We at the Undergraduate Students Association Council Office of the President would like to clear up some alternative facts by informing the student body about presidential appointments and about our ongoing work this year to better the system and create a more transparent process.
The USAC bylaws place an emphasis on speed due to the short term lengths of appointments. In order to give appointments a running start on their goals, our objective was to appoint all positions by the beginning of fall quarter so all trainings and orientations could take place during the summer. Every day during the academic year that an appointment is not filled is another day the student body does not have a voice among the administration.
Furthermore, the role of the Appointments Review Committee is to expedite the approval process during the council meeting itself, not during the search for potential applicants. By the time a potential appointee reaches ARC, they have already gone through extensive interviews and scrutiny by the presidential appointment directors.
The writer made an incorrect assumption about the number of applicants that each appointment received. Applicants were allowed to apply to up to three appointments. Appointments had five to six applicants each, with many of the stipended positions receiving more than 10. To receive even our 150 unique applicants took two months of consistent outreach.
While advertising the positions, we did not want to emphasize stipends because we believe that receiving a stipend should not be the primary reason for serving as an appointment. USAC positions should be based on serving the UCLA community, not on monetary compensation.
While we acknowledge the fact that the people who are involved in USAC spheres are most likely to apply to appointments, we reject the premise that appointments were made only in our personal circles. Social media allows us to reach countless facets of campus. Many of our current appointments had not previously been involved in USAC but found out about the appointments through Facebook groups such as “Free & for Sale,” which has 34,700 members, and the “Class of” pages, which collectively have around 39,000 members. Additionally, student leaders outside of the USAC sphere were asked to send information about applying to appointments to their respective membership.
We agree that the Daily Bruin should be critical of all USAC processes. However, this information needs to be accurate. The Daily Bruin has reported incorrect facts as well as misrepresented information about appointments in its articles. Only one committee failed to report updates by the Nov. 30 meeting; the other six had yet to meet. These six committees are scheduled to meet during winter quarter and their bylaws do not require fall quarter meetings. Moreover, these are not USAC committees, but are organized by UCLA administration. USAC has no control over when these committees meet, nor does it have the power to force a meeting.
As appointment directors, our goal is to ensure the process for appointing students is fair, unbiased and accurately represents the needs of the campus. We are aware that it is not a perfect process but would like to note that it has dramatically improved this year due to our diligence. We welcome criticism and discussion regarding how the process is being currently undertaken. If any student would like to contact us directly, our email is: [email protected].
However, to write submissions claiming nepotism without clarification of the process is irresponsible. We hope students who have genuine concerns bring them up to us so we can work to improve the process for the future. As student leaders, we should be striving to work with one another to build a better campus, especially at this time of federal instability.
Kohaya is a third-year psychology and Asian American studies student and is the USAC Office of the President’s appointment director.