Student Focus II is a code-name to the revived Student Focus slate. Due to Student Focus' respect for transparency and history, the new Student Focus will be represented here rather than the other. Regardless of whether or not Student Focus meets the definition of a slate, it will exist as an advocacy group to make sure that students are served and served right.
Critics, friends and all can view the history of the party here.
Village Elder : Greg Webb
Statement from the Village Elder:
Over my time in ASUCD I have been both a supporter of and an opponent of the LEAD slate. In the Winter 2008 election I endorsed Ivan Carrillo to become the President of ASUCD, even endorsing him over my very good friend Joseph Bleckman. I cannot refute the good values that LEAD stands for, many of which I happen to support myself – through community service and activism with the Democratic Party. Since the fall of any regular opponent I have naturally become more critical of the failures of LEAD. Where you are the sole party voice, you are the sole responsible party.
I believe that LEAD has failed to even live up to the seven goals it so proudly declares in its mission statement. I will address each goal with criticism where LEAD has not lived up to its word:
LEAD has done much to protect and promote cultural diversity on the UC Davis campus. They have supported, both financially and in attendance of various retreats and programs. Their support for funding programs such as the La Raza Cultural Days despite budget issues is admirable. Unfortunately LEAD has used intimidation to aid the demise of an actual opponent in elections. In the pursuit of a diverse and welcoming campus, LEAD has failed to acknowledge that it has inadvertently threatened those who wish to become involved with student government and exiled those who already have. In the pursuit of protecting cultural interests, LEAD has stifled political discourse in the name of protection – a very dangerous idea for a learning institution.
LEAD has actively promoted social justice ideas that I share. I spoke it favor of some of LEAD’s most important resolutions, such as the one to support to plight of the Sudexho workers. Additionally LEAD has been friendly to the concept of a living wage in Davis. LEAD has a good record for social justice issues but it is not perfect. During the 2008 election cycle, some LEAD members spoke unfavorably to a parcel tax to fund public schools in the wake of a fiscal crisis. And while the goal of helping students pay for college is admirable, the concept of granting young an education fit for a shot at a college education is a social justice issue in my opinion. Additionally LEAD has in the past threatened a human right of freedom of speech which I believe should be defended.
LEAD has been excellent in promoting good policy with regard to the environment. Many positive moves have been made in various ASUCD units to improve the environmental sustainability of the campus. Much of this positive change can be attributed to overall student concern for the environment and not LEAD itself. Additionally, LEAD has not practiced good environmental policy in the pursuit of becoming elected. Until recently, LEAD used glossy fliers, which contain harmful chemicals.
Student Quality of Life:
Funding for student groups has been on the downside since LEAD has taken power. Though LEAD admirably defended mental health units during the last round of cuts, the University was going to protect them anyway. Recent LEAD elected officials are threatening to get rid of blood donations, which in my view threatens student health.
LEAD has failed to live up to many of its definitions of reform. With regards to integrity, look no further than broken promises and the Chad Roberts scandal. With regards to transparency, the website is never updated, and recorder positions were cut in the last budget process. See below link for the lulz:
LEAD has also come short with regards to outreach with the OA still struggling to find legitimacy in a place other than on paper. LEAD has not promoted access to their student government, as it has blocked the passage of allowing members of the public to ask questions of its appointed officials.
Although LEAD has been fairly consistent in advocating for good student policies with regards to University Policy, it has presided over endless fee hikes and cuts to student services. Additionally, former LEAD senators have spoken out against past LEAD presidents as being too friendly with the chancellor.
Unfortunately, the external advocacy elements of ASUCD have been too occupied with the interests of the rent-collectors and not the rent-payers (students). Additionally, student turnout has remained low. However, LEAD’s support for Lobby Corps is admirable and a positive step in the right direction.
In conclusion, LEAD has not been terrible for the student body. These concerns are very small; there exists no vast student government conspiracy. However, in an environment with little opposition it is important to call LEAD out when they have failed to live up to promises and ideals it says it represents Such calls have been made during the past quarters, but the rejoice of the opposition waning may have left those calls to be unheard. Student Focus will remain vocal in opposition so that LEAD does not stray too far from a student government that truly represents the students of UC Davis.