Editorial: 2018 A.S. Senate Endorsements


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This year’s ASUCSD senate elections are all uncontested. Although The Triton is disappointed by the increase in apathy towards student service, we hope that turning out to vote and electing qualified leaders will turn the tide for student engagement at UC San Diego. This year’s slate of EMPOWER candidates are all capable candidates worthy of your vote.

Campus Wide Senators

Daniela A. Salazar Bernardi has extensive leadership experience on campus and is committed to uplifting underrepresented student voices. She is involved with several campus organizations, and understands the positions of international, immigrant, and other minority communities, especially with respect to mental health and basic needs. She also plans to work closely with Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Residential Life to establish a stronger network of support for underrepresented students. Salazar, in congruence with the rest of the EMPOWER slate, is promising increased transparency and accessibility—meaning more students will know what ASUCSD is and does, through both student news sources and ASUCSD’s own improved communication with the campus.

Emma Christine Potter is the current First Year Senator of Sixth College Student Council, in addition to being the Director of Communications of College Democrats at UCSD. For Emma, EMPOWER’s general goals of improved accessibility and affordability coincide directly with issues of sustainability. She plans to implement programming on what environmentalism means for a San Diego campus, and is committed to voicing student concerns to on-campus vendors and Housing Dining Hospitality (HDH) administrators. Potter sees HDH dining halls’ excess waste and overuse of plastic packaging as opportunities for improvement. While institutions such as HDH have practices deeply entrenched into the routine of campus life, Potter says if needed, she is willing to take a stand against HDH to represent students. This is significant, as students have grown increasingly resentful of HDH this year.

Kenji Asakura is the current A.S. First Year Senator and plans to utilize his experience within ASUCSD to realize his goals of improved UCSD healthcare. Because he sees cultural inclusion as a cornerstone of comprehensive healthcare, it is important to Asakura that more therapists and counselors who are prepared to treat members of a diverse student population are integrated into the network of mental health services. Moreover, he hopes to provide more programming and increase student awareness of the existing healthcare resources on campus, including The Zone, CARE, CAPS, Student Health Services (SHS), and UC SHIP. Asakura has stated that his slate is interested in possibly hiring a scribe to upload live-streamed meetings and publicly available minutes (as implemented by UC Berkeley ASUC). Most importantly, Asakura is the only candidate for campus-wide senate with direct experience.

Off-Campus Senator

Kelly Morris was appointed as the current off-campus senator in February and is running to continue her tenure. She is also a Fund the UC campaign coordinator. Morris plans to build an off-campus and commuter community by unifying campus commuter services and holding programming and town halls in the areas surrounding campus. In addition, she wants to continue advocating for improved transportation services to alleviate commuting difficulties stemming from construction. Her experience gives us confidence that she has the capabilities to enact her goals.

Other A.S. Senators

Johnny Echavarria and Sabrena Callihan are EMPOWER’s candidates running for Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences senator, respectively. Both candidates advocate for increased funding for their departments and holding administrators accountable in giving non-STEM departments the same attention as STEM departments. Echavarria highlighted recent cuts to dance classes and the administration’s dismissal of student concerns related to “The Films of Woody Allen” course as emblematic of a disparaging attitude towards arts and humanities. Like her fellow slate members, Callihan emphasizes the importance of transparency, specifically during the implementation of new social science majors. Echevarria’s and Callihan’s understanding of key issues in their respective academic fields and their willingness to hold administration accountable should earn your vote.

To vote in the campus election, click here. Voting on TritonLink is open through Friday, April 13. Polls close at 4:00 p.m.

Read our main endorsement of the 2018-19 elections here.