Saturday, June 23

USAC divided on election code reform

The undergraduate student government president plans to propose getting rid of the official elections endorsement process, a move that goes against the Election Board’s own proposal for election code reform.

Undergraduate Students Association Council President David Bocarsly attended the USAC Election Board meeting Wednesday, asking the board to take up his proposal to do away with the official endorsement process for the spring USAC elections.

The board plans to present its own proposal to limit the endorsement process to club signatories to USAC for a vote next week, said Dana Pede, USAC Election Board chair.

The election code reform proposals aim to address loopholes that were abused last year during the endorsement process, which led to several false student group endorsements.

The differences between the election code proposals hinge on Election Board oversight. Bocarsly said at the meeting that he wants to eliminate the board’s regulation of the endorsement process, instead allowing student groups to endorse candidates freely in a non-official capacity through avenues like flyers and social media. Citing past experiences as a candidate and student involved in the election process, Bocarsly said the official endorsement process -– which involves an endorsement hearing and a two-page advertisement with the student group endorsements in the Daily Bruin -– creates more problems than benefits.

“There are things you would lose out on by getting rid of endorsements. I am not saying that there is no harm done by getting rid of them,” he said at the meeting Wednesday. “But, I think the benefits outweigh the cons ten- or even twenty-fold.”

He said he thinks the endorsement process is too much time and extra work for both the Election Board and candidates.

Several Election Board members, however, said they would be concerned about the lack of oversight if groups could endorse on their own without the traditional board-regulated process. But Bocarsly said he doesn’t think more problems would arise.

Brett Chalabian, a first-year biochemistry student and Election Board investigations committee member, said without the endorsement process, students wouldn’t have a centralized location to view student group endorsements.

The discussion often turned heated between Bocarsly and members of the Election Board, specifically Eena Singh, Election Board vice-chair and last year’s chair. Throughout the meeting, Bocarsly said he doesn’t think student groups value the endorsement process, which sparked a debate between him and Singh.

Singh asked Bocarsly if he thought he could speak on behalf of the more than 1,000 student groups at UCLA.

“I can, because I was elected to do so,” Bocarsly said in response.

Singh and Bocarsly went back and forth about Bocarsly going forward with his alternate proposal without the Election Board’s support.

“You appointed Election Board as an entity to decide what we think is best for elections and the school,” Singh said. “But you are presenting a proposal that is against this entire board and you are saying the council is going to reject our proposal, (so) then what is the point?”

Bocarsly acknowledged that he appointed the Election Board, but held strong to his argument.

“I very much respect all of you, but I don’t have to agree with you,” he said. “And just because I appointed you, doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything you decide to do.”

Bocarsly said he plans to draft and submit his proposal to the Election Board by the end of this week. The board will then propose both Bocarsly’s proposal and its own side-by-side on Monday to the Constitutional Review Committee, a subcommittee of USAC, before the council votes on the proposals on Tuesday. The Election Board can give its recommendation to the council about each proposal, Pede said. Any change to the election code must be approved by a two-thirds vote in USAC.

Email Beck at [email protected]

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  • Get rid of em

    I don’t see the points of endorsements. They are a simple formality that does absolutely nothing. Everyone who goes already knows who they are voting for, making these so called “hearings” completely pointless. Come on, how can election board not see that?!

    • BU = Power Trip

      Written by an ignorant Bruins United person, or even the oh so special David Bocarsly himself

      • Ignorance…

        Great non productive comment by a pessimistic observer. What do endorsements hearings do that are good? Have you ever had to sit there for 5 hours and listen to them? Share your thoughts on the article/issue rather than making this about politics.

  • Honest

    Endorsements are packed with loaded questions that make all candidates look bad. I don’t see the point if student groups are already committed to a certain party and the people there aren’t learning anything.

    • Different approach

      Yeah but people can see the questions are loaded and I dont think hold much weight. I sat through the one last year and the loaded questions just made me think poorly of the candidate it supported.

  • Hate the Bully Pulpit

    Look, I don’t care about the endorsement process. It can be taken out or kept for all I care, but I do have a problem with a president who is willing to take the pulpit and try to bully an independent body into doing what he/his party seems to want. This seems like the political equivalent of a child who cheats at a game, gets caught doing it, and then decides that the game is stupid and thinks the game shouldn’t exist. Say what you want about the endorsement process, but Singh is right. The Election Board is appointed to propose ways in which to make the election code better, not to be bullied by council members into doing things that those individuals want.

