BERKELEY'S NEWS • OCTOBER 01, 2022

ASUC executives reflect on past year's accomplishments

article image

DEREK REMSBURG AND MICHAEL TAO | FILE

SUPPORT OUR NONPROFIT NEWSROOM

We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

|

Staff

MAY 11, 2014

As the newly elected ASUC executive officers prepare to enter their positions, the five outgoing officers reflected on their terms and found they did not approach their positions entirely in the way they outlined in their campaign platforms.

The makeup of the 2013-14 ASUC executive officers included three CalSERVE officers, one Student Action officer and one Independent officer, which reflected a comeback for CalSERVE, a party that had not held a majority of executive seats since the 2008-09 academic year.

In addition to learning to work across party lines, the outgoing officers were met with challenges such as the creation of a student district during the Berkeley City Council’s redistricting process and the controversial appointment of Janet Napolitano as UC President.

Although some of their platform goals proved to be unfeasible, the five executive officers reflected on the projects they were able to attain and secure for next year’s student body.

Deejay Pepito
ASUC President Deejay Pepito ran with CalSERVE on a platform of improving campus safety, forging connections between universities and increasing the accessibility of campus administrators.

In an effort to address the issue of sexual assault on campus, Pepito formed the Office of the President’s sexual assault task force, bringing together student leaders to organize around sexual assault prevention. The task force helped drive discussion surrounding the importance of consent, particularly through the Cal Consent Campaign poster series.

As part of her platform to improve campus safety, Pepito also planned to establish a Chancellor’s advisory committee on women’s issues to address increases in sexual violence and other crimes on campus. Although Pepito has already begun work on this project with campus administrators, she could not disclose details because it has not yet been announced.

During her campaign, Pepito planned to strengthen connections among UC Berkeley and other public schools through the creation of an annual summit of student leaders from UC and CSU campuses.

“My office definitely took on the task of beginning to plan a conference, but we realized we lacked the resources, and it was unfeasible to stay true to our values for the vision of the conference,” Pepito said.

During her term, Pepito arranged for Chancellor Nicholas Dirks to hold a “State of the University” address each semester at ASUC Senate meetings in an effort to increase the accountability of campus administrators.

“There was a lot of my job this year that I wasn’t expecting — it was a lot of bridge building and crisis management,” Pepito said. “The personal toll that being ASUC President takes on you has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome.”

Pepito said the highlight of her term was partnering with the Multicultural Community Center after securing $50,000 of funding to hold the Night of Cultural Resistance, an event on Memorial Glade that featured performances and sought to foster community on campus.

“That night was literally what I envisioned and imagined it to be from the beginning of my term,” Pepito said.

Nolan Pack
ASUC Executive Vice President Nolan Pack also ran with CalSERVE on a platform of overseeing the redevelopment of Lower Sproul, improving the transparency of the ASUC and promoting energy efficiency on campus.

Pack said he worked to “bring the ASUC into the 21st century” by making efforts to ensure the ASUC was using all the technology available to make it accessible to students, such as podcasting senate meetings.

During the 2013 ASUC elections, Pack said he would promote ASUC transparency by better connecting students to campus resources with a Wikipedia-style webpage. Pack said that the project is in its infancy and that over time, the ASUC archives — currently in paper form — will be hosted on the webpage.

During his campaign, Pack also focused on creating a plan for a sustainable campus — a task he said his office has accomplished through the Student Environmental Resource Center, which serves as a hub for environmental advocacy on campus.

Pack has often been accused of approaching his role as EVP in a partisan manner, such as by actively vocalizing his opinions on city redistricting — views that differed from ASUC External Affairs Vice President Safeena Mecklai, who ran with Student Action, CalSERVE’s historically rival student political party.

“For the entirety of this year, the senate has been free of conflict except for the first two weeks,” Pack said. “The idea that this has been a divisive year and that I’ve brought my politics onto the senate floor is just inaccurate.”

Safeena Mecklai
ASUC External Affairs Vice President Safeena Mecklai served as the only Student Action executive this year. Despite working with a CalSERVE majority, Mecklai said she agreed with her fellow executives on most political issues.

Mecklai ran on a platform that included electing a student to the Berkeley City Council, promoting awareness of global issues and empowering the student voice on campus.

