Over past decade, Greek system candidates dominated ASUC presidential elections

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If you want to be ASUC president, join the Greek system.

Nine of the last 10 presidential winners of the ASUC general elections came from social fraternities and sororities, while the other was endorsed by the president of a Greek council. This year, the presidential candidates from the strongest student political parties are both in fraternities — a rare occurrence.

Student Action candidate Connor Landgraf is a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and CalSERVE candidate Andrew Albright is a member of Sigma Epsilon Omega, a gay fraternity. Other presidential candidates also have connections to the Greek community.

Landgraf and Albright said they want to represent the entire campus, not just the Greek community.

Still, that community can help mobilize large groups of students and advertise individual campaigns or party slates.

In a previous interview, Landgraf said “the Greek community will be very important” for the election. All four executives slated for Student Action this year are in the Greek system.

When asked about the role of the Greek system in campaigning, Landgraf reiterated his party’s mantra — that it aims to represent “every student, every year.” He said most Greek-affiliated Student Action candidates also represent other communities.

Albright said CalSERVE did not consider his Greek affiliation a major factor when choosing him as the presidential nominee, but he added that the community will be beneficial in getting votes and that CalSERVE “has never tapped into that.”

“We’ve had difficulty running people in the Greek system,” Albright said. “It is not one of our main bases.”

Despite its strong presence in ASUC elections, the Greek system makes up only a small portion of the student body. A spring 2010 campus report showed 2,644 students in the Greek community, about 10.2 percent of the campus population.

Yet running Greek-affiliated candidates has proved successful in the past. Of the last 10 candidates slated for president by Student Action, seven were confirmed members of a Greek house. They all won.

The three Student Action candidates unconfirmed as members of a Greek house — no data could confirm their Greek affiliation — lost each election to CalSERVE candidates, two of whom were confirmed members of campus chapters, while the other was endorsed by Greek community members.

The last time both parties had Greek system candidates was in 2009, when Student Action candidate Will Smelko won over CalSERVE’s Oscar Mairena. In 2005, Student Action candidate and Phi Delta Theta member Manuel Buenrostro won over CalSERVE candidate and Phi Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority member Justine Lazaro.

Once in office, former ASUC Auxiliary Director Nadesan Permaul said candidates’ actions did not reflect their Greek affiliations. Permaul said in an email that he “did not see any particular preference or lack of support for the Greek System when compared to other initiatives or concerns advanced by student government” during his five years as director.

But other presidential candidates feel that the Greek system is unfairly dominated by Student Action.

SQUELCH! presidential candidate and current senator Noah Ickowitz — who pledged a fraternity but never joined — said students in the Greek system were limited by only having Student Action representation.

“I think Student Action taking the title of UNITE Greek does a disservice to the Greek system,” Ickowitz said, adding that this makes the Greek system part of a political party instead of a constituency.

Independent presidential candidate and Pi Kappa Alpha member Brad Mosell said he felt the Greek system has held an advantage in election campaigns because it becomes a centralized location for campaigning.

“It isn’t like it’s 60 people that are all best friends — there are subgroups,” Mosell said. “(But) on election day, you can get … subgroups to vote.”

Chloe Hunt is the lead student government reporter.

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  • Vinit Sukhija

    I’ve always been a little bit weary of the relationship between ASUC candidates and the fraternities/sororities of which they are a part, mostly due to the “informal polling stations” they set up during the actual election. While not explicitly against the By-Laws, these stations don’t contribute towards the actual democratic process.

  • Captain Prucha

    I feel like this article should have juxtaposed the statistic about 10% of students being involved in Greek life with the percentage of the student body that actually votes every year…. Because if, say, only 20% of students vote, then we assume half of the voting body is part of Greek.. And then we can make all kinds of assumptions about why we see the decade-long trend this writer points out.

  • Guest

    Seriously, if Student Action doesn’t depend on Greek houses for its money, then just tell us how can you spend $500 per executive candidate and $200 for senate? 

  • Annoyedatthedailycal

    ya this is pretty dissapointing that the emphasis isnt on the positive impact that the greek community has on the campus as a whole. I think it is actually extremely impressive that greek community members are so involved on the campus-wide level, and this article could have had the potential to reverse negative stereotypes about the greek community. Chloe clearly started writing from the point of a negative bias toward the greek system, and the entire daily cal should honestly be pretty embarrased that this is passed off as news.

    I also think its a pretty ridiculous quote from andy albright about “tapping into” greeks. People in the greek community are not a resource to be tapped into. They are people and a legitimate community, if you want them to vote for you, do something for them.

