Academic affairs VP candidate platforms address transparency, student resources

Woodrow Currie, Natalie Gavello, Naomi Wilson and Frank Luna are running for ASUC academic affairs vice president.

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Four candidates are running for ASUC academic affairs vice president this year, with goals that include increasing transparency and addressing fiscal challenges.

The academic affairs vice president oversees student government operations related to academic issues on campus. The position also acts as a liaison between the ASUC and the campus division of the Academic Senate.

Below are the four candidates running for the position, as well as their major platforms.

Woodrow Currie (SQUELCH!)

  • Poke fun at candidates who take elections too seriously
  • Save the world from a dystopian future

Natalie Gavello (Student Action)

  • Expand career services available to students
  • Advocate for a halt of cuts to student resources
  • Increase transparency of Operational Excellence
  • Increase the number of campus study spaces

Frank Luna (Students for a Democratic University)

  • Change ASUC rules to allow more student participation in meetings
  • Reach out to student groups to become involved in the ASUC
  • Critically re-examine the Campus Code of Student Conduct

Naomi Wilson (CalSERVE)

  • Advocate to increase openness of the campus division of the Academic Senate
  • Create more support for the American Cultures program
  • Make grants more available and accessible to students

Current Student Action AAVP Julia Joung said she would advise her successor to be prepared to respond and adapt to changing circumstances such as this past year’s Occupy Cal movement and said that candidates need to be ready for such happenings in addition to their original plans.

She also recommended that her successor work to make the office and its projects more publicly known, as many students are not aware of them.

“For the office of AAVP to be (not transparent) is a shame,” Wilson said.  “Everyone is a student here.”

Both Gavello and Wilson share the intention to increase transparency, but their focuses are in different areas. Wilson said she is interested in opening up the campus division of the faculty Academic Senate, while Gavello is particularly concerned with the transparency of the campus cost-cutting Operational Excellence initiative.

Gavello’s goal of increasing the number of study spaces on campus is a repetition of the platform of Joung’s platform from last year’s elections.

Luna, on the other hand, hopes to critically re-examine the structure of the ASUC — which he called a hierarchy — and said that Students for a Democratic University wanted to see significant changes within the student government.

The office itself goes through changes each year based on how the current AAVP wants to structure the office and what is happening within the campus.

Joung said she made her office smaller than that of her predecessor Viola Tang because that was what she was comfortable with as a leader. She said her office also focused on issues such as streamlining campus appointments and admissions policies in addition to grants.

Gavello also said she wanted to have a “small, tight-knit” office where everyone would be working on something they felt passionate about.

The election will be held April 10, 11 and 12.

Courtney Moulds covers student government.