Student Action party announces executive slate for upcoming elections

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Following a sweep of four executive seats last year, the Student Action party announced its executive candidates Sunday for the upcoming 2012 ASUC general election.

Current Student Action Senators Connor Landgraf, Justin Sayarath and Shahryar Abbasi will run for the offices of president, executive vice president and external affairs vice president, respectively. Natalie Gavello, communications director for the ASUC Office of the President, will run for academic affairs vice president.

Landgraf said he is running on a three-pronged platform of advocacy for students, more ASUC involvement in everyday student life and increasing technology and innovation. He said he believes the ASUC should support Occupy Cal and advocate for a second voting position on the UC Board of Regents.

He added that he would have opposed the ASUC Auxiliary realignment — a shift that moved the business branch of the ASUC from Administration and Finance to the Division of Student Affairs in July — more strongly than current ASUC President Vishalli Loomba had. Landgraf said he was in Europe while the transition occurred and did not fully understand its implications.

A Student Action press release said Sayarath has authored or co-authored more than 15 percent of senate bills this year. In comparison, Landgraf has authored or co-authored less than 5 percent of about 316 bills introduced to the senate, and Abbasi has authored or co-authored over 10 percent.

Sayarath’s platform includes expanding student resources and technology services through consolidating different websites to make them easier to access for student groups.

While current Executive Vice President Chris Alabastro has chiefly managed logistical issues surrounding the Lower Sproul Plaza renovation and student groups’ relocation from Eshleman Hall during his term, Sayarath said he hopes to “be more available to students.”

CalSERVE — which has historically been Student Action’s primary rival student political party — announced its slate Feb. 27.

Current CalSERVE Senators Andrew Albright, Anthony Galace and Sydney Fang will run for the offices of president, executive vice president and external affairs vice president, respectively. Naomi Wilson, co-chair of the campus Black Student Union, will run for academic affairs vice president. Neither party is running a candidate for student advocate, which is the fifth executive office and is traditionally non-partisan.

Both Student Action and CalSERVE’s executive slates consist of three candidates who are current senators and one who is not. In both cases, the candidate who is not a senator is running for academic affairs vice president.

Overall trends show that Student Action has held a dominant position in the elections since the party was founded in 1995.

In the last 16 elections, there have been only two instances where Student Action did not win any executive seats, and the party has won both the president and executive vice president positions 12 times.

Student Action currently holds 11 out of a possible 20 seats in the ASUC Senate and has consistently won seven to 11 seats in the senate over the past six years. The party has not yet announced its senate slate, but according to Landgraf, a retreat March 9 to 11 occurred for executive candidates, senate candidates and other party members.

Voting for the election will be held April 10, 11 and 12.

Chloe Hunt is the lead student government reporter.