USAC adds transfer student representative position to ASUCLA Communications Board
Kerckhoff Hall houses the Undergraduate Students Association Council and Associated Students UCLA Student Media. USAC approved a bylaw change that adds a one-year term reserved for a transfer student to the ASUCLA Communications Board. (Ashley Kenney/Photo editor)
Oct. 21, 2021 2:10 p.m.
This post was updated Oct. 24 at 11:26 p.m.
Editor’s note: This article mentions the Associated Students UCLA Communications Board, which oversees student media outlets at UCLA, including the Daily Bruin. However, editors at The Bruin maintain editorial independence from the board.
The Undergraduate Students Association Council added a transfer student representative position to the student-majority board overseeing the campus’s student media.
On Oct. 5, the council approved a bylaw change to reserve a seat on the Associated Students UCLA Communications Board for a transfer student to serve a one-year term. The Communications Board amended its constitution earlier this year to add the position.
The Communications Board is a student-majority board composed of representatives from the university, alumni and faculty that supervises student-run media outlets at the university, including the Daily Bruin. The board oversees the UCLA Student Media department, providing training, facilities and financial management.
Because the USAC constitution requires the Office of the President to make appointments and the council to approve them, the new representative will be selected by the USAC transfer student representative and appointed by the president, according to the bylaw.
Although the transfer student representative cannot directly make the appointment, Herman Luis Chavez, the USAC transfer student representative, said the language of the bylaw ensures that the president must appoint the person they select.
“The true power of this bylaw is that it allows there to be a formal transfer voice in ensuring that the representation and practices of student media reflect the needs and experiences of the transfer community,” Chavez said.
He added that his office is in the process of reviewing applications and interviewing candidates, and USAC will vote on an appointee in the coming weeks.
Chavez said the university’s student media outlets, including the Daily Bruin, have historically not been representative of the transfer community. He added that The Bruin has not interviewed enough transfer students about issues affecting all students.
He added that transfer representation and coverage in student media has improved since the Transfer Leadership Coalition and the Office of the Transfer Student Representative sent a letter to the Daily Bruin, highlighting some of The Bruin’s rhetoric and practices that were not inclusive of the transfer community.
Joshua Roizman, a former member of the Communications Board, said he started conversations to add a transfer-specific position to the board after The Bruin implied that USAC transfer student candidates’ experience did not qualify them for USAC office.
“I strongly felt … that if the institution didn’t set up the opportunity for transfer representatives to be there, then it wouldn’t happen,” Roizman said.
Since transfer students make up about one-third of the student population, Roizman said they need to be represented on the Communications Board.
Chavez said he hopes the new position will hold Student Media accountable for including transfer perspectives.
“Our genuine hope is that … there will always be a transfer student voice on the (Communications Board) that can hold the Daily Bruin and UCLA Radio and all of our amazing news magazines accountable for supporting and reporting on the transfer community,” Chavez said.
Andrea Gambino, a graduate member of the board and a doctoral student in the School of Education and Information Studies, said the board wanted to give transfer students the opportunity to serve a one-year term, rather than the two-year term that other appointees serve, because they have an abbreviated experience at UCLA when compared to first-year entry students.
“It’s important to continue to create space for transfer students on campus,” said Breeze Velazquez, USAC president and a fourth-year public affairs student. “(Transfer students) only have two years … to network and create opportunities for themselves, so I think (the new position) is very necessary.”
Although the new position is reserved for a transfer student, Chavez added that USAC’s other appointments to the Communications Board can also be transfer students.
Gambino said the Communications Board aims to better represent transfer students and all groups on campus.
“Our focus is making sure that Student Media is representative of different identities and perspectives on campus,” Gambino said. “It is our goal to always strive toward improving as an inclusive organization.”
Velazquez said student organizations must prioritize giving a voice to historically underrepresented students at the university. She added that it is important for transfer students to have the opportunity to hold leadership roles and advocate for themselves on campus, rather than having an ally speak on their behalf.
“That every space needs to continue to grow and expand. … It’s not necessarily only (the Communications Board),” Velazquez said. “Different spaces … have historically not been representative of the entire student body.”
Contributing reports from Maanas Oruganti, Daily Bruin senior staff.