Ryan Gilani is a candidate for ASUCD Senate in the Fall 2009 ASUCD Election running as an Independent [who dislikes slates].

Candidate Statement

Why am I running for office?

I very much want to be a senator. I don't really have many friends and the truth is I don't need many. I'm extremely social but what I like for the most part is to listen and take action. What I want is to be able to help people. That's just what my nature demands of me. This is why I need to be at the hub and either provide answers and solutions directly or have the resources at my disposal to get it done. As a senator I'd be there doing that, working hard for the students and enjoying it.

I genuinely desire the chance to represent students. For me this is a sincere and necessary impulse, I'm a little eccentric but fundamentally contemplative. I've spent my life observing and considering, trying to understand the way the universe, the human mind, and the social construction of our lives interact. I don't expect to make a fortune with the sociology and political science degrees I'm working towards, but I couldn't possibly be satisfied with other majors.

For me being a senator is a way to use what I've observed and bring some small amount of what the world can be in to the reality of what it is. I don't think I can change everything, or even that I'd have the right to do it, but I can make a little difference, and with your help I will.

I will have free candy and eagerly observed office hours. I want, truly want, to hear the concerns and ideas of students. I'll read the E-mails I get, listen to anyone who comes to talk, and serve your interests. In turn I want more than your vote. If that's all you have to give, that's fine, but what I need to become the senator I want to be is the involvement of the voters.

Why Vote For Me?

There are 22 members of the senate (12 voting) a president, and even a court that reviews our legislation. I have the utmost respect for the senate members I've met, and for many of the candidates running this time. I fully intend to listen and learn from the commission chairs and senators who are staying on. No one candidate can run roughshod over the others and get his agenda realized. This is why I'm hesitant to really put forward an ambitious platform.

What I can do, what I need to do to deserve your vote is to:

  1. Convince you that I do sincerely care enough to make the sacrifices necessary to be a great senator

  2. Show you that I'm capable of understanding the issues

  3. Illustrate my values, so that if yours differ you can either try to convince me that I've erred, or at the least we can share a workable level respect.

  4. Tell you of the plans and concerns I have so you can contribute to them or constructively disagree.

My priorities

Caveat – There is no precisely quantifiable way of expressing priorities in the way I'd like, more than that definitions differ so much that this ranking system should only be understood as a tool to help you see how I see my priories. Ex: To a man with no considerations of the environment it would seem that every little sacrifice indicates environmental considerations driving my priorities, for a naturist the opposite would appear true. I believe however that most students can get a feel for what I'm saying by just putting me in your shoes and sending me a little in the directions I indicate here.

I'm a reasonable person with an agreeable philosophy, and a balanced perspective, but rarely are perfect alternatives available, sacrifice is always there. As a voter you have a right to understand what I value the most:

  • The standing of our school: The value of our education is what I consider my strongest obligation to maintain preserve and enhance. If the world comes to value a UCD degree slightly less as a result of actions taken by ASUCD I will consider my tenure as a senator to have been a failure. I'm reasonable enough not to sacrifice everything for this, but every time this is a concern I consider it my duty to proceed with the utmost caution. Correctly or incorrectly I assume that this is the highest priority of the students based on the sheer price we pay to be here. I don't particularly care if something embarrassing happens to the University president, but I will do anything I can to keep our rankings high.
  • Accurately represent the students: Being near the center of ASUCD policy I'll have more access to information than most students. At the same time even those with the same level of information are likely to be different in character than the student body at large, if for no other reason that whatever spurs the students around me to be closer to the center of action is not shared with by a significant majority of students. I'll do my best to do what's in the best interests of the students while being mindful of what everyone would have chosen if our government was a more direct democracy. When I feel a policy is needed that lacks popular support I will go out of my way to make my rationale known.

