UC Berkeley junior AJ Hill announces independent candidacy for ASUC Senate

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Ethan Epstein/Senior Staff

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AJ Hill is running for ASUC Senate in the spring 2017 elections in the hopes of making the ASUC more accessible to marginalized students.

Hill, a campus junior transfer majoring in political science, is running on several platforms, including implementing all-gender restrooms, eliminating food waste and reforming the ASUC Senate. Hill is also committed to improving resources for students with disabilities.

A gender nonbinary student, Hill is committed to ensuring that people who do not conform to certain gender stereotypes can access restrooms on campus. Hill’s specific goals include making all first-floor restrooms in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union gender-inclusive. All-gender is widely considered preferable to gender-neutral because it acknowledges each person’s individual gender identity. Hill also said they support the Free the Tampon campaign.

Having lent support to the Undergraduate Worker’s Union in the past, Hill said they want to put the food waste from Cal Dining to better use. They cited a lack of student access to excess food as a prominent issue and stated that they want Cal Dining to sell the excess food at reduced prices or give it away.

Hill also wants the ASUC to act as an oversight body, primarily concerning UCPD. After the Milo Yiannopoulos protest, Hill said he noticed an increased police presence on campus and its effect on students.

“I was stopped for riding my bike across Sproul,” Hill said. “(What) originally was a warning turned into a ticket. Even if I know my rights, I’m still targeted. This is happening for a lot of students overall.”

Hill cited their experiences as an activist with CALPIRG and at community college for allowing them to “bring intersectionality to review of law.” Additionally, Hill has experience drafting legislation as a former member of Model United Nations at community college.

Regarding the ASUC, Hill said the organization needs to start making concrete proposals, pointing toward the Cancel for Non-Payment Policy and the renaming of LeConte and Barrows halls, which have come under fire for their controversial namesakes. Hill also stated that they hope to catalyze the ASUC as a platform for students, calling this election “an important moment” for the ASUC because of a change in administrative leadership.

“I think ASUC senator is a great position in the sense that I am given a platform and a staff that is really dedicated to enhancing life on this campus,” Hill said. “We have a voice that’s willing to speak for the underprivileged students on campus. ASUC wants to be on the right side of history, but it is not mobilizing its forces to do so.”

Hill also emphasized the importance of independents running for ASUC offices, stating that the political party system is accessible to individuals, but alleging that it is “inherently corrupt” and does not help the interests of the student body.

“I think the time is done for establishment politics,” Hill said. “We need people who are actually willing to stand with students. The more people we have like that in the ASUC, the more we can reform it.”

Contact Revati Thatte at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @revati_thatte.

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