In the coming weeks, UC Santa Barbara students will campaign and run for a variety of senatorial and executive student associate positions elected for the 2022-2023 school year.
Both Student Associated (AS) parties registered in the elections – the Isla Vista party and the Storke party – are participating this year but, unlike in previous years, they are trying to move away from the traditional two-party system that previously delimited AS elections. . , according to the party leadership.
Additionally, AS Elections Board (ASEB) chair and fourth-year communications and linguistics double major Shannon Hollingsworth said some campaigning will be done in person, rather than online like in previous pandemic years. . A soft campaign – where candidates can defend themselves on social media – will begin this Sunday.
On Tuesday, April 12, candidates will have the opportunity to “campaign hard” in public, according to Hollingsworth.
“That’s when the physical campaign begins, and [candidates] can be in the Arbor showing up to people, asking people to come and vote for them,” she said.
Applicants will also be allowed to have a large sign announcing their application on campus. Unlike in previous years, contestants were given a location to place their board to avoid the rush of contestants competing for the most favorable board location, according to Hollingsworth.
During the fourth week of the Spring 2022 term – April 18-21 – students will vote for the nominees, with the results announced at 8 p.m. on April 21. Although ASEB is “still talking” about how election night will go, Hollingsworth said a link form to vote or a hybrid option might be the most effective.
On the move to eventually dissolve the party system and expect candidates to run independently, Hollingsworth said she had no personal opinion, but hoped the Senate would reach l step-by-step goal.
In the meantime, the parties will continue to exist for this election.
ASEB organizes these annual elections by establishing campaign rules, ensuring that candidates follow the policy and managing the elements on the ballot, according to Ruth Garcia Guevara, adviser to the board of directors.
According to Guevara, parties change from year to year because people and trends come and go.
“It’s new people, so new ideas, new ways of putting things,” Guevara said. “It also has to do with, sometimes, the hot topics of the year.”
The Isla Vista Party (IVP) operates on a platform of “radical inclusion,” according to party chairman Ethan Moos, a fourth-year political science and public policy and legal history student.
In keeping with the goal of the party’s eventual dissolution, some candidates who would typically campaign with IVP will instead campaign as independents, also according to Moos.
“We are putting into practice our vision of a Senate without parties,” they said.
For candidates who will still campaign with the party, Moos has developed the term “radical”.
“I feel like there are certain contingents within AS who like to pretend we live in a beach paradise and everything is great and amazing. And that’s just not the case for the most part. students,” they said. “I feel like trying to disengage from this narrative…may not sound radical in terms of global politics, but in [the] In the context of UCSB, this is something radical.
According to Moos, the IVP began as a coalition of cultural organizations. It seeks to field candidates from historically marginalized backgrounds in a “white majority institution,” they said.
“When first conceived, IVP was designed to be a coalition of students who feel they are not represented within the traditional framework of student government,” Moos said. “We really wanted to create a space that wasn’t just open to them – it was organized around them and run by them and for them.”
“I feel like this interest in fielding candidates from this community development background is very much in line with our roots,” they continued.
The Storke party, meanwhile, presents itself as the anti-party.
“The Storke Party was created … to take the bullshit out of party politics,” said Storke Party co-chairman and fourth-year math student Nathan Le. “There’s always a lot of politics on campuses and that makes it a very divisive playing field when people come into the Senate.”
According to Storke party co-chair, off-campus senator and third-year political science and philosophy double major Abigail Merkel, the party has no unifying ideology beyond an aversion to disunity.
“We are not a party that all has the same opinions. We encourage people to have different opinions,” she said. “Because when you walk into the Senate floor, there’s a lot less division, because you see them first as a friend, as a human being, as a colleague,” she said.
Merkel said the Storke Party recruits students regardless of previous party affiliation, and ideally students would not affiliate with any party.
“You are supposed to disaffiliate, when you enter the Senate, from party politics,” she said. “Does this always happen? No. But we hope Storke can help people opt out.
Merkel, a current off-campus senator, helped draft a bipartisan bill that would require all senators to run independently in the upcoming election season. The legislation was passed in late February, she said.
Merkel said the bill was part of an effort to ban AS parties altogether, as they can divide students and create partisanship when there are no ‘huge fundamental differences’ between parties from UCSB.
Merkel and Le recognized the paradox of encouraging candidates to disaffiliate from parties by running with a party – particularly with the Storke party. Parties always have their uses; Merkel said they increase voter turnout, while Le said they provide a support network for candidates to navigate labyrinthine election policies and deadlines.
“I think we are in a transition period of what parties will look like in the future,” Merkel said. “Neither of us are really big party people. But we are dealing with what we have right now, the current situation. And we try to do it in the most ethical way possible. »
Hollingsworth said University of California campuses that banned parties later regretted the decision, including UC Irvine and UC Riverside. She drew her conclusions based on research conducted by former ASEB President Wessal Esber and AS President Yuval Cohen.
“[Banning parties] so strongly affects voter turnout and it so strongly affects turnout among the student body,” Hollingsworth said. “Parties, as a larger group, are simply able to reach more people… than, say, one person campaigning. And in this way, the elections only get bigger.
Guevara added that of all UCs, UCSB has one of the highest voter turnout per election — about 30% of the student body.
Merkel said she was aware that banning parties could potentially discourage voter participation, and added that she and the party were being cautious in taking a phased approach to phasing out the party system. While senators would not be able to run with a party next season, executive candidates would still have the option of campaigning with a party.
“I think I’d be worried if we had to do away with parties altogether next year. I don’t think that would be a good idea right now,” she said. “We’re working on changing the system. But we have to do it slowly to bring about lasting change.
Moos said breaking up parties would encourage grassroots politics.
“I think there will be more community alternatives that will arise from a need for political communication for constituent building, for finding your allies, who you want to run with, to coordinate,” they said. “The idea of disbanding parties, at least from the IVP’s perspective, is that part of giving it back to the community.”
A version of this article appeared on p. from the April 7 print edition of the Daily Nexus.