Friday, April 3, 2020
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Do Students Actually Care About ASUCI Elections?

Currently, the main referendum on the ballot is the revised ASUCI Constitution, which was updated for the first time in over a decade. One of the most significant changes on the new constitution would allow schools whose students comprise less than 10 percent of the UCI’s entire student population to have a representative in legislative council. This would mean that certain schools without a representative, like the School of Physical Sciences, would have representation on council. International students, transfers and first-year students would also enjoy increased representation.

A few students voiced their approval of this expansion of representation.

For Philip Pachigalla and Seth Wax, both students in the School of Physical Sciences, their school is currently not represented on legislative council. Pachigalla said that he would have liked some representation for his school. Both Wax and Pachigalla both did not even know that changes to the ASUCI constitution were currently on the ballot.

In addition to the constitutional amendment referendum, students are also voting for the next ASUCI President. The two main candidates running for the position are Parshan Khosravi and Felicia Martinez. Martinez’s platform emphasizes transparency between students and administration during a climate of tuition hikes, as well as expanded student services such as extended operating hours of the libraries and the Student Health Center. Khosravi’s goals include expanding mental health resources as well as reforming the parking department.

Although the candidates’ proposals will directly benefit students, many were unaware of the would-be presidents’ platforms, the proposed changes in the constitution, or even the election itself.

Sarah Shima, a first-year biology major, said that she would be more informed if ASUCI and its candidates made more of an effort to campaign. Shima said she is turned off by the ASUCI’s emails and that she wants a more interactive approach to informing students.

Ali Alyahya, a first-year electrical engineering major, said that he didn’t know anything about the upcoming election. Alyahya also said he does not particularly care about the election as he is unsure about whether or not ASUCI actually has the resources to bring about change on campus.

Other students felt the the candidates’ platforms were not stressed enough by the candidates themselves. Krystopher Mandujano, a second-year computer science major, felt that the ASUCI candidates did not make their goals visible.

“There is a poster that says ‘Vote for…’ but they don’t usually say what their platform is. They expect us to follow them somehow,” he said.

Mandujano also said that if ballot information was easy to find on the internet more students might care about the election. He’s skeptical that the amended ASUCI constitution will pass with its requirement that 20 percent of the entire student population vote, with two-thirds of them voting in favor.

Some students felt that there were not enough informative posts from ASUCI on social media. Harshithaa Mohanraj, a freshman computer science major said that she did know anything about the election .

“I haven’t heard anything about it on Facebook,” said Harhithaa Mohanraj, a first-year computer science major. “They just post names but what do they stand for?”

Some students, however, were more well-versed about the election than others. Amy Canal, a double psychology and social behavior major, said she plans on voting once she has done some more research on the candidates. She said that she’s particularly interested in the expansion of mental health resources available to students, especially since she received counseling services at UCI during her freshman year and feels that this resource is especially important to new students at UCI.

Canal said that social media should be used to help students care about the elections and candidates.

“I see Facebook as a medium to get main points across thats more accessible for students. People just walk by posters.”