Candidate Statements for THE 2018 USAC Elections
Candidate statements for each position are listed in first-name alphabetical order. The candidate order on ballots used in the April 30th-May 4th election will be randomized. The statements and photos on this page were collected by the USAC Election Board during designated and publicized submittal dates.
1. A.J. Goldsman (Independent)
The corrupt institution that is USAC must be disbanded and the power returned to us, the collective students of UCLA.
For several years, I’ve watched USAC steadily descend into the hotbed of corruption and waste you see today. From our governmental representatives voting to unilaterally raise their own stipends to student fees being funneled toward campaign expenses and every scandal in between, I’ve seen it all. And I, for one, can’t complete my time at UCLA without trying to abolish the affliction that has plagued UCLA students for so long; a menace that consistently wastes our student fees through selfish misuse of student resources and general incompetence.
Of course, such an undertaking won’t be easy. The President on their own can’t #DisbandUSAC. However, referenda voted on by the student body might do the trick. And the President of USAC has the resources and connections necessary to get such referenda on the ballot.
Therefore, as your USAC President, I will devote my time and resources toward developing referenda focused on the following goals, all of which will help to substantially decrease the negative aspects that have become an inherent part of USAC’s existence.
Converting stipends for USAC representatives to work-study (for those who qualify) or contract course credit (for everyone else).
Phasing out all non-essential USAC positions and their staffs by combining related responsibilities currently being performed by separate councilmembers.
Limiting regularly-scheduled USAC meetings to one per month.
Making ASUCLA profitable
2. Aaron Boudaie (Independent)
Most students don’t care about USAC elections, and rightfully so. Campus politics is an annual show dominated by fakeness, shadiness, and pettiness. I, of all people, get it. After last year’s election, I was turned off by the way negativity dominated the election, with excessive bullying on Faceook and unnecessary campaign sanctions. Campus politics made “USAC” a dirty word at UCLA.
But I am running to be your next USAC President not in spite of this disillusionment, but because I know that USAC has tremendous potential if and when we finally rise above the bullshit.
As a USAC councilmember this year, I saw firsthand that USAC can truly benefit the student body with the right leadership. As your current elected USAC Financial Supports Commissioner, I led an office that accomplished all its ambitious platforms. As your next President, I’ll do the same – bringing you FREE BruinUber around Westwood, a safer campus, and more student group power. And at the council table, I’ll have no agenda. You deserve an open-minded President – a fair facilitator serving the many, not the few.
It's easy to feel cynical. What's hard is turning that cynicism into opportunity.
You’ll pay $270 in student fees to USAC next year. Let’s get our money’s worth. Let’s put students first and politics second.
This election is our opportunity to give USAC and its vast resources back to you, the student. This election, vote experience and vote vision.
VOTE Aaron Boudaie for USAC President week 5 on myUCLA!
3. Ashraf Beshay (Independent)
My name is Ashraf Beshay and I’m running to be your next USAC President.
As a student who has experienced homelessness, found himself going hungry often, and feared not taking advantage of all the opportunities at UCLA, I believe we can do better as a campus. I came in as a transfer and as an international student from Egypt, believing I will excel in the wonderful atmosphere of UCLA. Yet, I’ve found myself to be struggling with basic necessities like many of you. My main promise to you is to change our culture of normalizing financial struggles and feeling unheard on our very campus.
Here are some of my goals:
Establish a program for students in financial crisis that aids in housing costs for one quarter or a maximum of $3,000.
Satellite CAPS Office
Move mental services to a decentralized healthcare delivery model. This would follow several events with counseling hours outside of CAPS to assess the demand on counseling with a decentralized system in place.
Build a strong Transfer Alumni Network (TAN) that guides transfers through the transition out of UCLA and into graduate schools or the workforce.
Improve transfer student representation on funding bodies.
Create an international-focused living learning community on the Hill that serves as an interactive space between domestic and international students to promote cultural exchange and produce a supportive learning environment where international students can thrive.
I hope to have your support on this journey.
4. Claire Fieldman (Bruins United)
My mom always tells me: be a cause, not an effect.
In our national and campus climate, it is easy to fall into cynicism and even apathy - to remain an effect.
But I have never been one to take the easy route.
I have chosen active involvement over disengagement in my years at UCLA: as a representative on the CAPS Student Advisory Board, a leader in the Jewish community, an activist within the Pediatric AIDS Coalition, and the Chief of the Staff in the USAC Office of the President.
I am running to be your next USAC President because I do not see apathy as an option.
Student government can and must play an active role in shaping the student experience, and next year, under my leadership, we will do just that:
We will confront the culture of sexual violence in all its nuances and manifestations.
We will claim our rightful place in decision-making, notification, and preparedness procedures that directly concern our safety on campus.
We will invest in leadership development and mentorship that empowers students to succeed on campus and in their careers.
I believe in a student government that can and will actively shape long-lasting institutional change, catalyze student achievement, and overcome apathy and divisiveness.
