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Two-party system challenged in race for ASUC president

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The ASUC presidential candidates, clockwise from top left, are Andrew Albright, Honest Chung, Elliot Goldstein, Matt Williams, Connor Landgraf, and Noah Ickowitz


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Former editor in chief and president

APRIL 08, 2012

The race for ASUC president is composed of a broad field of candidates this year, as several of the students running seek to challenge the traditional rivalry between the Student Action and CalSERVE parties.

Over the past 16 years, only Student Action and CalSERVE candidates have been elected to the president’s office. This year, four of the six candidates are third-party contenders — some inspired by the surge of activism and protests on campus — who are determined to bring an alternative perspective to the office. In addition, four of this year’s candidates are current ASUC senators.

Student Action candidate Connor Landgraf, a senator, faces a comeback this year from the CalSERVE party — which did not run an executive slate last year — with CalSERVE Senator Andrew Albright slated for president.

Two third-party ASUC senators hope to challenge the major party system. Two-term Cooperative Movement Senator Elliot Goldstein is running for “president/chancellor” to advocate for shared governance during a period of rising UC tuition.

Furthermore, SQUELCH! Senator Noah Ickowitz has decided to run as the party’s first non-satirical presidential candidate. SQUELCH! has consistently won senate seats over the past several years, but has not won executive seats.

The president’s seat would be the first venture into the ASUC for two other third-party candidates.

The Defend Affirmative Action Party — which ran an unsuccessful executive and senate campaign last year — slated senior Matt Williams this year with the backing of activist group BAMN. Students for a Democratic University, started this year by Occupy Cal demonstrators and other students, slated Honest Chung. Both Williams and Chung have cited campus activism as a source of advocacy experience.

Brad Mosell, who was originally running as an independent for president and senate, said in an email that he will no longer run for president.

The president serves as the “chief representative” of the ASUC, but each president can determine the most effective way to accomplish this. Current ASUC President Vishalli Loomba said in an email that she “would like to see an innovative leader who brings something fresh to the table” become elected.

The new president will face many challenges as a new chancellor begins his or her term, the cost-cutting Operational Excellence initiative and Lower Sproul renovations continue and the UC may face budget cuts or tuition increases.

Read the candidates’ platforms below:

Andrew Albright (CalSERVE)

  • Increase affordability of higher education by connecting with state student government presidents, advocating for reduced residence hall fees and increasing buyback, rental and discount options in the ASUC bookstore
  • Improve ASUC finances by hiring a grant writer, streamlining services for student groups offered by campus organizations and strengthening investment processes
  • Advocate for student safety by re-establishing the “Walk-the-Beat” program to keep police officer presence on Telegraph Avenue and expand Bear Walk services

Honest Chung (Students for a Democratic University)

  • Create a student government that can advocate for student interest and mobilize students through combating fee hikes, campus “privatization” and the exclusion of underrepresented communities by creating direct student participation not bound by current student government rules and bylaws
  • Build a student union that can be expanded statewide by collaborating with other campuses across the state
  • Advocate for a body of students that is democratically run and independent from the administration

Elliot Goldstein (Cooperative Movement) – “President/Chancellor”

  • Advocate for shared governance for UC students by creating a systemwide committee of students, faculty, alumni and administrators to come up with recommendations for reforms
  • Create direct input for students, faculty and staff through monthly town halls on campus and a Stakeholder Advisory Board to discuss perspectives on the state of the campus and Operational Excellence
  • Re-evaluate intercollegiate athletics by redefining the policy of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics to be self-supporting and work with the U.S. government to reduce the “arms race” of the intercollegiate sports industry

Noah Ickowitz (SQUELCH!)

  • Push for tougher negotiations outside of the ASUC, such as negotiations with AC Transit over the extension of the campus bus pass or through discounts in the student store for ASUC-sponsored groups
  • Increase transparency by having a president that is outside of the two major political parties who can focus on decisions outside of party lines, such as advocating for appoints for the ASUC Judicial Council, and restructuring the Cal Lodge space and other campus retreat spaces to benefit students
  • Improve campus climate by providing more spaces for dialogue and debate such as between atheists and ‘believers’

Connor Landgraf (Student Action)

  • Lobby for adding another voting student to the UC Board of Regents, fighting against increasing the minimum GPA for Cal Grants, expanding the Middle Class Access Plan and increasing ASUC autonomy
  • Establish technological innovations to increase the efficiency of campus resources by expanding ASUC smartphone application, installing electronic display boards in the dorms to publicize events and create mobile versions of campus sites like bSpace, Telebears and BearFacts
  • Create a more active and visible student government by hosting ASUC-sponsored case competitions, establishing BART and MUNI discounts, holding concerts on Memorial Glade and hosting state officials in a budget cut speaker series

Matt Williams (Defend Affirmative Action Party)

  • Advocate for affordability and accessibility of education by doubling the number of underrepresented minority students, supporting affirmative action programs and defend legislation to help undocumented students
  • Create a more open student government by attending General Assembly meetings, making classroom presentations and joining with other students who want to create change
  • Directly support students and public education through both action and leadership in office
Chloe Hunt is the lead student government reporter.

APRIL 10, 2012

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