The UC Student Association, a statewide student organization that focuses on issues of accessibility and quality at the university, elected third-year UC Berkeley law student Angelica Salceda to be the organization’s new president at its annual congress last weekend.
Salceda, who also serves as the external affairs vice president of the Graduate Assembly, comes to the position after three years working as a legislative aide for state Sen. Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles.
“Having worked in Sacramento allows me to explain to students what’s politically feasible,” Salceda said. “That’s my greatest asset, really being able to make those political calculations that are very important when we’re in negotiations.”
Salceda said one of her goals is for the UCSA to become more involved in the UC regent appointment process.
Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to fill three vacant spots on the UC Board of Regents after two regents’ terms expired in February and the senate failed to confirm David Crane in December.
The appointment of vocal advocates of Proposition 30 — Brown’s tax initiative — could provide a bump in the polls, according to Salceda. If the proposition fails, the university would incur a series of funding cuts that could necessitate a 20.3 percent midyear tuition increase.
As president of the UCSA, Salceda joins a growing group of high-ranking statewide student advocates based at Berkeley that include UC Student Regent Jonathan Stein, who is a student at the Goldman School of Public Policy and UC Berkeley School of Law, and graduate chair of the Council of Presidents Bahar Navab, who serves as president of the UC Berkeley graduate assembly and is a student at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
“This trio makes it so much easier to talk and negotiate with each other, even in the most random spaces,” Salceda said of Stein, Navab and herself.
ASUC External Affairs Vice President Shahryar Abbasi said having all of these officials on campus has allowed him to benefit from a lot of institutional knowledge.
Along with Salceda’s election, Katerina Mesesan, a senior at UC Irvine, was elected to serve as chair of the board.
The chair of the board oversees a number of internal processes, like setting the agenda for board meetings and leading the personnel committee, according to UCSA Organizing and Communications Director Darius Kemp.
Mesesan currently serves in the legislative branch of the office of the executive vice president at UC Irvine.
At the congress, many new delegates affirmed the postures of their predecessors. The UC Berkeley delegation nearly unanimously voted to reaffirm its budget campaign.
As part of the campaign, the delegation will continue efforts to advocate for increased revenues to the UC, closing the loopholes in Proposition 13, and the passage of the Middle Class Scholarship Act.
The UCSA will also continue efforts to register students to vote for the upcoming election in an effort to build up support for Prop. 30.
Curan Mehra is the lead higher education reporter.
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