ASUC elections season begins with CalSERVE’s 3-person executive slate release

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Joshua Jordan/Senior Staff

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With this year’s ASUC elections fast approaching, CalSERVE released a three-person executive slate Sunday evening, trying to ride the party’s success of last year’s winning two-person slate.

Current ASUC Senators Juniperangelica Cordova, Rizza Estacio and Nuha Khalfay are running for ASUC president; academic affairs vice president, or AAVP; and external affairs vice president, or EAVP, respectively. The party — which typically advocates for administrative transparency and student basic needs services — focuses on two main ideas in this year’s platforms: holding those in power, such as administrators and faculty, accountable, and lifting up more diversified student narratives.

“We were very intentional about running folks with the experience of the negative parts of the (campus), but also with the qualifications … beyond just being representative(s) in the role,” Cordova said.

Cordova’s platform focuses on expanding basic needs, improving campus safety and bettering the overall student, administration and staff experience at UC Berkeley.

Cordova — a senior majoring in ethnic studies — plans to foster discussion about the experiences of students from all walks of life by continuing the speaker series of current ASUC President Zaynab AbdulQadir-Morris. In addition, she wants to support administration and staff by establishing more lines of open communication between them and students. She added that the president should be aware of the parallel and intersecting identities of the campus student body.

“My thoughts on the presidency are informed by … what I need the president to be as a student, but also what I need the president to be as a current senator,” Cordova said. “I see the president as the liaison between the community — work that’s more details and person-facing — to the administration, who is not known for giving the most ear to students.”

The role of president is one of facilitation and strategic planning, Cordova said, and she intends to encourage teamwork in the ASUC across party lines to answer more student needs without spending time on internal “bureaucracy.”

Estacio, running for AAVP, plans to bring her policy-writing experiences to the position to make academics more accessible to minority students.

Her platform includes decolonizing higher education by advocating for a “Third World College,” expanding the academics policy section of the AAVP’s office and addressing how student basic needs are linked to academic success.

“We can advocate for things like the cancellation for nonpayment policy in a financial aid administrative way, but there’s such a lack of conversation about it in Academic Senate spaces, which is ridiculous,” said Estacio, who is a junior double majoring in ethnic studies and English. “(The policy) is such a strong disadvantage to a student’s academic success”

Estacio also wants to work with the bridges Multicultural Resource Center to increase the recruitment and retention of first-generation students and students of color.

Khalfay, running for EAVP, ran independently last year as the Middle Eastern Muslim Sikh and South Asia Coalition-endorsed senator. She is campaigning to increase student involvement in city, UC-wide and state politics.

The junior public health major also plans to make the 2018 midterm elections more accessible to students by opening on-campus voter registration booths, entering dorm buildings to register freshmen and looking into the possibility of having Election Day be a campus holiday.

“I’m not going to give an arbitrary number (of registered student voters) like I know candidates have. … That is not very realistic,” Khalfay said. “My goal is to create that infrastructure in a long-term way, so that the next time someone is the EAVP in an election year … the infrastructure is already in place to have students be registered to vote.”

Voting for the ASUC elections will be held April 9, 10 and 11.

Sakura Cannestra is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.