    • Good point

      Amen to that, Bocarsly lost a lot of my respect today

      • rebecka

        AGREEEEEED !!!!

  • Common Sense

    Its not about the endorsement hearing its about having all the endorsements in one place so that people can see where clubs and communities they like stand on certain candidates. Its not for the clubs its to convey information to students. Besides you don’t think that getting rid of them would not be a disaster for campus climate during elections and cause a lot of fighting? The partisian elected officals should stay out of the process and let the people who are supposed to be non partisian figure it out. How can you propose whats in the best interest of the campus when you are personally affected by the results, of course that factors in…

  • Broken System

    The point of endorsements is for the student groups to have their voices be heard. Any system that creates barriers to entry, like the current endorsement hearing system, should be removed. Allow the student groups to voice their opinions when, how, and to the extent that they want to. Slates & E-Board shouldn’t even be involved. Look at UC Berkeley’s system or Michigan’s system, those school don’t even allow endorsements. UCLA’s system is a joke.

    • Confused

      First you say that there should be no barrier to entry, and that student groups should be able to freely express their voice without restriction. Then you compare UCLA’s system to other schools’ systems in which groups cannot endorse at all. Which one are you advocating in the end?

  • Hold the Phone

    why appoint E-Board and then not use them? CRC should be the ones to determine what’s best after both proposals are presented to them by E-BOARD!!!! And all members of CRC should be present. They need to determine a time when all four members can be present because they balance each other out in regards to political affiliations. I, as a student who have followed USAC elections and news, am not comfortable having Kim Davis (a moderate and voice of reason in my opinion) left out of the conversation because of scheduling conflicts.

  • Not hard to figure out…

    So Bocarsly and his slate, who are under scrutiny already for at least looking like they were posing as different clubs during endorsements last year, decide that they should completely remove Election Board from this process and make it even easier for slates to pose as different clubs through flyering? I mean it’s the logical conclusion. If it only took me 10 minutes to figure that out, then you can bet that someone from BU, SF, or any other slate has figured it out as well.

  • Someone’s on a Power Trip

    “I can, because I was elected to do so,” Bocarsly said in response.

    To Mr. Power-Trip President: You were not elected by the student body. You were the only choice, so by default you were ‘elected’. You are uncontested figure-heads, who now hold a majority on our Council table. You are making decisions that benefit your party, like all politicians. As an independent I hold no respect for a Student Body President that cares more about creating a lasting legacy for himself, than the integrity of our campus.

    • Easy from the sidelines

      Anyone could have run for president, but nobody stood up.
      It isn’t his fault that he was unopposed by an independent/SF candidate.

      Instead of attacking the political process, why not join it and make the change yourself?

      • insider

        I am not from the sidelines. I am part of these meetings every Tuesday. See you in April.

      • also an insider

        Thats not fair to say necessarily. We created a culture of student politics where two slates run and independents don’t have a chance against the huge amount of resources, organization, and friend power that a slate brings. How were independents suppose to know that SF had collapsed and that they could have a voice and a chance had they run. It was a miracle we had even one…

  • Class of 2012

    1. how many groups can honestly say they (a) send their own groups members to represent them in the 5+ hour endorsement hearings? and (b) care to ask questions that are relevant?

    2. if groups do care about endorsements, why cant they organize them on their own? A lot like say Bruin Democrats do (or at least used to when I was in school) They can contact all the candidates running for office themselves and set up times and actually spend their time constructively deciding who to vote for.

    3. And then if people care so much about disseminating the information to the wider student body, they can arrange with the Daily Bruin to publish their endorsements. Or use social media.

    The system is clearly broken and David Boacrsly is trying to do something about it. He may not have the perfect solution but it’s far better than the apathy currently being shown by the e-board and those that oppose any change to the status quo.

    • Class of 2014

      Apathy? I don’t know how you can say that when E-Board has worked so hard, put on fourms, and is now proposing to take on MORE work. Its not like they are proposing the easy way out for themselves…

  • You can’t have it both ways

    Sometimes I wish the Daily Bruin would write unbiased articles instead of constantly attempting to slant the student body against those who choose to try to make a difference in the school.

    Daily Bruin notes that nobody wants to run for USAC. Maybe that’s because Daily Bruin is so constantly negative and belittling that nobody in their right mind would want to be victim to such defamation and insult. If the DB really wants USAC to be able to make a difference on campus, perhaps they should consider stopping the assaults on its credibility.

