Spring brings campus elections

Alma Sifuentes, Associate Vice Chancellor of Campus Life and Dean of Students (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

Spring quarter is always filled with myriad student activities and year-end celebrations.  Spring quarter is about preparing to finish the academic year, and it is also about transitions.  Students are preparing to graduate, and the campus is beginning to shift its attention to summer activities and getting ready to welcome new students in the fall.

Campus elections are a hallmark spring-quarter event. Each year, hundreds of students participate as candidates, as authors of proposed referenda, and as volunteers assisting with the process. Thousands of students will participate as voters!

Every election, students make critical decisions about undergraduate and graduate student leadership for the upcoming year. The Student Union Assembly and the Graduate Student Association put forth candidates for a variety of leadership positions, including chair and president, respectively; those who are elected assume their roles on July 1 and will serve a one-year term during which they act as principal spokespeople for the student body.

Utilizing an online electronic ballot administered by our colleagues in Institutional Research, students also vote on proposed campus-based fees. Section 80 of the Student Handbook gives students the authority to make decisions about taxing themselves for specific programs and initiatives. If a proposed campus-based fee or referendum is approved by voters, students pay that fee for the specified period of time. All referenda include a return-to-aid component, whereby 33 percent of the fees collected go to financial aid to help needy students pay the fee.

This year, there are three proposed fees on the ballot for undergraduate students, including:

•    Measure 61: CruzCare Access for All - Injury and Illness Health Center Fee
•    Measure 62: Athletics Operations Enhancement Fee
•    Measure 63: Amendment to Measure 30: Strengthening Access to Learning Support Services

In order to pass a new campus-based fee, a minimum of 25 percent of all students registered during spring quarter must vote on the initiative to establish a minimum voting threshold; of those voting, at least 65 percent must vote yes in order for the initiative to pass.

Voting this year will take place between May 12-18. All students who were registered as of the third week of spring quarter are eligible to vote.

For more information, including the full ballot language for the proposed campus-based fees or to review the 2015 Campus Elections sample ballot, please visit: elections.ucsc.edu.