On Wednesday night, the newly formed BearFeed.org party announced Pierre Bourbonnais as its satirical presidential candidate for this year’s ASUC elections.
Bourbonnais, a UC Berkeley junior and former marketing manager at The Daily Californian, officially formed the party Tuesday and will be competing against Student Action candidate Pavan Upadhyayula, CalSERVE candidate Naweed Mohabbat and Defend Affirmative Action Party candidate David Douglass for the office of ASUC president. Constitutionally, the ASUC president acts as the “chief representative” of the ASUC, but how this is accomplished is left to his or her discretion.
“If you look at (Upadhyayula’s and Mohabbat’s) campaign platforms, they’re like, 10 sentences long, and ours are much longer,” Bourbonnais said.
While the SQUELCH! party is known for historically running satirical slates, in recent years, it has favored selecting serious candidates for both executive and senate positions. Last fall, a “joke ticket” was successfully elected to the Harvard University student government’s offices of president and vice president, much to the surprise of the student body.
Bourbonnais is running on 17 platforms, including replacing missing letters on campus buildings, securing restaurants such as Cheese Board for Lower Sproul Plaza and advocating a 28th constitutional amendment to lower the national drinking age.
He also has more typical goals, such as increasing student resources, improving the quality of life on campus and advocating increased government support for higher education.
“(Bourbonnais’) idea was to use satirical campaign tactics to garner attention for a unique, substantial and serious platform aimed at tangibly improving the lives of Berkeley students,” said Carter Keeling, Bourbonnais’ campaign manager, in a press release.
Despite never having served in the ASUC before, Bourbonnais believes his experience working as the founder and president of the Berkeley Forum makes him well-suited for the position.
“I have interacted with the ASUC through the Berkeley Forum and, to be honest, it’s kind of run like the DMV right now,” Bourbonnais said. “I think it should be run like a Fortune 500 company.”
If elected, Bourbonnais said he will create a winter formal, which will be an “extravagant affair” with ice sculptures, chocolate fountains and a cake that feeds 3,000 people.
“It’s going to be the best winter formal west of the Atlantic,” Bourbonnais said. “I know Oxford has some very nice ones, and we’re not going to be able to compete with that.”
Bourbonnais said he plans to gather funds for his projects by fundraising through Kickstarter and Berkeley alumni. To carry out his platforms, he hopes to establish a close, working relationship with campus administrators.
“We’re not going to be confrontational with the administration,” Bourbonnais said. “I love (Chancellor) Nicholas Dirks — I think he’s a fabulous man.”
Among Bourbonnais’ list of inspirations found on his campaign website are “platinum inspirers” UC Berkeley, Dick Cheney and Bourbonnais’ mother. UCLA, Miley Cyrus and Rick Santorum are listed as “gold inspirers.”
“We’re here to have fun, but we are a serious campaign, and we have serious goals,“ Bourbonnais said. “A lot of people are going to naysay and claim that my goals are not possible, and I just have one word for them — believe.”
The 2014-15 ASUC general elections will take place April 8, 9 and 10.