While going to UCLA may feel like a dream, it hasn’t been easy for all of us. Annual fees have risen from under $8,000 when I applied to over $12,000 this year. In just the past year, hate speech and crimes have targeted a Latina student’s apartment door, the Vietnamese Student Union’s office, and a queer male walking home from a party. And when I am walking through the Westwood apartments late at night, I can’t help but worry that I may be the area’s next mugging victim.
Therefore, it is imperative that our campus elects student government officers who will take action to address these (and many more) issues. We need leaders who will not simply plan fun events, but who are determined to lobby legislators, work with administrators, and engage the campus population to ensure that change occurs. To ensure that the UC system does not continue to face annual budget cuts. To ensure that students whose communities are underrepresented at UCLA feel included. To ensure that those of us who have to walk alone at night can do so safely.
The difference in ideology between the slates is most blatant in the race for President. Carly Yoshida (Bruins United) wants to use the office to strengthen alumni relations (doesn’t the Student Alumni Association do this all year?), solicit more donations from alumni (which the Call Center already does infamously well), and support UniCamp (one of the most successful organizations on campus). Taylor Bazley (Bruin Alliance) is very concerned about increasing USAC’s visibility and garnering student input, but does not offer any tangible sense of what his office would accomplish. On the other hand, John Joanino (Let’s Act!) promises that his office will fight for long-term solutions to secure funding for the UC, work to expand Night Powell toYRL, and initiate a statewide investigation of campus safety—all large-scale and forward-thinking initiatives. If you take a few minutes to look through the slates’ websites, the sharp distinction between the vague and superficial platforms of the former slates and the progressive, change-oriented Let’s Act! candidates will become even more clear.
As queer people, we may be used to feeling left out. We may have experienced the feeling that the world is against us and that there’s nothing we can do to move forward. But in the case, the Let’s Act! slate provides hope that a more perfect campus is on the horizon. While Bruins United-initiated events like Homecoming and free soda night at 800 Degrees may provide one evening of entertainment, a purposeful movement toward a better UCLA will only come from activist leaders who have a proven track record of successful organizing: the ten candidates of the Let’s Act! slate.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and represent neither the policy nor support of OutWrite Newsmagazine.
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