Student Action announces presidential, senatorial candidates for ASUC election

Michael Drummond/Senior Staff

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After winning only one executive seat in the ASUC last year, the Student Action party announced its presidential candidate and 15 senate candidates for the upcoming ASUC general elections.

UC Berkeley junior Pavan Upadhyayula, a Student Action senator, is running for ASUC president on a platform of focusing on student life and safety, creating a global campus community and increasing transparency at all levels of student government and campus administration.

“I know that next year, if elected president, I’m comfortable working across party lines with any party,” Upadhyayula said. “I’m completely fine with working with three other individuals from different parties, and that’s something that Student Action brings to the table this year.”

If elected, Upadhyayula would be the 15th Student Action presidential candidate to win since 1996, although the seat is currently held by CalSERVE, Student Action’s primary rival student political party.

Student Action holds one executive seat — Safeena Mecklai is the external affairs vice president — and nine seats in the senate, the most held by any party. Student Action typically runs candidates with strong ties to the Greek, Jewish and engineering communities, among others.

Constitutionally, the ASUC president acts as the “chief representative” of the ASUC, but how this is accomplished is left to his or her discretion. 

Upadhyayula, who has worked in the ASUC since he was a freshman, previously served in the offices of a Student Action executive vice president and two Student Action academic affairs vice presidents.

Student Action party chair Antonia Acquistapace declined to comment on whether the party intends to announce any other executive or senate candidates. The filing period for candidates opened March 3 and will close Friday.

If elected, Upadhyayula plans to continue working with UCPD to publicize a mobile application that allows students to see where crime has happened on campus. Additionally, he hopes to create more late-night study spaces so that students can study in places closer to their homes.

“In my mind, there is a tremendous wealth of experience on this campus, and there’s 1,500 student groups from all walks of life, but the ASUC does very little to facilitate this learning from each other,” Upadhyayula said.

Upadhyayula also wants to focus on ensuring students know how their tuition is being used by creating an online platform through which students can track how their money is used campuswide and across the entire university.

Upadhyayula joins presidential candidates Naweed Mohabbat and David Douglass, who are running with CalSERVE and the Defend Affirmative Action Party, respectively. CalSERVE has also announced candidates for the three other executive positions.

Last year’s elections served as a triumph for CalSERVE when — in addition to winning the offices of president, executive vice president and academic affairs vice president — it secured seven out of a possible 20 senate seats, one more than the year before.

StudentActionSenator_MDrummondIn the past eight years, the party has consistently won eight to 12 seats in the senate. This year, Student Action’s senate candidates are Hannah Frankl, Miranda Hart, Jeff Stock, Paul Lee, Vinay Ramesh, Eric Gabrielli, Ori Herschmann, Sam Schooley, Kayla Dean, Grace Bian, Bo Nguyen, Tanay Nandgaonkar, Todd Liou, Tim Li and Kia Fariba.

If the party runs these 15 candidates, it will be running three fewer candidates than it did in last year’s election, which was also fewer than in previous years.

Acquistapace said this year’s candidates come from a wide range of communities on campus, such as the Jewish, student-parents, student-veteran, engineering and Greek communities.

SQUELCH! announced its senate slate Feb. 17, and CalSERVE plans to announce its senate slate at a later date.

The 2014-15 ASUC general elections will take place April 8, 9 and 10.

Jane Nho is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @JaneNho.