  • Honest

    I don’t understand the hooplah about USAC (and David) trying to go over E-board’s head. Look at this — “Bocarsly said he plans to draft and submit his proposal to the Election Board by the end of this week.”

    He’s working within the system to make a change. He’s not doing this unilaterally. He’ll submit his proposal and and if E-board likes it, they’ll accept it. If they don’t, they won’t.

    He’s doing what any interested party should do.

  • No More Pointless Hearings!

    Endorsement hearings are a joke. I get that E-Board might want to centralize a system for clubs to officially endorse, but asking clubs to sit in four to five hour hearings where they get to ask ONE question that a candidate may or may not respond to directly (since there are no follow up questions) is just ridiculous. Sitting through hours of candidate sound bites and loaded questions from student groups is enough to make anyone hate elections and all of USAC. If student groups really didn’t know who they were going to endorse and wanted to hear a candidate’s views, they would reach out to candidates and ask them more than one question. I don’t see why E-Board can’t just reach out to student groups and ask them if they would like to endorse a candidate. They could still have a centralized endorsement system without the horse and pony show joke of endorsement hearings.

    • Involved…

      Thats exactly what they are doing. You can send an authorized substitute, so anyone in the club or a friend or even a BU, SF, or TB supporter, im sure they would be happy to supply your group with one. The idea is that there is a fourm for candidates, especailly independents to be heard, thats why they also have meet the candidates the day after, incase you want to know more about them

      • More Informed…

        No….Actually you have to fill out your endorsements immediately after the endorsement hearing concludes. So if you have follow up questions or want to speak with a candidate, you can, but it doesn’t do much good from an endorsement standpoint since by the time they have “meet the candidates” you already had to submit your endorsements. Also, why do I (or an authorized substitute or anyone) need to sit through hours of questions I don’t care about that are clearly planted? The endorsement hearings themselves have no purpose. E-board could still have an endorsement process that eliminates the pointless “forum” and allows student groups to meet with candidates and discuss issues that actually matter to their own group.

        • Bazley

          Actually no, you will be able to turn it in through Friday. A lot will turn it in right after the endorsement hearing because they have heard enough to make a good decision, but not everyone. I have talked to Eboard and listened to their proposal, I know. I partly agree that the obligatory nature of the endorsement hearing may not be necessary but recognize that without that, independents would have virtually no chance against the organization of established slates.

          • Confused

            Are independents not capable of reaching out to student groups on their own? If they aren’t, I would question their ability to work with student groups in the future

          • Not Superman…

            Haha, you are a fool if you think one person can reach out to hundreds of student groups and thousands of students. The SOL branch of the IVP office has 12 directors who each have 2 fellows and have been working the entire year to do that, and still more out reach could be done. Its not fair to expect that from one person, or that person and a small team of friends assisting that candidate. It requires infrastructure to be able to do all of the things needed for a candidate to win

          • Reality Check

            Yes, but hundreds of groups don’t show up to endorsement hearings…less than a hundred do. And the ones that do show up are usually affiliated with a slate, so the thought that endorsement hearings give independents a “chance” doesn’t make sense. Student groups go to endorsements because they support a specific candidate or slate and intend to endorse them.

  • Student Org

    “I can, because I was elected to do so,”

    You definitely ran unopposed, and you definitely don’t speak on my behalf #getyourlife

  • BruinsUnitedReform

    IMPEACH DAVID BOCARSLY! It’s not a hard process to do so!

    • REALBruin

      lol agreed !!!

  • Are you serious

    As someone who still believes that there are a few (literally, only a few) smart and campus-oriented elected people on USAC Council, I am really hoping that they step up against Bocarsly’s proposal despite their slate affiliation and who they’re friends with. Sure, there are things about the endorsement process that aren’t efficient, but the principle of it is still crucial – especially for a student government who is already criticized of inaccurately representing the student voice. And David, if you really want to leave a legacy, start fixing things instead of coming up with temporary solutions that open the door to even more problems.

    If this makes it to USAC Council on Tuesday, please tell me there are more than 4 people (out of 13) that still care about doing what’s best for the student body.


    WOW David way to represent the whole UCLA. I hoped that you’d be different. If you think as a student my voice as a representative of an organization won’t be heard then think AGAIN !