A committee of ASUC senators met Saturday to select Mon-Shane Chou as their recommendation for the academic affairs vice president position, which has remained vacant for more than a month after the resignation of AAVP-elect Jeanette Corona.
The committee chose Chou over contender Kyle Shackleford in a 5-2 vote. This nomination will be presented to the senate Wednesday and voted on the following week. Chou must be approved with a two-thirds vote.
The AAVP aims to act as the students’ advocate in academic affairs and manage grants.
A fifth-year transfer student, Chou served as chief of staff in both the senatorial and executive offices of former ASUC Executive Vice President Nolan Pack, who ran with student political party CalSERVE.
Chou said the current AAVP vacancy put the credibility of the ASUC at stake. Despite this, she said the executives were presenting a strong united front, a different picture from last year.
“I want to continue to work with them to preserve this reputation that they have worked so hard to develop,” Chou said at the deliberations.
Shackleford, a senior, was involved in Connor Landgraf’s ASUC presidential campaign in Shackleford’s freshman year. He ran for senate in his sophomore year and was not elected. Last year, he was the campaign manager of Eric Liu’s unsuccessful senatorial campaign with CalSERVE.
Shackleford said he recognized that there is no linear path a UC Berkeley student goes on, because everyone comes in with a different story.
“It’s not only about what they know, but who they are,” Shackleford said.
Both Chou and Shackleford said they would like to continue Corona’s main platforms of mental health and financial literacy.
When asked to prioritize her platforms in the short time she had, Chou emphasized financial literacy. In regards to concerns of her party affiliation, Chou said it was a “double standard,” as there was no record that she had ever refused to work with someone based on parties.
Supporters of Chou argued that her extensive ASUC experience contributed to her vast institutional ASUC knowledge that would ease the transition period.
Executive Vice President Justin Kong highlighted many of the projects Chou has spearheaded in her short time at the ASUC, such as the revamping of the funding system, helping to establish the UC Berkeley Food Pantry and making Welcome Week more inclusive to transfer students.
AAVP chief of staff Denim Ohmit, who has been managing office operations since Corona’s resignation, said that although he likes and respects Shackleford as an individual, he supports Chou for her “right perspective and critical nature.”
His declaration that he would not want to work as chief of staff for Shackleford caused various concerns that Shackleford’s selection would disrupt the flow of the office’s staff and transition process.
Many of the senators emphasized the urgency of the situation as they were already six weeks into the semester.
“The ASUC as an entirety is more important than partisanship,” said Student Action Senator Vinay Ramesh, who was in support of Shackleford. He expressed how essential it was to have the senate as a whole approve of the committee’s nominee.
After choosing Chou, the committee began drafting recommendations, some of which include interacting with student groups outside her comfort zone, writing an op-ed to introduce herself and talking with the Graduate Assembly to discuss relations between undergraduates and GSIs.