, until he was forced to resign due to other obligations.
Reza has laid out his plans for his time as president to be active in supporting and reaching out to the student body. For example, one of his proposals is to start a campus- wide voter registration drive which will be called “60 by 16,” a plan to register 60 percent of UCI undergrads to vote by 2016. The logic is that the best way to gain influence in Sacramento and Washington is not through protesting, but voting. He believes, as I do, that if student government is truly going to help students, it must help students both on and off campus. The fact that someone will focus on off-campus problems shows to me that Reza is a president who understands that while college should be fun, we as college students have other concerns that must be addressed as well.
Reza will also confront the elephant in the room at UCI, which is fraternities and sexual assault prevention. Reza’s campaign platform calls for adding classes that all fraternity and sorority members must partake in, these would be similar to the popular program BANG (Being A New Greek) that educates members on the dangers of sexual assault and party life. In addition, he calls for creating a program called ACE (Awareness on Cultural Education) centering around tolerance that all Greeks will also be forced to partake in. The fact that Reza, himself a fraternity member, is willing to force his own associates and friends to adapt for the betterment of campus life shows that he will take his commitment to bettering student life seriously.
In the time I have spent interviewing him, I have come to the conclusion that he is someone who deserves respect and will do all he can to perform what is required of him. However, Reza is also a person who will acknowledge when he is wrong and knows firsthand how important it is to keep everyone in ASUCI on the same page. This year has shown us what happens to productivity when ASUCI officers fight each other instead of for the interests of students. Due to this, he has formed the “Action Pact” voting block to get a unified executive cabinet elected. More importantly, Reza has been the kind of person who understands that a leader must put aside their personal preferences if they are to succeed in organizing and leading a government.
I personally do not agree with everything in his platform. However, I will still vote for him because I feel he will be the best person for the job. In his time in Legislative Council, Reza spearheaded legislation to increase transparency between ASUCI and the student body and to reform the elections system among other things. If you wish to look them up, they are on the ASUCI website under “Student Government.” If you are curious about what he stands for, aside from what I have listed, please look at his platform and the platform of the other candidates as well. Even if you only briefly look at them you are showing that you care about the future of ASUCI, and by extension, campus life.
In the end my opinion is just my own, though I hope you have at least considered voting for him. If, however, you don’t want to, that is alright. If there is anything that you should take away from reading this it is that you as a student at UCI should do some research on the candidates for the upcoming elections so that when week three comes around you will be able to honestly say you voted for the person that you thought would be the best candidate for that position.
Also it should be obvious to everyone who has read this far that I wish for everyone to vote in the upcoming elections as we, the student body, have the opportunity to influence the future of this university. If that argument isn’t convincing then consider that we as students have already paid to vote through our contributions to ASUCI from our student fees. So that being said, please vote week three.
Braden Buckel is a third-year literary journalism and political science double major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.