Friday, May 29

Bruins United president leads majority independent council

Claire Fieldman, a Bruins United candidate who was elected undergraduate student government president, won the seat with 2,604 votes. (Grant Mooney/Daily Bruin)

This post was updated May 4 at 7:52 p.m.

A Bruins United candidate secured the president position for the fourth year in a row.

This year’s election featured 39 candidates running for nine contested positions, composed of 19 independents, nine Bruins United candidates and 11 candidates from three new slates.

Three out of the nine candidates who ran with the Bruins United slate won in this year’s Undergraduate Students Association Council election, securing the positions of president, general representative 2 and transfer representative.

Next year’s council will consist of three Bruins United members, nine independents and two For the People candidates. No candidates from the Leaders Influencing Tomorrow and Candidates Operating Clearly slates won positions.

Voter turnout in this year’s election was 26.5 percent.

Claire Fieldman, the Bruins United candidate for president, said she feels humbled with her victory and cannot wait to serve the student body.

“I can’t wait to work with all the other new council members next year and I can’t wait to make really productive and really positive change,” the third-year English student said.

Many of the elected candidates surrounded themselves with their supporters as they celebrated their victories.

Robert Blake Watson, a second-year political science and economics student and an independent candidate who won the internal vice president position, said he will work to make the council more inclusive.

“For years now, the IVP’s position hasn’t done much beyond its roles of setting agendas, if they even do that,” he said.  “I want (the office) to be for students because that’s what the position was designed for – for students to interact with administration and to work with student organizations.”

Some elected independent candidates said they are glad their campaigning paid off.

Jamie Kennerk, a third-year political science and communication student and an independent candidate who won the external vice president position, said the campaigning was exhausting because of the large number of candidates who ran this year.

“This election was a hard and stressful experience, but I had a lot of great supporters,” she said.

Ayesha Haleem, an independent candidate who was elected to general representative 1, said it is financially harder for independents to win in elections, but she hopes this election will encourage more people to run in the future.

“I cannot believe I won (because) independent campaigning is hard without a lot of resources and finance,” the third-year political science and international development studies studentsaid.

Sarena Khasawneh, a For the People candidate who ran unopposed for Cultural Affairs commissioner, said she thinks the election was very stressful despite running uncontested.

Khasawneh, a third-year political science and an Arabic culture and language student, added she thinks the election is like a popularity contest, in which students vote without considering the candidates platforms.

“I think the election needs to be restructured because in the end, it’s the minority students who don’t have resources that suffer,” she said. “We already don’t have enough resources, and we are spending that on election instead of other things.”

Candidates who lost said although they were not elected, they will continue their advocacy work.

Helen-Sage Lee, an independent candidate for general representative and a third-year human rights and technology student, said running in this year’s election gave her a chance to share her own story and she is excited to see what the next year council will achieve.

“This journey never began with USAC and it won’t end with USAC,” she said.

Ashraf Beshay, a fifth-year biology student who ran for president as an independent candidate, said that although he is not sure how he will be involved in campus politics in the future, he is glad the international student representative referendum passed.

“I’m hopeful all the candidates will be working for their communities,” he said.





Claire Fieldman (Bruins United)

Internal Vice President

Robert Blake Watson (Independent)

External Vice President

Jamie Kennerk (Independent)

General Representatives

Ayesha Haleem (Independent)

Bella Martin (Bruins United)

Eduardo Solis (Independent)

Academic Affairs Commissioner

Nidirah Stephens (For the People)

Campus Events Commissioner

Alley Madison (Independent)

Community Service Commissioner

Bethanie Atinuke Sonola (Independent)

Cultural Affairs Commissioner

Sarena Khasawneh (For the People)

Facilities Commissioner

Julia Ho-Gonzalez (Independent)

Financial Supports Commissioner

Jay Manzano (Independent)

Student Wellness Commissioner

George Louis Faour (Independent)

Transfer Student Representative

Jessica Kim (Bruins United)


International Student Representative Referendum



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