For now this is how I rank the priorities of the students:

  • Quality of education – as described above
  • Well being of the students – the services that provide a real direct benefit to students
  • Extracurricular Opportunities to learn – clubs, organizations .etc
  • Environmental sustainability – pursue a zero-waste goal for events as much as reasonably possible – increasing the number of volunteers to offset more wasteful aspects with more labor intensive and cleaner ones; when perfectly beneficial alternatives are not available or appear too costly.
  • Fun events; The Buzz, Picnic Day; the things that make college awesome and are desired but not completely essential.

Should students indicate a different order my actions as a senator will reflect a reevaluated ranking scheme.


The Economy:

With jobs so scarce one of the best ways to improve your resume is to volunteer! And with our budget so thoroughly mangled expansive projects can't be expensive. I'd like to help students volunteer more for one another. I know a volunteer job won't exactly pay the bills, but when more jobs become available your resume will look better. And while you're here you'll have a better time, both for what you give, and for what we'll all receive by the increased student involvement. Did I mention that some ASUCD volunteer work comes with a stipend? Yup, you could easily make 10-15 dollars a week with a lot of hard work and enthusiasm!

-I'd like to put the a tab for volunteers/ASUCD openings on Aggie job link.

The new printing policy:

30 pages is a joke. A full time student would have to carry around a their own personal tree to keep under that allotment. I’ve heard that this program might disappear entirely. I’d like to try to rework it a little. A printing fee would essentially come straight out of your student account rather than tuition. This won't save students anything, it just seems like a way to pretend that the costs to students aren’t there by not counting them. I’ll talk with my fellow senators and see if we can’t salvage the policy, perhaps at a reduced rate up to a certain number of pages. As long as the incentive is strong enough to keep us keeping count, the policy is bound to be good for the environment. The only concern I have is that students might receive a marginally worse education by erring on the side of conservation over more convenient resources. Otherwise, I'd rather reduce hedonism -however desired, than

Not enough indoor seating at the MU when it Rains:

This is a temporary problem, but I'd like to see if we can do something about it. We can't just toss in a bunch of chairs willy-nilly, that would be a fire hazard. Maybe we can look in to erecting a little temporary outdoor structure over some of the tables facing the quad on days forecasts indicate it might rain.

No microwave in the silo:

This is a cheap problem easily (and cheaply) remedied. I'd have to know the exact arrangements we have with the vendors in there though. It may be that we are contractually prohibited from putting one in. If not, I'll personally get a free microwave off of craigslist if I have to. If we can't put one in I'll consider alternative locations; people shouldn't have to walk all the way to the MU to reheat their coffee, or warm up a snack.

Old Ratty Art Building and Slashed Drama Budget:

The truth is, that I have no idea how to fix these problems. If we have a UCD student who is related to someone famous; invite them to come for a show and maybe we can embarrass the university in to fixing it up. I like the feel of the art dungeon, but I'd wager having all of classes in it would be a tad depressing. If Morgan Freeman wrote a little article about how talented the kids here are and what a shame it is that the University maligns them so, something might actually get done. As for me, short of a sustained impassioned student body push, it is unlikely I could bring about much of a change there. We're a research University, that's what the bigwigs care about. If you'd like to help organize a little movement by all means you can expect help from me, if you have ideas that won't cost much I'd be overjoyed to look in to them, but as things stand there really isn't much I can do for now. ps. Professor Faris is the brother of Anna Faris, if you have his ear you might want to give it a try, but tell me before hand so I'll know to delete this before he feels harassed.

TAPS, Extending Hours

A very detailed complaint was given to me about how for some students the TAPS hours just don't work. Unfortunately I had no way of taking appropriate notes and a very valuable rant was lost. Apparently some classes start after six, when parking becomes scarce. Additionally I received a request for more 20 minute parking areas. I'll talk with some people about this, but I definitely can't make any guarantees. Something we might try though is making certain parking places reserved for professors reserved for students past a certain time. Again, this is just a suggestion, when 11 other senators and the fine folks at TAPS have their say it might turn out that there's nothing to be done, or something completely different that we need to do. All input and expertise is welcome. The more precise the needs are that get expressed the better I can work on getting them met.