My name is Claire Fieldman, I am your next USAC President, and I pledge to be the cause in making this vision of student government a reality.
5. Furkan Yalcin (Independent)
Although only 27.5 percent of the student body participates in the election process, students involved in student government salivate over these prestigious titles. Showing up for meetings in 5 piece suits, asking people they barely know to go get coffee so as to expand their network of students to exploit for publicity, and asking students to change their profile pictures as an attempt to win a campaign is extremely unnecessary. It’s not that serious.
However, there are a few dedicated individuals who are genuinely focused and care about creating community and uplifting unheard voices. But it is clear that there is a certain environment within USAC that does not shed light on these achievements. This culture of drama, gossip, and infighting that is prevalent in USAC culture must be changed. I can be that change.
I am proud to say that I have found ways to participate in campus life and advocate for students without having to join USAC. I am a transfer student, I only have 2 years here, so I don’t have time to participate in the constant subtweeting that occurs between council members through Daily Bruin opinion pieces. USAC is important, it provides valuable resources to students in need; but I want to show students that you don’t need to be 150 percent involved in student government to be active and engaged within your community.
Tune into UCLARADIO.com on Tuesdays at 4pm and 8pm if you would like the opportunity to hear me expand on
6. John Gordon (Independent)
Hey Bruins! My name is Jonathan Gordon and I plan on being your next USAC President. Here at UCLA we are all overachievers who care care about our future professional careers. In order to ease the stress that accompanies applying for internships and jobs I will be launching a broad career networking program that all students will have easy access to. Furthermore I plan to rid all students of the anxiety that comes during enrollment passes every quarter. I believe every student deserves a class they need and in order to ensure timely registration I will institute a notification system for enrollment passes. Most importantly, I feel as though this campus needs to be doing more to not only combat but prevent the atrocious acts of sexual harassment that we have all heard about in the media. The first thing I will do after taking office will be audit of the budget in order to reallocate wasted funds towards sexual awareness programs around campus. Bettering the campus is my only objective, and to achieve this goal I will do everything in my power. It’s time someone took office for the right reasons!
7. Kosi Ogbuli (For the People)
To be for the people one has to trust in 3 things, Your CULTURE The empowerment of your individuality to breed the uplifting of all those around you. Your COMMUNITY: The cultivation of the roots by which we are all connected by, and Your Creativity: The proactiveness to make material changes that directly affects the source of issues. Together these create the means by which the world is changed, HOPE.
Hope is Human. Hope is a human guarantee. Hope has come to me in tears, smiles,and in the form of the greatest interactions with the people around me and in the discovery of love for humanity.
Yet it took 20 years to realize the power of hope.
20 years, a lifetime of the very extremes of the human experience. From depression, to a loss of self I maintained hope as the years went by and I walked onto this campus.
It was worth it. Because this university opened up the depths of my humanity, the very key to shift the culture. My peers,you have given me the means to elevate myself but I HOPE to be able to uplift you.
The highs and lows of our moments at UCLA will mean more beyond this moment, because when we hold up a mirror to our lives, whether its being held by yourself or your student body president it will show the hope of who we can become, from my life to yours and truly make UCLA For the People.
8. Richard White (Leaders Influencing Tomorrow)
No Statement Submitted
INTERNAL VICE PRESIDENT
1. Izzy Gardner (Bruins United)
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
I believe that the student experience is defined by how you feel on campus. You probably don’t remember every lecture you attended, but you remember the professors who inspired you. You may not remember the test you failed, but you remember the friends who supported you when you got your grade. UCLA is our home - and it should feel as such.
My freshman year, I found friends and mentors who made UCLA feel like home. These people inspired me to pay it forward. I joined the IVP office, hosting events that provided students with study spaces, food, and information about housing. In the USAC President’s office, I worked to connect students with UCLA alumni and provide networking opportunities.
My efforts to make UCLA feel like home have taught me not only about the resources available, but also about the resources that UCLA lacks. UCLA has flaws - from financial barriers to attending athletic events, to the complex room reservation process, to the lack of resources for sexual assault survivors on campus.
In order for UCLA students to have the best college experience possible, these issues cannot be ignored. As IVP, I will work to improve the student experience and make every Bruin feel they belong.
My name is Izzy Gardner, I am your next Internal Vice President, and I pledge to make this campus feel like home.
2. Robert Blake Watson (Independent)
I’m Robert Blake Watson, and I’m running to be your next Internal Vice President (IVP)! Back in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, due to my identity as a gay man, I continually was faced with the fear of being kicked out of my home. This threat of being kicked out, along with losing the resources I was dependent on, led me to start my nonprofit, Good Clothes Good People, Inc. (GCGP). Ultimately, GCGP works to provide students with easy access to donate basic needs that will go right back to the community these donations were given in. In the IVP Office, I’ve expanded this nonprofit to have roughly $20,000 in funds going directly to this project’s development, along with 6 donation bins already operating on a semi-regular basis. Now, I want to do even more through the IVP office.
