A new slate that had initially planned to run candidates with LET’S ACT! will contest several positions in the upcoming undergraduate student government elections.
Slates are groups of students that pool together their resources and run under similar platforms, much like political parties. A total of 30 candidates are running for office this year – nearly double the number of candidates that ran in the Undergraduate Students Association Council elections two years ago.
The new slate, FIRED UP!, is composed of various community-oriented and cultural organizations such as the Vietnamese Student Union, the Pacific Islands Student Association, American Indian Student Association and the Asian Pacific Coalition, said Anh Nguyen, a fourth-year global studies student, campaign representative for FIRED UP! and the president of the Vietnamese Student Union.
Nguyen said that various organizations, including the Vietnamese Student Union and the Asian Pacific Coalition, had plans to collaborate with the LET’S ACT! slate this year and run candidates together.
But the Vietnamese Student Union, among other organizations, decided to form its own slate after members felt that members of LET’S ACT! did not accurately represent certain student groups on campus during their selection for candidates, she added.
Tyler Cherry, a third-year political science student and a LET’S ACT! campaign manager, declined to comment on whether internal conflicts among groups prompted the newly created FIRED UP! to dissociate itself from LET’S ACT!
Some members of FIRED UP! said that theyfelt like their concerns were not being properly addressed by members of the LET’S ACT! slate, said Uyen Hoang, a fourth-year international development studies student and director of the Asian Pacific Coalition. Hoang ran for Academic Affairs Commissioner under the LET’S ACT! slate last year.
FIRED UP! is comprised of various organizations that had initially been part of Students First!, a slate that formed two decades ago and stopped running candidates in 2012.
Over the years,Students First! underwent a series of name changes, at one point calling itself Student Empowerment!.
The LET’S ACT! slate began forming in 2012, after Vietnamese Student Union, American Indian Student Association and the Pacific Islands Student Association left the Students First! coalition because they said that they felt excluded from the slate.
Some students have drawn parallels between Students First! and LET’S ACT! because of common goals that the two slates share, such as increasing affordability and diversity.
Last year, however, a campaign representative from LET’S ACT! told The Bruin that though their slate shares similar platforms with Students First!, the slate maintains a separate identity from Students First!.
Ana Davalos, a third-year Chicana/o studies student and a campaign representative for LET’S ACT!, said that the LET’S ACT! slate is not divided among group lines and is generally comprised of “progressive students committed to social justice and the community.”
FIRED UP! aims to promote diversity and community involvement, said Nguyen.
Nguyen added that the new slate plans to help increase resources for student organizations at the university and address the current campus climate. The name stems from members’ hopes to get students “fired up” and enact change within student government, she said.
“We must speak out for communities who do not have the resources or the ability to say (what they’re frustrated with),” Nguyen said. “We aren’t content with where our school is at, we are not content with administration, and we are not content with USAC.”
Nguyen said that she disagreed with this year’s council several times, including when councilmembers chose to increase their stipends over the summer when most students were not at school. She also did not agree with the allocation of $78,500 in surplus funds for councilmember initiatives.
After more than 100 students showed up to protest the surplus fund allocations in January, councilmembers decided to return the money they had initially allocated to their initiatives.
Elections will run May 6-8 and students can vote online through MyUCLA.
Update: This post was updated to include the Pacific Islands Student Association and American Indian Student Association as two of the student groups supporting the new slate.