The graduate student government’s election for its executive cabinet will continue until Tuesday. The Daily Bruin Editorial Board interviewed each of the five candidates and evaluated their platforms for the coming year.
This board endorses Eric Hu as vice president of internal affairs for his extensive experience advocating for graduate student issues at both a local and a system-wide level.
Hu’s work in the Graduate Students Association and the University of California Student Association proves he has the know-how to achieve his platforms and fulfill an executive role in the association. As the current events director, he has hosted successful social events like “GSA GradBar” with laudable turnouts, demonstrating he can make good on more ambitious plans for biweekly socials and networking events that bring together graduate students from different departments.
In addition, as the UCSA academic affairs officer, Hu advocated for international students, including sponsoring a resolution that will be voted on this week, which would create an international student affairs officer in the association. In light of the UC Board of Regents’ decision to raise nonresident tuition last month, and the growing uncertainty over immigration policy under President Donald Trump’s administration, advocating for international students is critical.
Hu was also involved in the current GSA’s support of the Westwood Forward coalition, which aims to create a new neighborhood council to better represent students and Westwood Village. Hu spoke at town halls and served as a liaison for UCLA medical professionals who live in Westwood. Westwood issues will remain prominent next year, regardless of the results of the May election over the new council, and it is important the graduate student body elects GSA candidates who are already well-versed in these.
Graduate students’ cost of living has also been a big topic this year, and Hu’s platform to continue current efforts is apt. Hu plans to advocate against rent increases in graduate student housing and for an expansion in free transit passes for graduate students. Both of these goals, however, involve negotiations with the administration, which are not always successful. If elected, this board urges Hu to develop alternative solutions to those issues if the university turns out to be intractable.
Hu has the background and qualifications for the job of vice president of internal affairs. GSA has transformed over the years from a sleepy student organization to an organized advocacy machine, and Hu fits the mold of the active, engaged leader the graduate student body needs in the association.