Resourceful- I hope to firmly establish the Good Clothes Good People Redistribution Center, specifically to provide students with free clothes, hygiene supplies, and menstrual products.
Reachable- For too long, elected IVPs have not been as active as they could be. I hope to actively create an Accessibility through Financial Literacy Committee, which would attend organization meetings to connect them to USAC funding opportunities and more!
Receptive- I aim to host monthly teach-ins between students and administrators on various forms of hate speech that occur here at UCLA. with a goal of producing written joint resolutions that proactively reaffirm UCLA’s commitment to all its students.
3. Salvador Martinez (Leaders Influencing Tomorrow)
No Statement Submitted.
EXTERNAL VICE PRESIDENT
1. Jamie Kennerk (Independent)
Jamie Kennerk is running for External Vice President to bring their three years of campus leadership in organizing and advocacy to the council table.
Jamie has led campaigns to save Pell grants, lower textbook prices, and combat hunger and homelessness as chair of CALPIRG at UCLA, and led lobbying trips to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. They drove the registration of over 10,000 students to vote as a leader in BruinsVote 2016, and assembled the 2018 coalition.
As our next External Vice President, Jamie will work to support SECURITY, ENGAGEMENT, and AFFORDABILITY for students. They believe the office should be a resource for student advocacy already happening on campus, and a space to build new leaders who can effect change well past graduation.
• Right to Live: Combat federal efforts to weaken gun control.
• Right to Remain: Protect undocumented students and their families, and fight the xenophobic federal immigration agenda.
• Right to Exist: Advocate for proactive LGBTQ legislation.
• Right to Reject: Counter sexual assault with stronger UC policies, prevent rollbacks of current protections.
• Convention for Student Leadership and Action: Quarterly convention on the fundamentals of organizing.
• BruinsVote: Huge voter registration drive with data-driven targeting of underrepresented communities.
• Students SnapBack: Weekly petitioning events and photo booths for campus involvement and reaching elected officials.
• Affordable Learning: Create long-term affordability and accessibility, lobby to protect and increase financial aid.
• Affordable Living: State funding to fight food insecurity; combat housing crisis through local government advocacy & partner with Westwood Forward coalition.
2. Karla Blessing Sāvaliolefilemū Thomas (Leaders Influencing Tomorrow)
No Statement Submitted.
3. Nicole Corona Diaz (Independent)
There is a difference between wanting the EVP office, and needing it. The EVP office has historically been a POC office, because the resources it offers sustains us at this university. Our mere existence is resistance. My experience serving on USAC as General Representative 1 this year is a prime example of why representation matters. Our office brought visibility to the voices of undocumented individuals like USAC had never done before. UndocuBruins finally held the platform they rightfully deserve.
Grassroots and community organizing has been doing what student government has attempted to do for years. The voice of resistance has paved way for many national movements. These voices, along with my own, need to be elevated. Low-income students should have accessibility to lobbying when it comes to higher education reform. Undocumented students should be speaking to their representatives face to face, not through their allies. Part of being an ally is knowing when to step down, because these voices don’t just need representation, they need their seat at the table.
I’m running to be your External Vice President as a beacon of hope for those who come after me. We stand on the shoulder of giants, and I hope communities have the accessibility to take space at institutions that were not created to uplift them. Policy as it stands, is incomplete; if amicable lobbying visits, distant phone banks, or letters have failed to hold our elected representatives accountable, then it is our duty to resist, to organize, and to mobilize.
4. Victoria Solkovits (Bruins United)
Our government is at a crossroads of indifference and uncertainty. We can stand by to wait for change, or we can unite and fight to be that change.
I have always been a fighter. Whether combating tuition hikes, pressing for an inclusive Neighborhood Council, or working to save the Middle Class Scholarship, advocacy is at the core of everything I do because I know that it works.
Many students want to fight for that change, yet often lack the resources to do so. The desire to increase access to this power and inspire others to take a stand is what drives me to be your next External Vice President. I will use my lobbying and professional experience at every level of government to empower students to advocate for themselves, fighting the fight with them each enver every step of the way.
Organized, we are a force for change.
United, we will;
- Increase access to civic participation for future elections on national and local levels
- Make existing advocacy resources more accessible to campus' often overlooked communities by creating a streamlined process in which the EVP office assists every step of the way including reorganized outreach, training, and funding applications
- Revitalize and democratize the EVP Lobby Corp to advocate for system-wide campaigns to ensure UC affordability, secure DACA, fight for campus safety reform, and institutionalize policy reform against sexual harassment and sexual violence.
My name is Victoria Solkovits, I am your next External Vice President, and our fight is just getting started.
