New candidates emerge to compete for 4 previously uncontested ASUC executive seats

Taylor Vega/Staff

Twenty-eight new ASUC executive and senate hopefuls surfaced Tuesday night as all the candidates running in this year’s election gathered in Kroeber Hall to listen to the ASUC Elections Council outline general election bylaws and financial procedures.

Only 41 students had publicly announced their candidacies prior to Friday’s filing deadline, so the addition of 28 candidates has turned multiple uncontested races — four out of the five executive seats — into matches between two or three candidates.

ASUC president is the most contested position this year with five candidates — Student Action candidate Pavan Upadhyayula, CalSERVE candidate Naweed Mohabbat, Defend Affirmative Action Party candidate David Douglass, BearFeed.org party candidate Pierre Bourbonnais and independent candidate Raman Veerappan — running.

Before Friday, only CalSERVE had candidates running for the offices of executive, external affairs and academic affairs vice presidents — seats now contested by Jasmine Guillen, Gabriela Padilla and Alison McDonald, respectively, from the Defend Affirmative Action Party. The party is also running Sayedah Mosavi against independent student advocate candidate Rishi Ahuja.

“Having competition is a way to draw the clear distinction between CalSERVE and some of the other folks in the race,” said Denim Ohmit, elections coordinator for CalSERVE, the progressive campus political party that typically represents historically underrepresented groups.

Nicolas Jaber, who ran for senate in last year’s ASUC election with Student Action, will be competing for EAVP as an independent candidate against CalSERVE candidate Caitlin Quinn and DAAP candidate Padilla.

“I came in at the last minute because there was a pretty controversial candidate who was running with a pretty controversial and polarizing party unopposed,” Jaber said. “My core principle is pretty simple — I believe the competition of ideas is super important.”

DAAP, a student political party closely connected to the activist organization By Any Means Necessary, is running 23 senators and a full executive slate this year. Douglass, McDonald and Mosavi are running for ASUC Senate, in addition to executive positions.

But the third party has not historically had much success in ASUC elections and has never won an executive position. DAAP last held a seat in the senate seven years ago.

“I’m proud that we’re a fully integrated slate with full executive positions,” Douglass said. “We’re serious about turning the ASUC into a fighting student union.”

Although Student Action, CalSERVE’s primary rival student political party, typically runs four executive candidates, the party has decided to run Upadhyayula as its sole executive candidate this year. The party currently holds one executive position, external affairs vice president, and nine seats in senate.

“We really want to represent quality over quantity,” said Antonia Acquistapace, Student Action’s party chair. “We feel that Pavan is the most qualified candidate in terms of the number of bills he’s written, his role as a senator and his involvement on campus.”

Prior to last year’s election, Student Action — which historically runs candidates with strong ties to the Greek, Jewish and engineering communities — swept all four partisan executive positions and a majority of the senate seats for two consecutive years in the 2011 and 2012 elections.

The 2013 election, however, proved a triumph for CalSERVE when — in addition to winning the offices of president, executive vice president and academic affairs vice president — the party secured seven out of 20 senate seats. This year, CalSERVE is running 13 candidates for senate, and Student Action is running 15.

In addition, SQUELCH!, a party that traditionally runs one serious candidate among several satirical candidates, is running three entirely nonsatirical senate candidates. Two students endorsed by the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian Coalition also filed their independent senate candidacies.

Two other independent candidates, Siddhant Puri and Robert Shields, will also be running.

The technology fee referendum that would charge students $51 per semester for software and technology initiatives will be on the ballot.

The 2014-15 ASUC election will be held April 8, 9 and 10.

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