With the upcoming city elections in November, Mecklai’s office pushed for the creation of a student district to be included in the city’s redistricting map with the hope that a student could eventually be elected to City Council.

The issue created contention because the map Mecklai supports — the Berkeley Student District Campaign map — excludes several Northside co-ops, although its population is composed of 86 percent student-aged residents. Pack, a member of the co-op community, was among the students pushing for the adoption of a different map that incorporated the excluded areas.

Ultimately, the map Mecklai supported was established in late April and created a student supermajority district for the upcoming elections, although there will be a referendum on the ballot to overturn the map.
“It’s been really difficult sometimes to be a voice of opposition in our discussions, but I think it’s really important,” Mecklai said.

Additionally, Mecklai’s office worked to promote awareness of global issues, particularly through creating an international student anthology that includes literary and art pieces produced by students living at International House.

“Anytime one party dominated, you have this one sect of campus that feels as though their voice isn’t being heard, so for me it’s been rewarding to be able to do that for the people who put me in office,” Mecklai said.

Valerie Jameson
ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Valerie Jameson also ran with CalSERVE with a goal of implementing a textbook scholarship program funded by grants rather than ASUC funds.

The program was launched this semester, and the AAVP office provided funding to 48 of 96 applicants who then received credit to the Cal Student Store.

While campaigning, Jameson said she planned to improve the health of students through partnering with the Tang Center. Jameson is particularly proud of Gear-Up: Road to a BEAR-able Fall Finals, a weeklong event her office created at the end of the fall semester featuring cardio kickboxing classes on Sproul and Tang Center services to alleviate stress.

The AAVP office created a one-page resource guide of health services provided by the Tang Center that Jameson hoped would be included in class syllabi — which some departments have implemented.
“From our standpoint, we want to drive home the idea that you won’t be strong academically if you don’t have strong holistic health,” Jameson said.

Her platforms also included fostering closer relations among undergraduate and graduate students by ensuring more classes were offered to both student bodies, although she found the task to be more difficult than she had imagined when campaigning.

“I wish I would have been more aware of how big the learning curve is,” Jameson said. “I wish I would’ve kept and held on to that momentum from elections and build up my office staff faster.”

Timofey Semenov
ASUC Student Advocate Timofey Semenov ran as an independent candidate on a platform of increasing efficiency at Cal Student Central, improving the university administration’s policy to grievances and modifying the campus justice system.

The Student Advocate Office handled 172 cases during the 2013-14 academic year, 54 of which were related to academics, 65 of which were related to conduct, 26 of which were related to financial aid and residency and 27 of which were related to grievances.

The office focused much of its efforts on increasing the number of resources available for sexual assault survivors through securing funding for the continuation of a licensed clinical social worker position at the Tang Center who would specialize in working with sexual assault survivors. Semenov also lobbied for the creation of a confidential survivor advocate position.

As part of his platform to improve the university administration’s policy on grievances, Semenov said his office assisted in revising UC policy on sexual violence and harassment, which was a response to President Barack Obama’s signing of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

The office also worked to rewrite the Berkeley Campus Student Grievance Procedure, a process by which UC Berkeley students can resolve complaints, to create clearer grievance timelines. The procedure had not been edited since 1997.

Contact Jane Nho at 

LAST UPDATED

MAY 12, 2014


Related Articles

featured article
At its meeting Wednesday, the ASUC senate, unanimously passed a bill stating that the senate will express no confidence in incoming UC President Janet Napolitano if she does not carry out a list of nine demands by a deadline set by the senate.
At its meeting Wednesday, the ASUC senate, unanimously passed a bill stating that the senate will express no confidence in incoming UC President Janet Napolitano if she does not carry out a list of nine demands by a deadline set by the senate.
featured article
It has only been five days since the ASUC results were announced, but many newly elected members of the ASUC say they are already looking forward to their first steps in office.
It has only been five days since the ASUC results were announced, but many newly elected members of the ASUC say they are already looking forward to their first steps in office.
featured article
CalSERVE announced Sunday night that ASUC Senator DeeJay Pepito will be its presidential nominee in this spring’s student government election.
CalSERVE announced Sunday night that ASUC Senator DeeJay Pepito will be its presidential nominee in this spring’s student government election.
featured article