1. Andrew "Zoklar" Sokoler (Candidates Operating Clearly)
Hello! My name is Andrew J. Sokoler and I am revolutionizing the campaign process through my Candidates Operating Clearly slate. We pride ourselves on transparency and fighting the corrupt nepotism which too often plagues USAC. I am a student employee and a self-funding USAC outsider here to combat corrupt politician speak. By the way, I am unabashedly pro-Bird and will fight for the Birding community on campus. Some other things I care deeply about include getting GENE BLOCK to interact more with students in my We All Need Gene platform. As a stats major, I love South Campus and will work to transform South Campus life. Our student union and restaurants are inefficient and my Fruit-cart in Ackerman without Lines and Available Swipes initiative will add healthy food options, online ordering, and hill swipes to the campus food experience. In addition to food, we must make on-campus exercise a more enjoyable and inclusive option with my Reinventing IM Sports idea, which will add new sports like Fortnite, ping-pong and inner-tube waterpolo. Many campus bathrooms are also in a tremendous state of disrepair and unfit for general usage, and I intend to change that. I also promise to support and advocate for resources like CAPS and work to assist the homeless in Westwood. Most importantly, I want to represent the entire campus community through civil dialogue and include all perspectives into my campaign and while on council. My Different Ideas Collide mantra ensures that I hear, consider, and represent all ideas.
2. Ayesha Haleem (Independent)
I am Ayesha Haleem, a third year Political Science and International Development Studies major. I’m a Muslim woman born in Karachi, Pakistan, who flew 8,112 miles with big suitcases and even bigger dreams.
As an international student, I have struggled to find space on this campus, and have often had to create it for myself and communities I belong to. I am running to be your General Representative because inaccessibility to USAC has been prevalent for far too long.
My experiences within and outside USAC have given me the opportunity to explore issues of various campus communities. I will use my position on the table to work towards concrete solutions that amplify student voices, promote a culture of dialogue, and enable us to take ownership of our student government:
Our Community, Our Discourse: Promotes a proactive approach towards issues pertaining to campus climate and campus communities, through a series of sustained dialogue, facilitated by the members of the community whose identity is being explored.
Konversations at Kerck: Makes administration and faculty more accessible to students by facilitating weekly conversations at Kerckhoff to foster student connections.
International Student Resource Taskforce: Works with existing campus departments to advocate for the creation of an international student resource center, a DCISS advisory board and an international student scholarship database.
U do U(SAC): Creates institutional support for students who aren’t traditionally involved in USAC and enables them to introduce their own programs and advocacy efforts via USAC offices.
For more visit: ayeshaforgenrep.com
3. Bella Martin (Bruins United)
In the 1950s, my abuelo left Pegueros, Jalisco, and migrated into the United States. Out of love, necessity, and desperation, he signed a contract with the Bracero Program to build bridges and pave roads. He had a wife and children who relied on his labor, and each paycheck sent home would be a love letter written in sweat, signed by tired fingers: Pedro Martín. By 1965, with enough money saved, his family would leave Jalisco for the United States, following the path their Papa had laid.
Every time I hold my abuelo's hand, I feel a calloused palm, solid as a monument to the labor it had to endure. But I also feel a softness, because it is a hand that endured for family.
My name is Bella Martin, and there is nothing more important to me than family, be it my father's family from Jalisco, my mother's family from Ohio, or my family at UCLA.
At a time when the security and wellbeing of low income students and students of color are threatened, I seek to serve this campus with the attitude of relentless perseverance my abuelo instilled in me.
I will work to strengthen student engagement in campus, county, state, and national electoral politics. I will work with our administration to ensure an affordable, attainable education for all. And I will work to ensure improved safety and sustainability for all students on campus.
I am Bella Martin, and I am your next General Representative, let’s lead with love.
4. Berenise Arriaga (Leaders Influencing Tomorrow)
No Statement Submitted.
5. Delia Xing (Independent)
Hello Bruins! As the General Representative of the USAC council and UCLA bruins, I will represent and address the diverse interests and concerns of various communities at UCLA. I aim to not just be your General Representative, but also as your fellow student and your fellow Bruin-in-office.
My primary agenda consists of:
-implement real-time online traffic monitor at study lounges and campus facilities based on existing systems at UCLA dining halls to improve accessibility
-Wi-Fi connections at study lounges to receive stability upgrades
-food swipes can be used at campus restaurants and facilities and can be converted to “meal points” rather than swipes
Bruins in Motion
-decrease Bruinbus waiting intervals during evenings with more vehicles in service during evening hours and extended operation times.
-increased Bruin bus coverage on weekends with extended weekend service.
Witness the Fitness
-Joint initiative with UCLA Counseling Services (CAPS) regarding student mental health, depression, and sleep deprivation and simplify professional psychiatric care application procedure
-Dedicate more attention and provide guidance sessions for the adjustment of international and out-of-state students.
I believe that being a General Representative entails great responsibility and I look forward to advancing the goals of UCLA’s great community!