Invite Cocoa Cola & Pepsi to Picnic Day.

I'm not exactly sure how everyone will react to this sort of flagrant commercialization, but I think its a pretty great idea. Give Pepsi maybe 1/4th of the quad, give coke 1/4th. And have a Soda Wars. They can compete to have the a better area, which means more fun things for us, and it'll all be free. Wouldn't it be nice to have a Pepsi Barbarian and Coke Warrior jousting it out on an inflatable jousting ring? People can decide which side to fight for. At the end of picnic day we could even give a little trophy to the winner of a vote based on their areas. If it becomes a tradition, all the better. Good PR for them, free drinks and games for us, particularly if they get competitive. This idea has not been run by the Cocoa Cola or Pepsi Corporations, nor even the picnic day chair or UCD. I'd rather try as a senator than just some random guy. It could save ASUCD thousands to not have to subsidize a significant portion of the event.

Sustainability/zero waste

I don't want to sidestep the issue, but I would like the people who are adamant about this important topic to be involved with our major events. I can't promise anything, but if you have more environmentally friendly alternatives that won't cost too much, I promise you my ear. But its your expertise I need, not your ideals, I have those too, its getting them in to action that I want.

Small Potatoes?

Unabashedly so, I don't want to make promises I can't keep. Until I'm actually there, talking with the senators and committees, as well as those working in the various services that may be cut, replaced, or enhanced, nothing can be certain. Even then I'll be one vote in 12.

I hope that after reading this you believe that I care, will work towards bettering the campus, and can fight for ideals that you and I share in a real way. Thank you, and whoever you vote for, as long as you vote, you win.


For those of you who saw the debate I think a little clarification is in order:

For the Bloodsource Question: They don't ask for virgins, they don't discriminate between people with low risk and people with normal risk. If they're desperate for blood, they should be willing to accept what they consider higher risk blood but label it as such. To turn away donors for such a small increased likelihood smacks of stigma. I have high cholesterol and that didn't make them turn me away. Whoever received my blood has a higher chance of stroke or heart attack. African Americans have a tremendously higher chance of having the bug, but again, they have no worries there. To me this is worth taking a stand for. If they want us to give up our blood we have a right to expect them not to turn away people who are willing with absolutely no recourse. There are ways to manage the risk if that's really their objection.

On How I value the printing policy: I did say essential, and I shouldn't have. I meant that it's a program with inelastic demand that, if effective, gives us a slightly better than 1:1 return. So it should be one of the last things we cut. or disable beyond practicality as has been done.


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2009-11-09 22:45:44   I thought there was a microwave in the Silo? Anyway, I like your moderate stances and lack of overblown promises. —hankim

2009-11-10 08:20:23   Both microwaves are fixed, I wonder how long it will take a bright undergrad to put some metal into it —StevenDaubert

2009-11-10 10:44:24   Yeah, I wouldn't want to make promises I couldn't keep, and I wouldn't want to make huge changes without consulting everyone involved, so for now I dream small —GreatRyan

2009-11-10 10:47:27   Good luck with that.

"The best case against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter." —hankim

2009-11-10 11:43:21   http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,99945,00.html

Still, we sink or float together, if we don't at least try to lift 'em up we have no one to blame but ourselves when they drag us down. —GreatRyan

2009-11-10 11:46:40   Which is why I advocate a smaller government, so that people have less power to drag others down. —hankim

2009-11-10 17:38:51   I heartily endorse Mr. Gilani and his independent ticket

I'm Daubert, and I approved this message. —StevenDaubert

2009-11-10 17:55:38   Man, did they reduce the printing limit again? It was 200 pages when I got to Davis. Thirty is total bullshit. At least CSIF has a different limit. —BrentLaabs