SQUELCH! announces its ASUC Senate candidates

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The SQUELCH! party announced Monday a slate of nonsatirical ASUC Senate candidates for the third consecutive year.

Prior to 2013, the party typically ran one serious candidate alongside several satirical candidates, but in recent years has slated only serious candidates. This election season, the candidates — Sina Rashidi, Zoe Brouns and Ariana Shakibnia — each represent a variety of communities on campus, including prehealth, performing arts, the LGBT community and the Greek system.

Despite the party’s shift toward nonsatirical candidates, SQUELCH! still lives by its motto, “you don’t have to be boring to be serious,” said SQUELCH! party chair Emily Truax. In addition to its humorous approach, SQUELCH! is trying to remain a small party to avoid entanglement in partisan politics, which “doesn’t allow for proper progress,” Rashidi said.

All three candidates have prior experience working in the ASUC. Rashidi serves as the deputy of pre-med affairs in SQUELCH! Senator Dree Kavoussi’s office. In SQUELCH! Senator Grant Genske’s office, Brouns is the Greek affairs director, while Shakibnia works as Genske’s director of student spaces.

“They’ve already done work in those communities,” said SQUELCH! party chair Casey Berkovitz. “They can bring their field expertise to the senate and can really hit the ground running.”

While working in Genske’s office as Greek affairs director, Brouns aimed to strengthen the LGBT community within the Greek system. She intends to continue this work as a senator.

“It can be really lonely and frustrating to be in a (system) that’s not built for you,” she said. “I took all that frustration, and I wanted to put it into something positive.”

The previous year, when Brouns interned for former senator Truax, her work centered on raising awareness of and improving rights for veterans. Brouns, whose father and grandfather are veterans, participated in ROTC her freshman year.

Like Brouns’, Rashidi’s and Shakibnia’s platforms stem from their experiences in their respective campus niches.

As a member of the prehealth community, Rashidi wants to increase mental-health resources for all students while providing more opportunities and academic support for prehealth students.

“I’ve experienced the problem (of lack of support for prehealth students), as myself and my friends have experienced it,” he said. “It’s gotten to the point where I see that it needs to change.”

Coming from the performing arts community, Shakibnia plans to help ensure equitable distribution of funding to performing arts programs and provide equal access to rehearsal spaces in the redeveloped Lower Sproul. Additionally, Shakibnia, in representing the Greek community, wants to bridge the gap between Greeks and non-Greeks, starting with philanthropy.

“I can connect with people not just from my communities but beyond,” she said. “Whether or not I’m working on a project that involves everyone, I’m more than happy to sit down with anyone — getting to rally everyone, not just a specific community, would be my goal.”

The 2015-16 ASUC general elections will take place April 7, 8 and 9.

Sonja Hutson covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson.

A previous version of this article stated that Ariana Shakibnia is the assistant director of student spaces. In fact, she is the director of student spaces.