‘Wake up’: ASUC stakeholders reflect on Student Action success

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Joshua Jordan/File

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After the 2018 ASUC elections, in which Student Action won a majority in both the senate and partisan executive races, candidates and ASUC stakeholders reflected on what may have contributed to the party’s victory.

Interfraternity Council, or IFC, President Jon Jay endorsed the Student Action executive slate of Alexander Wilfert, Hung Huynh and Melany Amarikwa, as well as three Student Action senate candidates who are members of the Greek community, in an email obtained by The Daily Californian that was sent to all members of the IFC. He also encouraged people to vote at the ASUC website or at three in-person polling booths situated at Greek houses.

“Now is your time to take a stand: for the way of life you have come to love and value dearly, for your brothers and your fraternity organization, and for the future Bears who deserve the Cal experience you’ve been rewarded with. Our voice must be heard,” Jay said in the email. “Vote at asuc.org/elections or in person at the Cal Greeks Voter Booth at Sigma Nu, (Kappa Delta Rho), or at Sigma Kappa from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday through Wednesday.”

Jay declined to comment as of press time.

Shirin Moti, ASUC Elections Council chair, said in an email that the ASUC bylaws specify where polling booths could be set up on campus and that “setting up polling stations on Greek land is not one of the allowed locations.”

According to Student Action party co-chair Bianca Filart, the party’s victory was the result of hard work.

“No single community or endorsement could win an election like that,” Filart said. “Our main purpose this whole election cycle was to outreach to as many communities as we could, and we want to continue that into their terms.”

Filart also said Student Action senators and executives work “across party lines,” encouraging the work of other ASUC officials who “rightfully won their seats and need support to accomplish their goals.”

In a similar fashion, Student Action Senator-elect Nikhil Harish attributed the win to the party’s ability to reach out to “different pockets of campus” and to spread its message to communities that typically do not involve themselves in student politics.

Though Harish acknowledged that pinpointing one community was difficult, he noted that all of the party’s candidates worked to mobilize their respective communities and that this combined effort was what contributed to Student Action’s success in the elections.

Kyle Chong, a campus junior and one of Wilfert’s campaigners, added that Student Action’s win was partly due to the party not engaging in negative conversation with its opponents.

“When they hurled insults at our candidates after endorsements, for example, we made sure to stress our plans and abilities to get shit done,” Chong said in an email.

Student Action senate candidate Neil McClintick, one of three who did not secure a spot in the senate, said the party “went out of its way” to establish relationships with nonpartisan candidates and that most independent candidates were in support of Wilfert.

McClintick, who is also a former Daily Californian opinion columnist, did highlight the lack of transfer student representation in the incoming senate class.

CalSERVE party co-chair Romario Conrado, however, said the results of the election signified that the campus community must “wake the fuck up and realize the immense power that the independent institution of the ASUC has in everyday life.”

“Above all else, the election played out because certain people and certain groupings of people don’t have to take electing ASUC representatives as seriously as others,” Conrado said.

Amir Wright, a senator-elect who ran with CalSERVE, said in an email that he would like to challenge his fellow senators to be “mindful” of those whose voices will not be present in the incoming senate class.

“Student Action has a majority of the seats in the ASUC Senate, that much is fact,” Wright said in an email. “I have faith that my fellow senators and I will find common ground, bridge gaps, and reach across party lines in order to pass legislation that benefits the students we represent. For the ASUC as a whole, this means what it’s always meant: we’re in this together and we must work together.”

Contact Janani Natarajan at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jrnatarajan.