Bruins oust USAC President, pass transit referendum in 2023 election
Students react to the announcement of the 2023 Undergraduate Students Association Council election results. (Kyle Kotanchek/Daily Bruin senior staff)
This post was updated May 14 at 10:05 p.m.
The 2023 Undergraduate Students Association Council election saw the highest voter turnout since 2020, with students re-electing three incumbents and ousting President Carl King Jr.
The USA Elections Board announced results Friday night. Nearly a quarter – or 23.03% – of the undergraduate student body voted in the election, totaling 7,113 students.
This year’s election consisted of 40 candidates running for 15 positions, as well as one referendum. Cultural Affairs commissioner was the only office that was uncontested, and all candidates ran as independents except for six students who ran under the United Bruin Movement slate.
The Universal Access Transit Pass referendum overwhelmingly passed with 93.35% of votes in favor, increasing undergraduate student fees by $3.30 per academic quarter to fund an unlimited-use transit pass for Los Angeles public transit for all undergraduate students. It was the first referendum to pass since 2020, which saw the Good Clothes Good People Basic Needs referendum raise student fees by $0.99 per year.
Naomi Hammonds, a third-year psychobiology student, won the USAC Office of the President with 55.9% of the vote. She served as a general representative this year.
“I’m just so glad that this is over, but I’m so ready to get the work started,” she said.
King did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jeff Van, a spokesperson for the official campaign group in support of the referendum, said he was excited that the referendum passed.
“Not only did we get the turnout we need, we had the first successful referendum in three years,” said Van, a third-year environmental science student. “But I think most importantly, we were able to get all undergraduates unlimited rides on public transportation, and that’s a big f—— deal.”
The candidates played a large role in inspiring voter turnout this election season, said Anna Bulis, the chair of the USA Elections Board.
“I think they were super enthusiastic and really passionate for their campaigns,” she said. “I think that helped a lot.”
Sara Broukhim, a third-year cognitive science and political science student, will be the Financial Supports commissioner for a second year after receiving 75.70% of the vote.
She said she looks forward to continuing the work she has done this year and focusing on transparency and off-campus meal plans.
“I have a great, amazing support team, and I’m really excited for the work that we have to do for next year in supporting our students,” she said.
Chia Ying Wong, a second-year English and education and social transformation student, won the position of Community Service commissioner. She said she felt honored to be given the chance to expand community service efforts at UCLA, and is excited to begin enacting her plans for the position.
“I have so many ideas planned out for the next year, and I’m very excited to work with student groups to uplift all their efforts in community service and to continue engaging students to be involved in social justice efforts,” she said.
Jonathan Valenzuela Mejia, the incoming general representative 3, said he looks forward to listening to student voices in his work.
“I’ve been involved in USAC for three years, and I feel like this is the perfect way to culminate my senior year – bringing all of my experience … together within a position that I’m able to do action directly,” he said.
UBM was the only slate that ran in this year’s election, and one of its six candidates, Adam Tfayli, a first-year biology student, won.
Tfayli will be the next international student representative. He said he views this as an opportunity to help international students.
“It gives me an opportunity to both advocate for and support international students on different levels,” he said. “I’m really excited to be taking on the role.”
Winners of other positions did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
USAC Election Winners
Naomi Hammonds – President
Megan Law – Internal Vice President
Eva Jussim – External Vice President
Katie Pool – General Representative 1
Gabrielle Lasry – General Representative 2
Jonathan Valenzuela Mejia – General Representative 3
Sujana Sridhar – Academic Affairs Commissioner
Mason Miller – Campus Events Commissioner
Chia Ying Wong – Community Service Commissioner
Alicia Verdugo (incumbent) – Cultural Affairs Commissioner
Evan Curran – Facilities Commissioner
Sara Broukhim (incumbent) – Financial Support Commissioner
Jennis Kang – Student Wellness Commissioner
Thyra Anastashia Cobbs (incumbent) – Transfer Student Representative
Adam Tfayli (United Bruin Movement) – International Student Representative