When Student Action party members proclaim “every student, every year,” no ASUC voter should expect that each individual candidate represents that mantra. Rather, the party strives to fulfill its slogan by running a diverse slate of individuals from across the UC Berkeley community. Even so, Student Action was right to drop freshman Andrew Kooker from its senate ticket for his disparaging comments about students studying certain campus majors.
In a series of November 2011 Facebook posts, Kooker asserted that some UC Berkeley degrees are worth more than others and that liberal arts students will never make it into the top 1 percent of American society. While his words may not offend some communities on campus, they do alienate a large swath of students. By dropping sponsorship for Kooker, Student Action avoided damaging its image as a party with an allinclusive goal.
Kooker has since apologized for the posts and plans to run as an independent candidate for senate. His public admission of previously holding “ignorant” and misguided opinions is commendable and should be mimicked by other politicians, both on campus and in the real world.
Ultimately, though, the furor over Kooker’s past statements highlights the political and social reality every member of our technologically connected generation must remember; Web comments will not simply be lost in the ether, and even the most offhand, half-hearted Facebook messages have the potential to become a modern-day “gotcha” soundbyte.
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