Jalesha and Jerri campaign for affordable, accessible campus

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Photo Credit: Eddie Gaspar

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of Student Government executive alliance candidate profiles before the election on March 2 and 3. Read the rest of the profiles and submitted columns from all of the candidates here.

Executive alliance candidates Jalesha Bass and Jerri Garcia are running for student body president and vice president as first-generation students looking to make UT economically accessible.

Vice presidential candidate Garcia said they plan to create a second collaborative floor in the Perry-Castañeda Library, find a more affordable class ring vendor, make transcripts and credit transfers free to students, and tackle food insecurity by expanding the UT Outpost and reducing the cost of dining halls.

Neither Bass nor Garcia have served on Student Government, but Garcia said that helps them bring a different perspective to campus issues.

Presidential candidate Bass, a journalism and communication and leadership junior, said she was motivated to run when she had issues with Capital Metro buses coming to Riverside during finals season in fall 2019. 

Social work junior Garcia said the campaign aims to make transcripts free. Official transcripts currently cost $20 each. 

“Free transcripts are something that we really want to fight for for every student because these are our grades at the end of the day,” Garcia said. “We should be able to access it as much as possible.” 

Garcia said the campaign wants to convert a floor in the PCL to another collaborative commons similar to the fifth floor because many campus spaces are not group-friendly.  

Bass said she attended a low-income high school and did not plan on attending college until she discovered she was ranked fifth in her class.

“When you don’t have to live with the issues that you’re fighting for every day, then it’s easy for you to sort of bypass them or be OK with not being able to completely solve the issue,” Bass said. “But when you have to deal with those issues every day, when you have close friends that are dealing with those issues every day ... I have to fight for it.”

Garcia said he wants to see representation for students experiencing hardships at UT. Garcia said he and Bass bonded over the barriers first-generation students face in college.

“We can build a UT with everyone in mind,” Garcia said. “(It) doesn’t matter what background you come from. We want to represent students like you, and we want to address issues that affect the whole student body.”