Richard Pham is a fourth-year history major and the current president of the Young Americans for Liberty Club at UC Irvine. Pham is running on a platform of expanding the Executive Vice President’s role in the UCI student community.
Pham’s primary goal if he were to be elected EVP is to orient the EVP office toward on-campus concerns such as student jobs and tuition. Pham believes the traditional methods that the EVP office has been using up until now are ineffective and not benefitting the student body.
Additionally, Pham believes that since the majority of UCI students attend college in order to get good jobs in the future, the EVP office should focus on getting students access to strong and well-respected employers.
He explained, “We [students] are here to basically encourage our future of course and empower ourselves through getting a job or grad school or whatever, but I understand that we need to fight things like tuition increases and that sort of thing.”
However, Pham will try to change the way in which the EVP office lobbies the state and federal governments in order to make it more efficient.
“I don’t want to take away activism entirely, I just want to be able to make it more efficient… even if that means scaling back on strong attendance through bussing and lodging. I mean I believe that they learn a lot of valuable skills at these conferences but I feel that we can actually do things remotely and maybe lobby our own congressman or representative and have them lobby on our behalf.”
These beliefs, which are not typical of recent Executive Vice Presidents, stem from Pham’s belief in libertarian values. As a leader of an on-campus student libertarian organization, Pham claims he will bring some of his beliefs over to the EVP office, but as he doesn’t want to “shove it down [students’] throats.”
However, one of Pham’s deepest held beliefs in regard to the EVP office is that the EVP discussions with various clubs on campus, a process that was formalized with the EVP Club Roundtable talks that were discontinued, should be formally brought back to ensure that the EVP office receives input from a variety of student organizations on campus.
What Pham sees as perhaps his most challenging goal is engaging the commuter student population on campus. With such a large percentage of commuting students, UCI is seen as a boring campus and Pham wishes to change that.
Even though the Executive Vice President has vague powers under the ASUCI Constitution, it is seen as one of the most powerful positions in ASUCI, if not the most powerful. Duties for the Executive Vice President include presiding over the ASUCI Legislative Council, connecting with students on behalf of ASUCI. If you wish to vote for Richard Pham, elections are open this week at www.elections.uci.edu.