6. Eduardo Solis (Independent)
At a month old, I migrated to the United States as my parents escaped high levels of poverty. Growing up, I faced constant bullying which led to my depression and suicidal thoughts at the age of 11. However, at the age of 12, I decided to create a blog on twitter, @EndBullyinNow, to help those struggling with the same issues as me. With over 30,000 followers, I have utilized my blog to share my queer, undocumented, and mental health experiences to help others. Currently, I serve as UCLA’s Legislative Advocate for the External Vice President Office and have been able to organize phone-banking and postcard signing events surrounding on advocating for immigration causes. I have also gained lobbying experience at the federal and state level as I have met with elected officials to discuss college affordability, mental health, and immigration.
I am running for General Representative to elevate the voices of marginalized students. UCLA being ranked #1 means nothing if the students, especially marginalized students, of this prestigious university are not placed as the #1 priority of administrators. If elected, I will put pressure on UCOP to renew funding for resources, books, and other materials to undocumented students. I will implement the National Suicide Hotline on Bruin Cards to further provide resources to those who are struggling with their mental health. Lastly, I plan to work alongside other organizations to transform the food closet into a food pantry.
7. Helen-Sage Lee (Independent)
Saying, “Me Too,” shattered the silence everywhere as I, too realized that it wasn’t just me. This was us.
Hi, my name is Helen-Sage Lee and I am a third-year student, activist, advocate, and most recently, I am a survivor. Today, I am running to be your next General Representative as an Independent candidate. I am currently creating my own major titled, “Human Rights and Technology,” and double majoring in philosophy. With my involvements in Residential Life as the President and USAC Liaison of the On-Campus Housing Council, Director of Team Green Sustainability on the Hill, grassroots women’s rights activist, UCLA Radio DJ, and captain of a FoundationsChoreography dance team, I know the thriving campus life that UCLA has to offer. However, it’s time that student government actively represents, addresses, and takes action on difficult issues that affect all of us, rather than just the great parts of campus life. You have my unwavering promise that I will represent us.
As your next General Representative, I will reshape this office to reclaim our space, especially to
- seek jUStice for sexual assault survivors and remediate bystander/rape culture,
- reintroduce sUStainability and caring for the environment as a priority,
- addressing intersectionality and focUSing unaddressed problems within diverse communities.
I, too, carry the stories that make us powerfully human. I am not afraid to stand with you for the issues that we face. This is us, and I will be proud to represent us, stand with you, and ensure you are being heard.
8. Naomi Kisel (Bruins United)
We show each other who we are through the stories we tell.
Since freshman year, I’ve listened to Bruins’ stories. From my desk at Student Legal Services, I heard my peers describe their concerns about unaffordable rent increases and landlords taking advantage of students. These stories inspired me to become Director of Housing and Employment Education in the USAC Office of the President, where I organized workshops that empowered students to understand their rights as tenants.
During my sophomore year, I realized that Westwood needed to better serve students. With that in mind, I applied and was appointed to the board of the Westwood Neighborhood Council, where I amplify student voices at every meeting. With each vote I cast, I have Bruins in mind – our needs, concerns, and opinions. My vision is to make Westwood a more vibrant college town, and I will work to ensure it becomes our reality.
I have listened to students tell their stories, and now it is time to tell you mine. UCLA can feel large and intimidating to many of us. As a first generation student, I have certainly felt that coming to UCLA. This is why I am running to be your next General Representative: I want to work to make our campus your home.
Your story, your home, and your city matter to me. Allow me to be part of your story as your next General Representative. My name is Naomi Kisel, and I am your next General Representative.
ACADEMIC AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER
1. Brock Bauer (Bruins United)
I can’t promise to have all the answers when it comes to helping students because each student experiences UCLA in a unique way. What I can say is that I stand ready to ask the right questions in order to empathize with and amplify student voices on campus.
At this year’s council table, far too many student voices have been silenced by the divisive shouts of our elected leaders. If we want to implement real change, we must elect those who are not the loudest, but who are most willing to empower students to create their own pathways to academic success.
As director of the Bruins Breaking Bread initiative in the USAC Office of the President, I’m passionate about facilitating spaces which empower students to share their stories with professors, and not the other way around.
As a member of the Western Association Schools and Colleges Accreditation Steering Committee, I’m working to ensure that administrators hear the sentiments of students from all parts of campus. Our school will only better serve us as students if we are involved in planning its future.
