The Political Climate at UCSB
By Stephanie Pande
Unigo Campus Rep at UCSB
UCSB is a highly politically active campus. In fact, we have more registered voters per capita than any other university in the nation according to the United States Student Association. Our campus definitely swings to the left. Last year there were many demonstrations for international, domestic and local issues, ranging from the war in Iraq to the redevelopment of our community, Isla Vista. It is already evident how active the students will be in the coming year and during the election. In only one weekend, the Associated Students Board recruited 3,000 people to register to vote, which is the most successful recruitment on the UCSB campus so far, according to the ASB President, JP Primeau.
The biggest issues surrounding the upcoming election on campus would probably have to be the war, abortion rights, gay marriage, and funding. President Primeau said of his most important issue, “I would hope that the next President supports the institution of higher education across the country. I would also hope that the next president supports increasing federal financial aid.”
The federal financial aid is a big issue for college students, especially because UCSB is a public school and so many students rely on that money for our education. In fact, the Communication Director for the UCSB Democrats, Patrick Donahoe (4th year), said financial aid is one of their biggest issues to face in the upcoming election. Donahoe is concerned that, “Students aren’t receiving their student loans. The 700 billion dollar bail out will be added onto our nation’s debt and will have a long-ranging impact on our lives and children’s lives.”
Similarly, the UCSB Republicans, which is a much smaller club on campus, have their own concerns about the economy. One member, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed her main concerns relating to the presidential election, which included “Union wages for employees on campus, terrorism, and communism versus capitalism in the economy”. Obviously, people on both sides of the spectrum are concerned with our nation’s economic challenges.
Despite having the most registered voters per capita of any campus, there are still many groups trying to increase voter registration including the Democrats, Republicans, Associated Students, and non-partisan recruiters. Besides getting students to register, the Democrats are volunteering at phone banks for Obama and local democrats every night. The Republicans are also helping to support the Santa Barbara Republican Committee, and hope to, “Present a conservative alternate viewpoint; not a one-sided biased opinion.” It is evident that there are students from all different back grounds and political ideals and values working to influence the upcoming election, and make a difference on our campus and across the nation.