Filipino student activists win seats on UCLA Student Council

Students First! victorious

Students First! and SERVE take most elected seats; Bruins United wins more general representatives

Students First! won a decisive victory in this year’s undergraduate student government elections, winning seven out of 11 contested seats in an election with the highest voter turnout in recent history.

Students First! retained the office of the presidency, both vice presidential positions, one general representative seat and three of the commissioner positions.

The Practicing Leadership and Empowerment to Develop Growth thru Education referendum passed by a margin of 52 votes.

Bruins United candidates reacted to the election results with an overall somber tone, though the three Bruins United candidates who were elected said they were excited to serve in their respective offices.

“I can’t lie that I’m happy that I won. I’m glad to be able to sit on council and serve students,” said Addison Huddy, a Bruins United general representative-elect.

Two of the contests were won by very slim margins: In addition to the narrow PLEDGE victory, Bruins United candidate Tim Mullins defeated Students First! candidate Karli Santos by only seven votes for the position of facilities commissioner.

Megan Ward, the unsuccessful Bruins United candidate for external vice president, said she ran on issues that were bigger than herself.

Ward added that she was looking forward to working with the three elected Bruins United councilmembers.

Asked what she might have changed about her campaign, Ward said, “I really wish that the Daily Bruin had better coverage.”

Huddy said he thought that the media coverage negatively affected the Bruins United election results.

“The student body should hold the Daily Bruin accountable for what it writes,” Huddy said.

The SERVE candidates, who ran for the three traditionally independent commissions, won all of their seats. Two of those seats were uncontested. Bruins United won two general representative seats and the position of facilities commissioner, one more seat that it won in the previous year’s election.

Most of the Students First! candidates won by comfortable margins in an election that saw a voter turnout of 38.9 percent, or 9,715 students.

Cinthia Flores, the USAC president-elect, said she was surprised at the election results and anticipated serving the university next year.

“The results show that people in the community were engaged in this election,” Flores said.

Lucy Wu, the SERVE candidate for the position of student welfare commissioner – which was contested for the first time in nine years – handily defeated her Bruins United opponent by 12 percentage points.

“I am in a state of shock,” she said.

Shahida Bawa, the internal vice president-elect, said the Students First! margin of victory was due to the work they did to bring in new communities.

“We built a strong coalition and people came together to support us. I’m exhilarated,” Bawa said.

Thach Nguyen, who also won a general representative seat for Bruins United, said he had not thought he was going to win.

Regarding the election results for the other Bruins United candidates, Nguyen said he felt their losses were not fair.

“I’m going to have to make up for that and represent what they believe on council,” Nguyen said.

SOURCE: UCLA Daily Bruin, May 8, 2009.

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