I’m committed to amplifying your voices as students by…
- Syncing Instructor Evaluations to Bruin Walk, so you have a voice in your education
- Organizing Faculty-Student dinners and networking, so you have a voice to make your professors work for you
- Developing a centralized Career Resource Guide, so you have a voice in our future professional success
My name is Brock Bauer, I am your next Academic Affairs Commissioner
2. Nidirah Stephens (For the People)
I come from a single-parent household in San Bernardino, Ca. San Bernardino is a place where although we do not have much, we make the most of what we can and then some. At 10 years old, I had to take care of my mom who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I grew up juggling school and athletics by day to cooking and cleaning for my family by night. Although this responsibility was hard for me growing up, it made me strong, responsible, and resilient. I had to remind myself of where I come from, because in her better health, my mother was entrepreneur and community leader for young girls running an after school program called Itty Bitty Models. Along the way, I found community within my teachers who invested in my academic success. I am a woman who is passionate about community. It has empowered me. I have been blessed to bring 100 students from San Bernardino to Higher Education Conference, Chair the Student Initiated Outreach Committee that invests over $800,000 in Access and Outreach Efforts as well as leading a staff to getting 30 students admitted into UCLA. If I didn’t have community to invest in me, I would not be were I am today. As your next AAC, I will empower the community of UCLA, by increasing retention through technology, scholarships, and enrollment management. I, Nidirah Stephens, will ensure that all students’ access to the resources they need to retain themselves here at UCLA.
3. Roberto Vasquez (Leaders Influencing Tomorrow)
No Statement Submitted.
CAMPUS EVENTS COMMISSIONER
1. Alley Madison (Independent)
For over fifty years, Campus Events Commission has been the foremost source of enticing, relevant, and valuable entertainment for the UCLA student body. For the past two years, I have been a part of the hardworking group of students who work to materialize these events, and ensure that as many students can enjoy them as is logistically possible.
As the next Campus Events Commissioner, my staff and I will continue to provide the student body with consistent and interesting films, festivals, concerts, and speakers, but we will also seek to connect with students to ensure that the events being held are ones that there is an observed interested in. That way, student funds are being spent in a way that the students themselves deem valuable- not just a closed group of us.
Moreover, I intend on making our events more inclusive, both in our audiences, and in the entertainment for which we provide an audience. Events will be held at different times of the day and week, to accommodate working and commuting students. All spaces in which they are held will be fully accessible, and will be promoted as such. Additionally, there will be an intentional effort to highlight entertainment driven by womxn, communities of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and others.
Ultimately, I will strive to lead a commission that engages with the greater student body, and seeks to deliver meaningful events that all students stand to benefit from.
cec. tell us what you want what you really really want
COMMUNITY SERVICE COMMISSIONER
1. Bethanie Atinuke Sonola (Independent)
Hi Bruins! My name is Bethanie Atinuke Sonola and I am super excited to be running for the position of Community Service Commissioner.
I have been a member of Bruin Partners – a CSC service project – since my sophomore year at UCLA and currently serve as the CSC Liaison Director. In the past academic year, I have been granted the opportunity to serve as a CSC Social Media Coordinator, which has provided me with an extensive familiarity with the inner workings of our office. This experience – in addition to my experiences with other service entities on campus – has given me insight into some of the needs and concerns of service-oriented individuals within the UCLA student body.
Below I have detailed the goals I will be working towards if given the opportunity to be your next Community Service Commissioner:
1. Engage in more meaningful partnerships and communication with the wider UCLA Community.
2. Increase resources available to all UCLA service organizations to facilitate their ability to serve.
3. Further develop the support we provide to individuals at UCLA involved in service.
4. Support UCLA service organizations in improving risk management and/or safety practices.
If elected as the next Community Service Commissioner I look forward to working with our office to continue and enhance our direct/indirect service efforts and in doing so I hope that we are able to address some of the social inequities present both at UCLA and in the greater Los Angeles area.
CULTURAL AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER
1. Sarena Khasawneh (For the People)
Hello Bruins! I’m Sarena Khasawneh and I’m your For the People Candidate for Cultural Affairs.
I joined CAC as a freshmen through the “cacternship.” Whenever I talk about entering CAC, I stress how pivotal the timing was. I was failing classes, never left my dorm, and was looking for schools to transfer to. CAC truly changed my path and showed me I could not only survive here, but i could thrive. The internship taught me the roots of consciousness and introduced me to the struggles of communities I had little interaction with in my hometown Adelanto, CA. Afterwards, Worldfest exposed me to the reality of organizing as a student and the challenges this institution and its’ bureaucracy implement against us. This year, as chief-of-staff, was incredibly rewarding. I was able to involve myself in all the beautiful series we have in whatever way they needed me. The people in this commission put in so much labor and energy to create unique spaces for students and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve both them and you all.
I know statements tend to include something about identity, trauma, or reasons for why getting to this point has been challenging. However, I’m lucky enough to be unopposed so I will not do that. This process, nor this institution, are allowed to demand that i surrender my story. Stories are meant to be shared, not traded for votes like a commodity. So please HMU, lets get to know each other.
1. Aneri Suthar (Bruins United)
“We belong to the earth; the earth does not belong to us.” This proverb has driven my journey in sustainability activism for as long as I can remember, from high school environmental research to serving in the Renewable Energy Association. The summer before I even began my freshman year here, I reached out to then-incoming Facilities Commissioner Sandra Rhee about how I could help on UCSA’s Sustain Our Students campaign.
