Tuesday, July 23

2017 GSA candidate evaluation: Rebecca Katz

(Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)

(Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)

The graduate student government is holding an election for its executive cabinet Tuesday. The Daily Bruin editorial board interviewed each of the cabinet’s four unopposed candidates and evaluated their platforms for the coming year.

Despite a lack of student government experience, Rebecca Katz is a promising candidate for vice president of academic affairs. Her main goals for the office are to persuade administrators to ease restrictions on teaching assistant positions, increase departmental diversity and add more interdisciplinary courses for graduate students. These platforms have questionable feasibility, especially considering Katz’s inexperience, but her professionalism will still be a vast improvement over her predecessors’.

The board advises that she focus her efforts on easing restrictions for teaching assistants and investigating how UCLA can attract underrepresented demographics in its various graduate schools. While interdisciplinary coursework is part of a well-rounded education, students often experience it in their undergraduate careers. Its importance as a Graduate Student Association initiative pales in comparison to other issues facing graduate students.

Katz’s plans to use productivity tools to hold people accountable for these basic duties are both necessary and feasible, especially because past vice presidents have been unreliable and have failed to hold office members accountable for attending meetings and posting minutes in a timely manner.

Her marketing experience also increases the likelihood that next year’s graduate student government will connect with its constituents. Historically low voter turnout has shown how little engagement there is between students and their representatives. While Katz wants to focus on creating a relationship specifically between the UCLA Anderson School of Management and GSA, the board also urges her to prioritize the graduate student body as a whole.

Even if Katz is not able to make much progress on her ambitious platforms, she will be an improvement over previous vice presidents if she follows through on holding GSA members accountable for attending meetings and transparency. That said, her professional experience and interest in advocacy promise to advance students’ interests far beyond her predecessors’ efforts.

Visit this page to read the board’s full evaluations of all four GSA candidates.

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