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by Stephen Howell
The United slate has many eager candidates running for positions in AS. Meena Kaushik, the primary representative of United, sat down and talked with me about the goals and ambitions of her slate, including her views on divestment, AS debt, student government, transportation, and the UCEN referendum.
First, her campaign goals revolve around unifying the community through student groups, including clubs, teams, and Greek organizations. She also plans on unifying student government both within AS itself and between AS and the college councils of the six colleges. When asked to differentiate her slate, she said that she would focus on giving back to student organizations while adhering to AS’s financial responsibilities. Further, Kaushik would like to reexamine the structure of the Associated Students and put forward motions for more accountability through public opinion, and work to provide merit based funding for student organizations and college events where tools like the Post Events Forum would be used to give student feedback to events and organizations.
Kaushik stressed that she would make sure that school-wide senators would represent the voter majority in all decisions. “Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to change themselves,” she noted. As a result, Kaushik will make sure the Associated Student government does not vote according to their own opinions but by the opinions of their voters.
When asked about the issue of divestment, the United slate made it clear that they have no official opinion on divestment, but stress that future discussions of divestment must account for every student and their individual needs.
Expanding on the topic of financial responsibility, Kaushik noted her personal experience dealing with a $14,000 deficit in the Revelle College Council. When faced with such a challenge, she succeeded in finding a resolution to the debt and as a result the Revelle College Council is back on track to restore its reserve funds.
Her plan is to handle the debt AS has accrued in the exact same way – by both re-prioritizing funds and gathering student input. Specifically, she would use programs like OVAL for student feedback and is working on orchestrating having students give feedback with iclickers in lecture halls. She wants to make student feedback easy and accessible, something which AS has overlooked in the past.
Kaushik said she will negotiate more aggressively for an even compromise between transportation services and students by increasing student representation on the parking commission and ensuring the commission includes students from each of the six colleges, commuters, and students who utilize the shuttles and buses. Furthermore, if elected, she will work to inform students more about changes and meetings to mobilize the student body to give more feedback.
When asked about the UCEN referendum Kaushik noted that, aligned with her belief that supporting student run organizations is important, she supports the UCEN referendum because it supports the co-ops, which is a student org on campus.
Students can vote online using MyTritonLink through Friday, April 12th.