However, a thriving ecosystem is more than what relates to just our physical environment. It is a complex network of tens of thousands of organisms interacting. It is, in other words, UCLA. While sustainability was the venue through which I happened to be introduced to USAC, I have since then advocated for a multitude of causes to support this complex network of interconnected Bruins, from sexual violence prevention to birth control access to textbook affordability.
My love for this office and its work is as old and deeply rooted as my love for this school. The diverse nature of the Facilities Commission’s responsibilities allows for a focus on often overlooked campus details with regards to accessibility and safety. My diverse experiences as a student leader within and outside of this specific office will allow me to successfully continue fighting next year - for housing security, for more reproductive health resources, and for more equitable campus space reform.
My name is Aneri Suthar, I am your next Facilities Commissioner, and I’m ready to connect the dots to create a stronger campus.
2. Julia Ho-Gonzalez (Independent)
My name is Julia Ho-Gonzalez. I am a proud Asian-Latina womxn born to immigrant parents and first-generation college student. I come from inner city Los Angeles, an area defined by crime, poverty, and failing education systems. I know what it is like to not feel safe in my own home, to be surrounded by gunshots, and to lose friends to inefficient emergency response protocols.
I joined FAC with the intention of making our campus and its resources safe and accessible for students who call it home. I have earned my right to be Chief of Staff of the current Facilities Commission, and oversee our projects aimed at improving the day-to-day functioning on campus. We’ve worked on student safety, equitable space allocation, resource accessibility, water conservation, and campus waste reduction.
With the blessing of my parents, and my team in FAC, I am running as an independent, internally elected candidate, to be your next Facilities Commissioner. I intend to continue the legacy of this FAC powerhouse, and hope you will invest in the future our staff envisions.
FAC is FIRE:
FACCESSIBILITY- Make FAC more accessible through collaboration.
INFRASTRUCTURE- Change campus infrastructure and space allocation to support essential student needs.
•Safe and Sound
RESOURCES- Transform available campus resources to increase their functionality and accessibility.
•Ride the Microwave
•Access on Board
ENVIRONMENT- Foster an environment-friendly culture through programming and advocacy.
To explore my platforms further, visit juliaforfac.com. Vote for me, and lets
FINANCIAL SUPPORT COMMISSIONER
1. Giovanny Machado (Leaders Influencing Tomorrow)
No Statement Submitted.
2. Jay Manzano (Independent)
My name is Jay Manzano and I am running to be your next Financial Supports Commissioner.
The Financial Supports Commission has the unique responsibility of addressing issues regarding financial concern and wellbeing. Like many students, I have faced the pressure of not knowing how to navigate UCLA. I have also felt the sting of not being able to afford the cost of attending this university. These experiences fuel my advocacy.
Throughout my time at UCLA, I have dedicated myself to making its institutions more accessible. As a Resident Assistant and as a New Student Advisor, I work closely with hundreds of students to connect them to various resources on campus. And as a Fellowship Director within the Office of the External Vice President, I am proud to work with a team of individuals committed to social justice, legislative advocacy, and college affordability. Additionally, as a coalition leader of three years within the North Coastal Youth Prevention Coalition, I have gained valuable experience in grassroots organizing and community engagement.
As your next Financial Supports Commissioner, I will uphold the three pillars of Equity, Mobility, and Opportunity. I will advocate for the University to adopt more sensible policies regarding the way in which it requests money from students. I will also seek to provide services to students experiencing financial insecurity and approach financial advocacy through an intersectional lens. As FSC, I will ensure that the Financial Supports Commission takes an active role not only in making UCLA affordable, but accessible.
3. Justin Suarez (Independent)
No Statement Submitted.
4. Lior Behdadnia (Bruins United)
My name is Lior Behdadnia and I am a transfer, commuter student. I had to choose to start at community college because I could not afford the cost of four years at UCLA. And in an effort to save money, I had to choose the more distant, laborious, and affordable option of commuting to campus every day. And even then, it still seems impossible for myself and other students to win the parking lottery.
In my current position as a Student Advocate in the Financial Supports Commission, I have advocated for a more affordable and accessible UC by bringing scholarships to commuters and expanding the FSC Loaner Library.
As the only candidate currently serving in the Financial Supports Commission, I am the most prepared and knowledgeable about the office and know what it takes to lead these initiatives.
Leaders do not lead with words, they lead with action.
It's time to bring financial literacy to this campus so that we as students have the knowledge and ability to plan our financial futures. I will bring countless opportunities for Bruins to get the upper hand on their finances.
It's time to create solutions to address the financial issues we all face.
My name is Lior Behdadnia, I am you next Financial Supports Commissioner, and we are bruins united for affordability.