    • Alsoannoyedatthedailycal

      This comment is right on point. It should be impressive that the Greeks are involved and the daily cal should be completely embarrassed at the lack of editorial responsibility displayed in this article

  • Carl

    oh chloe, you dumb bitch. your writing has no structure whatsoever.

  • Guest

    I’m really impressed with the level of investigative research by Chloe Hunt. She obviously put a lot of effort into presenting the facts and information about the election. 

    • Guest

      Note: this is sarcasm. in case Chloe takes this as a complement

  • Guest

    “If you want to be ASUC president, join the Greek system.” Correlation does not equal causation.
    -How is this not an op-ed piece?
    -How did the Daily Cal Editors let this biased journalism pass for front page news?
    LIKE THIS COMMENT IF YOU THINK THE DAILY CAL SHOULD WRITE A RETRACTION AND CHLOE SHOULD APOLOGIZE AND BE TRANSFERRED TO THE OP-ED DEPARTMENT

    • Guest

      I endorse your comment. This garbage belongs in the op-eds, which entertains even crap writing.

    • Guest

       First, nobody would respond that emotionally about an election issue unless they were a candidate. Second, it’s well known that Student Action has some beef with the DailyCal (i.e. boycotting the DailyCal endorsement forum last year and being mad when the DailyCal then didn’t endorse them). So unless proven otherwise I’ll assume this is just Student Action cyberbullying a reporter. Especially since Chloe is the only DailyCal reporter in a while who looked seriously as how ASUC election and funding rules are being abused, especially by SA and its affiliates.

  • Adsahjh

    The half-Asian, half-white girl around the 2-minute mark is cute. Too bad she’s a geed.

  • Greco Non Legitum

    The stranglehold that Greeks have over the campus elections make them lose all credibility because the Greek system strives to create a school-within-a-school — a closed system. “Unite Greek” is redundant — they’re already pretty damn united, as evidenced by their electoral success.

  • Oski

    Daily Cal, did you not interview a single member of a Greek Organization for your video? poor journalism.

    • qwerty

      so much bias it can’t even be called “news”. the author is clearly just trying to stir shit up. Several CalServe senators/candidates are Greek too, but there is no mention of that. A real journalist would have also added an editors note about the funding regulations, since frats obviously aren’t paying for elections like the guy in the video says

    • Alsoannoyedatthedailycal

      good point. this video only shows one side of the story. and the editor should provide a note about how factually inaccurate the supposition that frats pay for elections is

  • Guest

    Mr. Philosophy Major from the video, you’re not a “Free Thinker” if you’re voting for someone purely because they’re NOT in a fraternity any more than someone who votes for someone because they are. True free thinkers evaluate the whole candidate and their platforms and choose the best whole person.

  • Guest

    The student in the video who thinks that they’re a correlation between the fundraising and the Greek system is completely wrong. All election funds are closely monitored by the ASUC judiciary board and there is definitely no sorority or fraternity giving money to candidates. 

    • Guest

       That’s simply false. The Elections Council only monitors expenses (i.e. receipts), not revenues. Nobody knows where the parties’ funds come from.

  • Berkeleyprotest

    Wow, this is great. The students are awake

  • Guest

    Nice unbiased reporting, Daily Cal…

  • Adsahjh

    It seems like the third-tier frats and below dominate. (Let’s not even talk about the joke that it is to call SEO Greek.) SphiE? WTF is that? Is that the one up the fucking hill? Who knows. TriDelts are fun girls to party with, but let’s be honest, they’re not exactly up there.  DX is alright, but not really prestigious or very well respected. The only recent President who was in an actually good house was Will.

    • I_h8_disqus

      The reason that greek candidates have done so well in elections is that they do not think like Adsahjh.  Most greeks recognize that every house is a community of brothers or sisters who benefit from their membership in their fraternity or sorority.  The members of the greek system are a good reflection of the campus, because their membership is very diverse.  Members can be found in just about every major and campus organization.

      • Adsahjh

        I bet you’re not in Pike.

        • I_h8_disqus

          Now you have just announced to the other readers that one of the Pikes is acting like the stereotypical frat guy the Daily Cal is trying to make us all out to be.  What everyone should actually see is that the Greek system has well rounded students.  We have fun, we study hard, we care about the community, and we are leaders.  We are Cal Bears who are here to make this university the best in the world.

  • Greekman

    Fuck off GDIs , greeks rule !

  • Guest

    It’s quite simple. ASUC rules make it illegal to campaign in dorms. Many professors prevent campaign announcements in classrooms. Everyone has long tuned out on Sproul. So the only place to reach out to good densities of students are in Greek houses an co-ops.