Wednesday, May 22

Dahle, Tan go head to head for USAC presidency

SURE hopefuls wants to break from council's status quo

By Marcelle Richards


[email protected] David Dahle, presidential candidate for
Students United for Reform and Equality, is touting goals to
represent the entire student body next year despite pulling a
“hand-picked” slate of On Campus Housing Council
members behind him. Like his opponent, Dahle supports student
advocacy, the BruinGo! program and more triples as an alternative
to living in study lounges on campus. The rest of his slate’s
platform is built in opposition to USAC’s status quo. He said
the current council represents only certain sectors of campus
““ most of it reflective of Student Empowerment!’s
ethnic group constituents ““ and next year needs to include
the rest. “We all agree Student Empowerment! is not the
standard of how USAC should be run,” he said.

Defining representation A self-defined leader of a reactionary
slate, Dahle is pushing to make USAC visible to those he feels have
been neglected this year. “The priority has to be the whole
campus, not just your own group,” he said. When asked how his
slate ““ heavily represented by those working with campus
housing and a Greek or two ““ is different from Student
Empowerment!, he explained: “The difference is, we
don’t have an agenda that’s going to be
exclusive.” Dahle, who is half-Vietnamese, broke from the
Vietnamese Student Union, with which he did volunteer work last
year. At a student groups endorsement hearing last week, he
received flak from VSU for saying he did not know all the issues of
the community but would support them. “It’s like
Voltron,” he said, explaining that the president needs to be
the one to bring student group leaders together to serve students.
Working along these lines, he plans to help the Indian Student
Union pursue a South Asian studies program next year. Soliciting
student opinion As general representative this year, Dahle started
and will continue a randomized survey via e-mail to gather student
opinion. It’s a tactic he’s ingrained in the rest of
the slate. Fellow members have said they would not act on an issue
unless students, as shown through a poll or survey, indicate that
they approve. Dahle admits he may have hammered the notion in too
hard, but said he will take action and solicit opinion at the same
time. His claim to fame, a product of the survey, is the crosswalk
to be put at the base of the “rape trail” by the dorms.
Dahle is also pushing to hold USAC meetings in the afternoon and
office hours on Bruin Walk in order to make it easier for students
to find out and speak out about USAC. He said he also contacted
groups not involved in USAC, such as the ISU, to let them know how
to apply for funding in the future.

Funding by the tier, and donors Having the tightest budget on
council this year at just over $1,000, Dahle is out to trash the
current system for a new one. “The problem is the budget
review committee makes proposals that are totally arbitrary,”
he said. According to finance committee chair and internal vice
president candidate T.J. Cordero, who sponsored a multiple van trip
to Berkeley for fellow Samahang members, the allocations are based
on the quality of presentation and of programming. The problem is
that new or small groups do not get much money and cannot put on
“quality” programming, which makes it a Catch-22, Dahle
said. He wants to implement a tier system, which would give the
largest, most established groups on the top tier the most funding,
but at a flat rate. The groups at the bottom would be the newest,
with least funding, but would have the chance to move up the tiers
as they grow. Citing stagnant USAC funding the past several years,
Dahle’s also making a move to get USAC on the list of groups
to which donors may choose to contribute.

Stances on academic issues Dahle supports enrollment caps in
admissions since he feels priority should be placed on students
here now. Overcrowding makes it necessary, he said. The Hill is
busting at the seams, and students are forced to sit on the floors
of many classrooms ““ it’s just the beginning of Tidal
Wave II, the expected flow of 60,000 students to UC over the next
several years. He has yet to decide whether he supports the
semester or quarter system. If administrators are pushing the
semester system to get students out faster, he said he will oppose
it; if the semester is better in terms of retention, he will
approve it. Like most candidates, Dahle also approves of a
diversity requirement, which he would like to see focused on
ethnic, cultural and social justice issues.

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