A third slate will run candidates in next month’s undergraduate student government elections, after a year with only one slate and few contested positions.
Slates are groups of students that pool their resources together and run under similar platforms.
LET’S ACT! is a new student slate planning to run 10 candidates in the spring Undergraduate Students Association Council elections next month.
“The ‘LET’S’ means ‘let us’ and represents inclusion and the ‘ACT’ is about taking action,” said Mallory Valenzuela, a campaign representative for LET’S ACT!, a fourth-year Asian American studies and sociology student and last year’s president of Samahang Pilipino.
The process of creating the new slate, which is made up of Samahang Pilipino, Afrikan Student Union and other progressive student organizations and individual students, started after last year’s USAC elections, said Lawrence Turner, a campaign representative for LET’S ACT! and a fifth-year Afro-American studies student.
But the bulk of the work took place during winter quarter, said Turner, who is also chair of the Afrikan Student Union.
Members also refer to the slate as LA! because of its additional focus on the Los Angeles community.
The main goals of the slate are to focus on social justice, equity and inclusion at UCLA and the wider L.A. area, Valenzuela said.
The new slate shares some of its core values – affordability, diversity and community engagement – with Students First!, a slate that was a major player in past USAC elections but opted not to run candidates in last year’s elections.
LET’S ACT! members, however, maintain a separate identity from Students First!.
“We have similar ideologies, but we are not Students First!,” Turner said.
The largely uncontested USAC elections last year had some influence in the start of the new slate, members said.
“I think there was an absence of a progressive slate last year,” Valenzuela said. “If we’re not happy with something, then it’s our responsibility to do something about it.”
One of the 10 LET’S ACT! candidates running in this year’s election is current USAC External Vice President Lana El-Farra, who ran as an independent in last year’s elections.
El-Farra said she appreciated running as an independent candidate last year because it took away some of the divisiveness that comes with sometimes polarized slate politics.
“For me, I really saw that it is really beneficial to run with a group of people that understand a common vision – it makes a more productive and efficient USAC,” she said. “Although it’s been a really great year on USAC, I think we can push that a little bit further.”
Taylor Bazley, co-chair of another slate called Bruin Alliance that started recently, said he thinks LET’S ACT! will bring more competition to elections. Bruin Alliance is only planning to run two candidates in the upcoming elections, said Bazley, who is one of the three presidential candidates.
“It is really good that (LET’S ACT!) is running a slate,” he said. “With (Bruin Alliance) only running two (candidates), there wouldn’t be much competition with only us.”
Ken Myers, Bruins United chair, said he is excited to have multiple slates and many candidates involved in this year’s elections because it gives students the opportunity to choose candidates that closely align with their visions.
“I think this is going to be an excellent election with very close races,” Myers said.
USAC Election Board chair Dana Pede declined to comment on LET’S ACT! because the Election Board does not recognize slates.