Vote Nandagopal in the
April 8, 2004
The UCSD Guardian Online
After three days of voting, the general election is over.
Time to vote again.
In the runoff election, our first choice for A.S. president, Steve York, has
been eliminated, and the remaining combatants are Students First! candidate
Harish Nandagopal and independent candidate Jenn Pae. Nandagopal is the most
effective of the two, and deserves the support of UCSD undergraduates in the
Although Nandagopal focuses on off-campus issues more than we would like, he
has made an attempt to be more inclusive this year. His efforts to include
groups traditionally ignored by the slate show that despite his fiery rhetoric,
Nandagopal does believe in uniting the campus and bringing people together. He
has expanded Students First! to include the Greeks, and his platform even calls
for reaching out to the College Republicans during a planned voter registration
drive. While he is an outspoken political liberal and a progressive activist on
campus, he still cares about issues facing the average student: Triton Taxi,
concerts, athletics and, above all, diversity.
Next year’Äôs A.S. Council will face a $175,000 shortfall, regardless of who
becomes president. Nandagopal has a plan, albeit an intimidating one, to show
students the reality of what would happen with such cuts. He wants to pass two
versions of the A.S. budget ’Äî one that incorporates a proposed fee increase to
compensate for the cuts, and one that does not. Students would see their
favorite clubs and events getting cut, and understand the reality of the
situation. No other candidate has such a realistic plan. Nandagopal’Äôs telling
it like it is: Things will be cut unless fees are raised.
And that’Äôs one of his most attractive qualities ’Äî unbridled honesty.
Where other candidates traipse around an issue or seek to avoid controversy,
Nandagopal says what he believes. In that respect, he is very similar to York.
There is no doubt that Nandagopal would be open with his constituents. In
one-on-one encounters, he is charismatic ’Äî even if his public persona is
sometimes off-putting. Nandagopal has the knowledge of the campus necessary to
get things done. He knows about every nook and cranny of UCSD, every backdoor,
every opportunity available for students to fight for their rights. He knows how
to negotiate with administrators and work with them, but, in his words, he will
’Äúnever work for them.’Äù
Pae is also an approachable personality, and has a full resume of leadership
positions, but lacks the foresight and concrete plans of Nandagopal. Her past
experience ranges from Vice President Internal to student representative of the
UCSD Chancellor’Äôs Search Committee, and Pae recently captured Triton Athletic
Council’Äôs endorsement. She has competently chaired this year’Äôs A.S. Council
meetings, but those meetings have not yielded much change in the campus
Campaigning on a platform of sincerity, integrity and ambition, Pae alludes
to the problems UCSD faces, but is quite vague on what the solutions are. Pae
does not approach the position with as much visible excitement, thought and
planning as Nandagopal.
Nandagopal was one of the few qualified candidates on the Students First!
slate, and he deserves to be elected A.S. president.
The runoff system gave students a chance to vote for independent candidates
like York. Next year’Äôs implementation of Instant Runoff Voting will be even
better for UCSD democracy.
York must remain involved. There is an open senior senator position on Muir
College Council, and MCC chair-elect Billy Lieberknecht should seriously
consider the eloquent York to fill the seat.