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USAC 2024-2025 Candidate Debates: International student representative

Kerckhoff Hall, where the Undergraduate Students Association Council offices are hosted, is pictured.(Daily Bruin file photo)

By Shaun Thomas

May 9, 2024 10:06 p.m.

Two candidates for the Undergraduate Students Association Council international student representative attended a debate Thursday.

The Elections Board and the Daily Bruin co-hosted a series of debates between candidates in the upcoming USAC election. Two candidates are running for the position of ISR: Syed Tamim Ahmad, a second-year physiological science student, and Reagan Scorpio Lee, a third-year business economics student. 

Ahmad – who is from India and has lived in multiple countries – said if elected, he will represent all communities by advocating for academic success, diversity and specialized mental health resources that cater to the international community. 

Ahmad said through serving as a resident assistant for Rieber Hall, he has noticed separation anxiety among UCLA’s international community. He added that he has noticed a stigma in some cultures around reaching out to get specialized and multilingual support for counseling. 

Lee said he agreed with Ahmad about making sure that every student is heard but that he believes the best way to do so is through an international student council, an idea he said he started as the senior director of non-traditional students in the transfer student representative office. 

“Instead of having an international legislative council, we should just reach out to students, have open office hours and post town halls to ensure that every single resource is being provided to the international community,” Ahmad said in response to Lee. 

Lee also said he wanted to make it easier to get funding, something he said was difficult in and out of the office. He added that he wanted to fight for an increase in the USAC budget allocated to the ISR office. 

“There’s going to be a budgeting team,” Lee said. We’re going to ask for more budget at that time, and then during that time, when we’re going to the school years, there’s going to be surplus budget.”

Lee also said students need to be supported, and that without USAC experience, Ahmad might not be able to adapt to the new position. 

In response to Lee, Ahmad said the office needs someone who can “turn visions into reality.” He added that he has experience representing international students by collaborating with the ISR office and Bruins Around the World.   

“UCLA has failed to protect campus safety,” Lee said in his closing statement. “When UCLA cannot protect us, your fellow Bruins can protect you.”

Students can vote in the election on MyUCLA starting Friday and ending May 17.

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