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DASB presidential candidate debate Q&A12 min read
March 5, 2018
Khaled Haq and Lawrence Su are two of three DASB presidential candidates of 2018. The third candidate Jesus Pacheco was not present.
Why do you think you’re fit to be the president?
Khaled: “I have experience and leadership, I have experience within my own coalition, there’s equity that I’m fighting for. I’ve talked to a lot of people in HEFAS and VIDA and I kind of have a sense of who needs to be funded and what needs to be supported. We have a very powerful team of people I’ve worked with that I hope to build off of.”
Lawrence: “I have a lot of plans on what we’re going to change in DASB Senate… I really do try to talk to folks, see what needs to be improved… When you ask questions you spend more time listening rather than talking. You’ll make a lot more change and be able to better serve the community.”
What are your priorities as DASB Senate president?
Khaled: “I was actually on the finance committee and I got to see the budget, a lot of the shortcomings of our current senate and budget… [We need to] be able to bring DASB [Senate] to fill in those positions, fill in that funding and allow students to have the opportunities they’ve always had, be able to really make college place where you don’t only come here for grades… DASB is really here for the students, I’m committed to making sure everyone knows we’re working on their behalf.”
Lawrence: “One big one is certainly improving student involvement… One of the ways I can definitely improve more student involvement is increasing the number of events, increasing collaboration not just within DASB Senate, but between teachers, between ICC, between other clubs and hopefully really bring the student body an actual body as one. The second one is certainly improving the internal external workings of the DASB [Senate] within itself… there is such a great need in terms of training our new officers which also includes me at the same time… The next one is certainly improving relations between the DASB Senate and the students. There has been a lot of people who ask me ‘what does the DASB do?’ The fact that they have to ask me that question, we’re not doing our job… Certainly as president I will guide the entire senate… work towards that.”
What are the responsibilities of a DASB president?
Khaled: “Just to be able to identify the students problems and to fix them with whatever is necessary, whether that be through funding or awareness events or through other outreach or any other programs.”
Lawrence: “Article 4 Section 6 Part A lists all the responsibilities of the president. There are ten responsibilities under there, but the one that is most important is certainly representing the students… The next part is… setting objectives and goals for the entire senate… As president I want to make sure we achieve goals quickly and efficiently.”
Individual for Lawrence: Are you familiar with programs and organizations on campus? How can you best serve students as president?
Lawrence: “De Anza has a lot of programs, if you really look at the budget deliberations we get a lot of people requesting money. Being president I want to visit as many programs as possible, talk to the program coordinators so we can better judge how much money they need…”
Individual for Khaled: How do you think the college administration could better serve our LGBTQI students?
Khaled: “I am a queer student of color. We are going through some budget problems, one of the problems Lawrence mention is the JMRR, Jean Miller Resource room which is being defunded recently which is unfortunate. We’re going to have to come up with more ways… of reaching that population… Something we could do is keep our senate room door open for people who might need that place to have lunch and talk with one of us… We need to have more outreach as a DASB Senate. I know you mentioned not through funding, but we can work with ICC… we recently had a hate crime. What did Deejay Smith say on the interview? what was the one thing that stuck with you, well it stuck with me at least. He said if you are a minority, if you are an LGBT student don’t come to De Anza. That should affect every single De Anza student here, if there is an LGBT person saying they can’t come to the school and people like me should not come to the school that shocked me, I couldn’t understand why he said that. So it’s clear we need to have more opportunities for these students to come out, be social and be able to express their problems…”
Lawrence responding to Khaled: “When I went there [JMRR], it was certainly a cold room… there was no one going in… People coming in there, and as Deejay has said, ‘don’t go to De Anza.’ Now, my opponent has said why… Quite frankly it’s safety… If we cannot have more policeman, if we cannot install… extra security cameras, [have] better lighting, because if you’ve ever been to De Anza at night, you don’t feel safe. Whether or not you’re part of the LGBT community and in those areas I believe we can definitely help students feeling more safe… Having more events as I specified before, not just diversity day. One of the suggestions they recommended me was bring back the conference, the queer conference they had before, it was a great success, but because of budget cuts they’re not able to have that anymore. Hopefully as president I’ll push for bringing back that conference.”
Khaled: “You just mentioned security cameras and better lighting… In terms of providing that, DASB [Senate] actually really can’t turn on the lights or they can’t put security cameras on the thing, but the way DASB [Senate] can go about doing that is pushing senators… to go to shared governance meetings. Shared governance meetings are so important… it’s actually one of the most important jobs of DASB [Senate]. It’s basically where DASB [Senate] and admin, the institution of the school… come together to discuss topics that affect all of us … One thing we had in this last senate was [that] not a lot of senators went to their shared governance [meeting]. That is problematic. Most of the reason actually isn’t the senator’s fault, and it’s this lack of communication between admin and the DASB [Senate]. It’s this lack of infrastructure between senators… and… admin.”
