The Undergraduate Political Science Association hosted a forum for ASUC Senate candidates to present their platforms in front of the general undergraduate public Tuesday night.
About 24 candidates attended, and each was given approximately two minutes to deliver a brief summary of their platforms and answer questions. This is the second year that UPSA has hosted this event, which had a very good turnout both of candidates and of undergraduate students, according to UPSA President Kathleen Tierney.
UPSA hosted the event in order to provide a way for the undergraduate population to see all of its senate candidates speak about their platforms in person together, according to UPSA Communications Director Elizabeth Wells. Tierney added that it is the only space during the elections seasons in which all of the ASUC Senate candidates will be available for questioning by undergraduate voters.
“We’re going to provide an opportunity to create a more informed ASUC voter base and especially to have a time to see the candidates all next to each other,” Wells said.
The forum lasted an hour and a half, and candidates from the three largest political parties on campus — Student Action, CalSERVE and SQUELCH! — attended, as well as a number of independent candidates.
According to some of the candidates present at the forum, this year’s event was attended by more voters than last year’s.
“It was only the candidates last year. UPSA did a better job of marketing it this year,” said Student Action senate candidate Divya Vijay. “It was a better turnout than I was expecting, so I’m happy about that.”
Many of the voters who attended said they felt that it was a good idea to meet all of the candidates and see them in person. Campus freshman James Delgado said that it was useful, as a voter, to hear their platforms as well as the life experiences that motivated them to form their platforms.
After the forum, a few candidates talked with each other, and many expressed enthusiasm for their future endeavors in the ASUC together, should they be elected. CalSERVE senate candidate Juniperangelica Cordova emphasized how important it is for the candidates to be able to see how everyone’s platforms reflect off of each other.
Tierney and Wells both said they thought that the forum was successful, noting that there was a large turnout of senate candidates and that the presence of different parties allowed for a larger discussion to take place afterward.
“You had representatives from each four of the parties and they were all talking and in support of each other, and it was largely because of UPSA that provided that opportunity,” Tierney said.
ASUC elections will be held April 10, 11 and 12.