Student Action releases ASUC executive slate of 4 candidates

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Daniel Kim/Staff

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Student Action released its executive slate for the spring 2017 ASUC elections Tuesday one year after winning a sweep of the four partisan executive seats in the 2016 elections.  

External Affairs Vice President André Luu is running for president on the Student Action slate, and current senators Helen Yuan and Ian Bullitt are running for executive vice president and academic affairs vice president, respectively. Campus third-year Raj Bhargava is the Student Action candidate for EAVP.

Platforms from across the four executive candidates are focused on addressing students’ basic needs and rights in response to the changing national political climate, according to Luu, who emphasized that the Student Action party is running an inclusive and open campaign to elevate as many student voices as possible.

A third-year majoring in peace and conflict studies and anthropology, Luu has worked in the ASUC since freshman year, starting in the public relations department under 2014-2015 president Pavan Upadhyayula. Luu was a senator from 2015-2016 before being elected as EAVP last year.

Luu is running on platforms focused on reestablishing a line of communication between students and the administration, adjusting campus climate in response to national political changes and addressing basic student needs, such as housing and food insecurity.

“For me, a president must be someone who cannot only empower others, but also crisis manage,” Luu said. “I strongly believe that, throughout my time in the ASUC, I’ve proven myself to be able to be very capable of both of these things.”

Along with fostering communication between campus and UC administration, Luu said he also wants to continue a partnership between the ASUC and the UC Office of the President. Beginning when the new chancellor takes office, Luu wants to provide more opportunities for students to converse with administration, such as having regular meetings between the chancellor and the ASUC and Graduate Assembly.

Yuan, who is a third-year business major, has also worked in the ASUC since her freshman year, beginning in the business development sectors of the office of then-EVP Justin Kong. In her sophomore year, Yuan was chief of staff of then-senator and current EVP Alicia Lau’s office, and she was elected senator the year after.

She plans to focus on capitalizing on partnerships and resources that are available to UC Berkeley students through the ASUC, as well as maximizing underutilized campus spaces and developing leadership programs for student organizations. Yuan wants to organize a leadership program that all student organizations would have the option to participate in while selecting and preparing new leaders.

“What I noticed about working in the EVP was the leadership I … was given was not adequate,” Yuan said. “I see myself as sort of the proponent or the pioneer that can change it, and that’s sort of how I have a personal connection with the EVP specifically.”

Bullitt is currently a third-year mechanical engineering major and an ASUC senator. Before becoming a senator, Bullitt worked extensively in student engineering organizations, such as Engineers Without Borders and the Black Engineering and Science Student Association.

“Through my senate term … I represented not only engineering constituents, but with other constituents as well,” Bullitt said. “It gave me a lot of leeway into blending academic problems with mental health problems with social problems.”

If elected for AAVP, Bullitt wants to focus on bettering students’ academic experiences through making information on changing and declaring majors readily available, compiling data on grade deflation and transparency in certain departments and increasing the recruitment and representation of major departments for students that have been historically underrepresented in the ASUC, such as engineering. He also wants to concentrate on the mental and physical health of students, by increasing Tang Center satellite hours and placement and expanding the number of physical health classes through campus programs.

Bhargava, a third-year applied mathematics and economics major, wants to focus his efforts as EAVP on tuition and financial aid policy, basic needs security and responses to instability in local and federal governments. He emphasized the need for local and campus police forces to recognize and respect the rights of student protesters, as well as for the administration to recognize what it means to be a “sanctuary.”

For two years, Bhargava worked in the Student Advocate’s Office specializing in independent appeals pertaining to financial policy, and he became the external chief of staff of the SAO for the 2016-17 academic year. Beyond his role with SAO, he was on the UC Office of the President’s Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force working group for a year and a half, leading him to become “intimately” focused on policies and how they affect students.

“Understanding what financial aid policy is, how it works, how it differs from student to student on an individual case-by-case basis at this campus as well as … across the UC system and … what does that mean at the state and national level … is a perspective that almost no one else has,” Bhargava said. “That’s something that has to be gained by this very in-the-trenches experience of working with financial aid and financial aid policy.”

The ASUC elections are scheduled to take place from April 10 to 12.

Sakura Cannestra is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.

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  • Nate Lever

    I like these candidates! Andre has been doing great work for years, and the others seem ambitious but realistic. Good luck!