The Triton’s 2017-18 Election Endorsements

Editor’s Note, 4/11/2017: In light of new information regarding former Presidential candidate Tara Vahdani, the Editorial Board rescinds our former endorsement and endorses Lesly Figueroa. An inappropriate photo of Vahdani surfaced on Apr. 10. We were not aware of the photo when we made our initial endorsement. Our former endorsement is available here and an explanation of this decision is available here

The student government at UCSD manages $5.2 million; our student representatives, who we are voting on this week, are our direct line to interacting with the Chancellor and other members of the administration. Contrary to popular belief, these elections are not similar to ASB in high school: your vote will decide how that money is allocated, what form of representation we have in crucial campus meetings, and how effective we are at keeping the campus administration accountable to our needs.

In years past, candidates have been from slates with significantly different ideological positions. It wasn’t reasonable to endorse candidates from different slates, who had entirely different and sometimes opposing visions of UCSD. However, this year, we have two similar progressive slates and a variety of independent candidates, so it is important to examine the tangible actions candidates plan to take. When considering who to endorse for the 2017-18 Associated Students school year, this Editorial Board considered a variety of factors: proven experience, policy proposals, community involvement, and interactions with student press.

This year, we have decided to endorse only executive candidates. When looking at the candidates for Senate, we find them all to be competent, qualified, and representative of a diverse cast of student groups. Student elections are not about cliques or slates — they are about policy and representation. Endorsing an entire slate of senators or picking a select few would be a disservice to the student body.

Throughout their campaign, Students Determined has presented a vision for uplifting various community leaders on campus that might not necessarily run for student government, a vision we firmly support. However, we find as much validity in the senatorial candidate voices of THRIVE as we do with Students Determined. It is just as important to uplift voices like those of current MEChA Chair Freddy Ariolla, as it is to uplift those involved in the co-op community like Mohamed Al Elew. We trust that all of them, in their desire to work for the betterment of campus, can work together with fellow student leaders across slate lines if they are elected. We think it is important for you to read our coverage and their platforms, talk to them directly if possible, and then vote.

As a campus newspaper, it is important that we share the knowledge we have gained in the process of interacting with and interviewing candidates, and endorse those who are best suited for their positions. After speaking with the candidates for all three executive roles, we collectively endorse Tara Vahdani for AS President, Refilwe Gqajela for Vice President External Affairs, and Matthew Arrollado for Vice President Campus Affairs.


Lesly Figueroa for AS President

Editor’s Note, 4/11/17: In light of new information regarding former Presidential candidate Tara Vahdani, the Editorial Board rescinds our former endorsement and endorses Lesly Figueroa. An inappropriate photo of Vahdani surfaced on Apr. 10. We were not aware of the photo when we made our initial endorsement. Our former endorsement is available here and an explanation of this decision is available here. 

Due to this new information and Figueroa’s qualifications, we have chosen to endorse Figueroa for AS President. From the remaining three options, we remain concerned about Dennis Yeh’s rhetoric and inexperience and Gus Guerrero’s lack of tangible ways to work with other electeds. Figueroa has done a fantastic job with her work at the Triton Food Pantry, and plans to bring a strong voice for addressing food and housing insecurity into the conversation. While we remain concerned about issues we brought up earlier, including the nature of Figueroa’s interactions with the press and the vagueness of certain policy proposals, she is the clear choice for AS president.

– The Triton Editorial Board


Refilwe Gqajela for Vice President External Affairs

Throughout the course of the election season and throughout her time here at UCSD, Students Determined candidate Refilwe Gqajela has repeatedly demonstrated that she is both intentional in the spaces she works in and always approaches them with a much-needed critical lens. Read more here

 – The Triton Editorial Board


Matthew Arrollado for Vice President Campus Affairs

The only executive running unopposed, Matthew Arrollado convinced this editorial board that he has a thorough understanding of the position of Vice President of Campus Affairs. Read more here

 – The Triton Editorial Board


The 2017-18 AS elections are scheduled for April 10 through 14. Polling stations and online voting will close Friday at 4 p.m.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Triton Editorial Board. If you’d like to submit a response, or comment on a different issue affecting the UC community, please submit here.