USAC 2023-2024 Candidate Debates: Transfer student representative
Pictured are Thyra Cobbs, Samy Kohateb and Oseas Garcia, from left to right. Cobbs, Kohateb and Garcia are running for Undergraduate Students Association Council transfer student representative. (From left to right: Courtesy of Thyra Anastashia Cobbs, Courtesy of Samy Kohateb, and Courtesy of Oseas Garcia)
May 4, 2023 6:34 p.m.
Three candidates for Undergraduate Students Association Council transfer student representative attended the first of the USAC 2023-2024 Candidate Debates on Wednesday.
The USA Elections Board and the Daily Bruin co-hosted a series of debates beginning at 7 p.m. between candidates in the upcoming USAC election. Three candidates are running for the position of transfer student representative.
Current Transfer Student Representative Thyra Cobbs, a fourth-year African American studies and history transfer student, said she was running for reelection to provide access, inclusion and holistic wellbeing for transfer students. Cobbs was appointed to the role in January following the resignation of the previous transfer student representative.
She also said she hopes to provide professional development and encourage partnerships with the Mother Organization Coalition, a group of student organizations representing historically marginalized students.
“I recently got $100,000 to support transfer student programming,” Cobbs said. “I’ve used this to support the mother orgs, I’ve used this to support commuters, former foster youth transfers and also transfers with dependents. … Next year, I hope to increase institutional support for the TSR office, which would lead to better support for transfers in general.”
Cobbs said there is a lack of institutional support for transfer students, despite their strong presence at UCLA. She added that she hopes to provide better funding for transfer student admit weekends, pointing to difficulties securing funding for historically underrepresented groups’ admit event weekends.
Although no other USAC office currently has a director of transfer relations, Cobbs said she hopes to lobby for other offices to include this as a staff position.
Oseas Garcia, a third-year history transfer student, said he felt groups such as veterans, formerly incarcerated students and student-parents were not talked about enough at USAC.
Garcia said he would aim to unite the student body by bringing in more students to testify on decisions USAC makes. He added that he believes it’s important to have a new voice in USAC and the transfer student representative position.
“I would like to continue working with Thyra, but at the end of the day, it’s all about bringing that new voice, putting someone there and just being able to bring the voice of this regular student,” he said.
Samy Kohateb, a third-year history transfer student, said he hopes to encourage a larger representation of transfer stakeholders in USAC. He added that he felt there should be more direct communication between transfer students and the TSR office.
Kohateb also said the office needs to work closer with other offices at UCLA to improve transfer students’ experiences.
“I want transfers to become included in this UCLA environment and hope that they become excited to come here,” he said.
Students can vote in the election on MyUCLA starting Friday at noon and ending May 12 at 2 p.m.