Campus junior Vicente Román announced Thursday evening his intent to run as an independent senatorial candidate for the spring 2017 ASUC elections.
Román’s campaign is endorsed by the campus Latinx community, and according to Román, one of his platforms is focused specifically on the “recruitment, retention and representation” of campus Latinx community members. He added that he wants to work toward acknowledging and uplifting campus multicultural resource centers, such as bridges.
Román has had significant experience working in the ASUC prior to his spring 2017 campaign. In his first year on campus, he served as an intern in the office of the academic affairs vice president, and since then, he has worked in an executive office every school year. Outside of the ASUC, Román previously served as a fellow in the Casa Magdalena Mora Theme Program — or the Latinx and Chicanx theme program — in Unit 3’s Beverly Cleary Hall, and he now serves as co-facilitator of the UC Berkeley RAZA Caucus, a space where representatives from different campus Latinx organizations congregate to discuss social and political issues.
“We talk about … things happening on our campus and how we can mobilize or act on behalf of our community,” Román said. “Interacting through those folks, I’ve been able to share some of the resources I’ve learned from the ASUC.”
Román’s other platforms involve restructuring the Fall Program for Freshmen, or FPF, experience, and supporting students’ mental health and financial literacy. Román arrived on campus as a spring admit in 2015, having previously participated in the FPF program in fall 2014, and according to Román, his transition to campus afterward was difficult. Román said he often felt very isolated.
As an ASUC senator, Román said he wants to solve affordability issues with transportation to the FPF campus in San Francisco and to institutionalize a smoother transition for FPF students to the Berkeley campus.
Román said he has seen a large disconnect between members of the Latinx community and members of the ASUC, adding that this disparity is a large part of what drove him to run for senate.
“I want to change that narrative. I want my community to have a voice in the ASUC,” Román said. “As a community member in the Latinx community, I have seen how the ASUC hasn’t always been on my community’s side.”
Román said his decision to run independently originated from a desire to showcase the independence and strength of the Latinx community.
“Traditionally, my community has run with CalSERVE. … I think tradition is beautiful, but I think sometimes, tradition gets toxic in a way,” Román said. “Not to say that other parties aren’t supportive, but … (we’re) doing something different, doing it for ourselves.”