STUDENT WELLNESS COMMISSIONER
1, George Louis Faour (Independent)
Hello, everyone! My name is George Faour and I am running to be your next Student Wellness Commissioner. During my time here at UCLA, SWC has really allowed me to find a sense of community. For the last two years, I have had the honor to direct SEARCH (Student Education and Research on Contemporary Health), a health literacy/education committee and one of the 12 amazing committees that make up SWC. These committees collaboratively function to promote the health and wellness of the student body.
This year, if elected as your next Student Wellness Commissioner, I hope to address the issues regarding the effects of alcoholism and drug abuse, the accessibility of UCLA’s campus, and the inclusivity among several cultural and health organizations. I wish to continue the work that the commission has brought to this campus along with incorporating the following initiatives-
-Observing and programming events during the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) and working to remove the stigma associated with conversations on alcohol and drug abuse.
-Creating a space dedicated for easy mobility aid access (crutches, standard wheelchairs, etc.) for those who are not able to access these necessities with ease.
-Performing a needs assessment of UCLA buildings for accessibility through surveying students.
-Expanding co-programming efforts in intersectionality of culture and health, through collaboration with existing non-USAC involved student organizations.
TRANSFER STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE
1. Aaron Simental (Independent)
My name is Aaron Simental, your next Transfer Student Representative.
Coming from an underserved community, we are systematically kept out of higher education. High school resources are poor, we can’t afford raising tuition, and our life’s obligations slow us down. For me, community college was my only chance at higher education.
I thrived at community college solely because the student body forged a supportive culture focused on marginalized students. I got involved in student government to utilize its institutional privilege to make change for students who needed help. We created a food pantry, fought for sanctuary, and facilitated a culture of student empowerment.
We - students working together - did that.
At UCLA, I continued that fight for marginalized communities in the similar USAC General Representative 1 space. As Chief of Staff, I oversaw our advocacy and gained in-house experience on how USAC works. Now, I want to continue that advocacy with a Transfer-oriented mindset.
We need to make USAC work for Transfers: utilizing its resources to support the leaders who’ve been working endlessly and making sure all Transfer identities are included in our work.
We need to keep the pressure on administrators, and finding solutions without them, to make our Transfer needs - parking, scholarships, and resources - a priority.
We need to share our knowledge of current student issues to form a stronger movement: educating new Transfers on how to get involved on campus quickly, not during our last quarters.
We earned our space here. Let’s use it.
2. Jessica Kim (Bruins United)
My mental health always interfered with my academic ability to the point where I almost didn’t graduate high school. Once I got diagnosed and received the resources I needed to handle difficult situations in my life, I was able to get my life back on track and eventually transferred to UCLA.
Going to UCLA was a dream that I never thought I would be able to achieve, but once I got to this campus, that dream was replaced with the reality of what being a transfer student is like at UCLA.
The difficulties I have faced as a transfer student with a mental illness have made me passionate about making change within the transfer community. I know what it feels like to not have the resources to properly succeed, and I know many of us in this community feel like we lack the tools needed to make the most out of our time on this campus. My experience in the Transfer Leadership Coalition and in the Office of the President have exposed me to the pressing issues that transfers face and has motivated me to make long-term change at UCLA. I want to empower transfers by improving access to resources, increasing housing options, creating leadership opportunities, and connecting transfers to the rest of the student body.
I believe all transfers have the capacity to succeed on this campus. That is why I, Jessica Kim am running to be your next Transfer Student Representative; together, we will make long-term change.
3. William Hickman (Leaders Influencing Tomorrow)
No Statement Submitted.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
The Undergraduate Student Association Council is the representative body of the UCLA
Undergraduate community. International students comprise around 11.8% of the student body
and yet have only had 2 international councilmembers in the 99-year history of the institution.
Since 2009-10, there have been no resolutions addressing the exacerbating needs of international
students at-large on our campus.
The International Student Leadership Coalition was just established in 2017 to be the first step
towards addressing a gap in representation of International Students at UCLA.
International students are an extremely diverse population. In 2014, UCLA ranked sixth in the
nation for international students enrollment. Every year, UCLA admits students from nearly 90
In 2017, Trump administration banned students from Venezuela, Libya, Chad, Syria, Iran,
Yemen, Somalia, and North Korea from having an education in the United States, thus UCLA.
International students’ education at UCLA has been impacted by the current political climate.
Under the current Trump administration, international students have fewer opportunities for
employment in the United States. This includes changes to the H-1B visa program that sponsors
many international students upon graduation. International students have experienced
discrimination and are being rejected from jobs based on their international status.
There are cultural barriers that international students encounter along with restriction to many
resources that UCLA should be providing to all students.
Common misconceptions regarding international cultures have been communicated with
international students. International students are perceived as wealthy, privileged students who can afford paying for
We are asking for the creation of a new, voting council position on the Undergraduate Student
Association Council called “International Student Representative.” The position will start on
USAC starting in the 2019-2020 school year after the election in Spring 2019. This position shall
represent international students’ interests and address existent and emerging needs of the