The Associated Students at UCSD (ASUCSD) Senate appointed Rebecca Paskowitz as the Vice President of External Affairs (EVP) on March 3, filling the vacancy created by the resignation of former EVP Alisha Saxena on January 28.
EVP Paskowitz will be responsible for representing and advocating for the needs of UCSD students, connecting members of the student body with other UC campuses, and meeting with stakeholders on the state and federal level. Following Saxena’s resignation, the AS Senate appointed Paskowitz as interim EVP on February 3. Paskowitz became the official EVP after 28 members of the AS Senate voted unanimously on the motion to approve the appointment.
Paskowitz will also be responsible for educating students about issues involving higher education and serving as a representative of UCSD on the University of California Student Association (UCSA).
“UCSA stands as a body representing UC students, and UC students should therefore be knowledgeable about who and how they are being represented. They should additionally have input into its priorities without necessarily having to commit themselves to lobby,” said Paskowitz in a statement to The Triton.
The committee in charge of appointing a new EVP included VP of Campus Affairs Hannah Kreitman, the AS President Kimberly Giangtran, AS Financial Controller Nicholas Butler, the Associate Vice President of Local Affairs Abbey Reuter, Sixth College Senator Zaccary Bradt, and Arts and Humanities Senator Deena Gharibian.
Paskowitz, a third-year in Eleanor Roosevelt College studying Political Science and American Politics, previously worked as the legislative director for the Office of External Affairs.
Paskowitz also aims to educate the community and facilitate conversation between students, AS, “the UCSA board space, the UC Board of Regents, and legislators.”
Kreitman called these events “more of a coincidence than a trend.”
In an effort to include more student input when hiring candidates for vacancies of executive positions (such as financial controller and the AVP positions) , Kreitman introduced and passed an amendment to the AS standing rules. This amendment requires hiring committees to conduct a town hall open to all undergraduate students during the selection process.
According to Kreitman, this was done in accordance with the goal of “making sure that students are involved in the process of appointing people or choosing people that are going to be representing them in spaces.”
In the town hall held via Zoom on February 26, the hiring committee publicly interviewed Paskowitz and another candidate, David Hickman.
Hickman, a fifth-year from Eleanor Roosevelt College studying political science and international studies, has been involved in student, state, and national government since high school. He is currently working as the Associate VP of Academic Affairs.
Both candidates vocalized the importance of increasing visibility and student involvement in the Office of External Affairs.
“I think that the greatest challenge is inaccessibility and unawareness of these spaces and I seek to combat it by having more of these exciting outreach events and by getting into these communities [and] conducting extensive outreach into these diverse communities so that these spaces are representative of the entire UC San Diego student body as a whole,” said Paskowitz during the town hall.
After the interview, attendees were encouraged to fill out a survey indicating their preference for a particular candidate. According to Kreitman, public input accounted for 50% of the committee’s final decision.
“We should be working together as students and as this wonderful, amazing advocacy organization [UCSA], not against each other or with any sort of disconnect. As EVP I wish to bridge that divide and really increase student advocacy overall,” said Paskowitz during the town hall.
Paskowitz will hold the position of EVP until week 8 of spring quarter 2021.
AS Elections will take place from April 5 to April 9. These positions include AS President, VP of Campus Affairs, VP of External Affairs and various Senator positions. Students will be able to vote in the upcoming elections through TritonLink.
Sarah Naughten is a staff writer for The Triton.