EDITORIAL: We’re Not Endorsing an AS VP External Candidate. Here’s Why.

Photo courtesy of Tritons United. Edited by The Triton

The Triton’s Editorial Board will not be endorsing a candidate for Associated Students of UC San Diego’s (ASUCSD) External Vice President (EVP). We believe the power of this office is too profound to be wielded by an inexperienced candidate.

The Office of External Affairs advocates on behalf of students at the local, state, and national level by representing UCSD to the UC Student Association (UCSA). The Office of External Affairs has been increasingly effective over the past two years.

2016-17 EVP Refilwe Gqajela ran an External Office that registered 3,030 students to vote for the 2016 presidential election. As chair of the UCSA, Gqajela helped establish UCSD as a systemwide player fighting against fee increases and pushed for the resignation of UC Regent Norman Pattiz. Gqajela also increased student labor solidarity by working together with UC unions during protests and strikes.

The current office, under the leadership of 2018-19 EVP Caroline Siegel-Singh, continued this work by effectively lobbying the state government for increased UC funding, averting an in-state tuition increase, and implementing the first tuition decrease in nearly 20 years. Recently, the External Affairs Office advocated against an out-of-state tuition increase that the UC Board of Regents eventually put on indefinite hold.

Upon listening to both initial candidates’ platforms and asking them specific questions regarding their external policies for UCSD, neither candidate presented any concrete plans concerning affairs beyond the UCSD campus.

The candidate who remains on the ballot, Tiger Huang, has not held any position in student governance and has no advocacy experience. When pressed for details about his platform, Huang seemed more interested in plans that were rooted in the UCSD campus than systemwide advocacy. Because we lack confidence in Huang to have concrete plans and a thorough understanding of the position of EVP, we cannot endorse him at this time.

The Office of External Affairs does too much important work, both for UCSD and the UC system at large, to have a leader at the helm with so little experience and so few concrete plans for the scope beyond this campus. If the EVP is out of their depth, our tuition, state funding, and funding of basic needs programs will suffer. This is not just a position to put on one’s resume: The actions of this office have a tangible and immediate effect on students across California.

For these reasons, we recommend that Tiger Huang step down from his candidacy and allow a more experienced candidate to be appointed during the upcoming session.

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.