Lawrence: “I do understand it’s not in DASB [Senate]’s jurisdiction to be able to install cameras. You’re not going to see any current senate installing cameras for ourselves… we are going to push more, call it lobbying, going to these shared governance committees, because at the end of the day we are representatives of the students and since it is universally agreed there should be more safety, it only behooves of us to actually go there and talk to admin.”
How will you ensure that the DASB Senate will be a less toxic working environment where everyone’s ideas will be heard?
Khaled: “I support a senate that everyone can feel comfortable being a part of. . . In terms of differing opinions, dissenting opinions, etc., there are some times where I’ve seen people kind of get emotional, overreact to these things and y’all always have to keep professional even though you don’t agree with most of the problems. So that’s one thing I would stress to the senate.
Lawrence: “I didn’t know about the senate before and when I asked questions about how is it, I’ve been told it was quite toxic. But, when you actually come to these committee meetings, it’s not that bad. A lot of folks, we really do communicate our ideas and we do work together and we can keep on pressing that forward…”
Do current political issues in the U.S. as well as the world matter and affect the DASB [Senate]?
Lawrence: “College campuses are known for really lots of political movements. The millennial generation is known to be one of the most activist generations out there. . . You just look at the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida… there was a CNN commentary that said, ‘do you honestly believe that 17 year olds can go up there and start a rally, to make any change?’ and I find that just astounding because did they prove them wrong…”
Given our current political climate, what could you do as president to counter the hateful rhetoric?
“To a certain extent, all political views should be allowed… In terms of DASB president, my job is to support the student body as a whole. I can have my own personal political leanings, but I can’t silence a specific group of people… The key word[s] is stay neutral and providing an atmosphere in which it is safe and people are able to express their beliefs…”
How do you feel about the current immigration policies that affect students here at De Anza?
Lawrence: “I’ve talked to HEFAS and… they need more support… I asked the officers of HEFAS, ‘has any of the senators came by to the office and talked to you about what we can do?’ and she said no… although we are not AB540 students, can you imagine… having to go to school in fear of being deported… I was watching this documentary… and one visually described it as returning back to the shadows… they’re fleeing a lot of pain and misery back there [in their country]. If their home country is the shadow, then that means America is the light… as president, [I] want to keep that torch lit.”
Khaled: “Completely agree with DACA students [receiving more support]… I was in San Francisco… and I was going down this graffiti lane… the phrase, ‘this is not the dream,’ [was written]. This sort of persecution for being undocumented… this is not the dream… we are here at DASB [Senate] to help support that American dream… During the budgeting process on finance committee, I was very adamant on keeping HEFAS’ budget stable…”
Individual for Lawrence: How will you promote diversity at this school when you coalition is only inclusive to those with your identity?
Lawrence: “This is actually how our coalition was formed. It was in the [first] general meeting and whoever was there, I wanted them on my coalition. Mainly because they took the time to show up to the first meeting. They showed interested and that says a lot. It’s a good sign that these folks are really dedicated. . . You don’t have to be the same color. . . the same religion or the same sexuality to represent the students. If you listen to those people with different perspectives, with different backgrounds, and you have it within your heart to fight for them. . . I think you can do your job equally, maybe if not better than a candidate that comes from the same background.”
Do you have any leadership background?
Khaled: “I’ve gone to Spanish-speaking volunteering clubs, where I’ve had to speak Spanish with families in order to help them out with groceries… I was a policy intern at MPAC, Muslim Political Affairs Council… I had to manage meetings, I had to make sure that people connected… I’m also a [DASB] senator.”
Lawrence: “I will admit I don’t have such an impressive resume… but one thing that really separates me is one of those soft skills that we tend to forget. The sympathy and listening of your constituents at the same time…”
80 percent of the campus is considered low-income. What is your plan to do outreach to these people?
Khaled: “We have programs like Food Pantry program. We need to market that way better. We need to put more funding into that… Whatever DASB can do in its power… it will do what’s in its power to help these people… In terms of food pantry program, we have a great program running there. It’s a widely unknown program too. Like people can’t take advantage of the program because they don’t know where it exists. That’s one job of DASB [Senate] is to make sure people know what’s going on and where…”
Lawrence: “My family has been to food banks before. We lived in San Francisco, coming here as immigrants, we weren’t able to afford some of the food here… I know how it feels and sometimes it’s a little bit shameful… I want you to be out there, talk to these people tell them, ‘Yes, I’m here to listen; not here to judge.’ Yes, we can definitely promote the food pantry, but how about the events. I want to show you guys you aren’t alone here…”
What will you do to highlight the importance of student government and get more people involved?
Khaled: “It’s so difficult to get more people to vote is because voting is not that accessible. . . For the Eco Pass. . . it was so hard to get people on their own to go and vote on their computers. We had to go out there and petition… as well as provide the computer for people to go on and vote for… Any means possible where people can access this voting portal online… is what DASB [Senate] should do.”
Lawrence: “I think we need to look at the bigger picture. A lot of the folks when I talk to them, they don’t even know what DASB Senate does… Sometimes, they don’t understand the importance of what DASB Senate does… that is what we need to improve… when we show them we have a vested interest in [them]… they’re going to want to vote.”