Student Action announces presidential, EAVP candidates

Rachael Garner/Staff

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The Student Action party announced Wednesday night its candidates for president and external affairs vice president in the upcoming ASUC elections, including one student who has never been elected to an official ASUC office.

UC Berkeley junior Milad Razavi is running for president, and UC Berkeley junior and current Student Action senator Vinay Ramesh is slated as the external affairs vice president candidate. Student Action is traditionally known to represent Jewish, engineering and Greek communities.

Earlier this week, the party announced campus junior and current senator Paul Lee as its external vice president candidate. Student Action will not run an academic affairs vice president candidate, as its candidate dropped out due to mental health issues, according to party chair Ryan Kang.

Although he has not held an official position in the ASUC, Razavi worked with ASUC President Pavan Upadhyayula this year, shadowing him and getting introduced to campus leaders, including Chancellor Nicholas Dirks.

Razavi is running what he called an “unorthodox” campaign, focusing on three ideological platforms, with many smaller projects under those three main ideas, rather than a few action items. If elected president, he hopes to unite the campus, empower students and disrupt the status quo in order to make UC Berkeley “the capital of world change.”

“I want to flip the ASUC on its head,” he said. “I want it to serve as a platform for change. … At the end of the day the 25 elected minds are less capable than 35,000 minds outside of it.”

In order to unite students, Razavi wants to revamp CalSO to break down barriers between students, as well as increase peer-to-peer mentoring across academic disciplines, among other ideas.

Razavi wants to “empower students to disrupt the status quo” by creating a call-to-action program in which student groups could apply for funding and other resources from the ASUC president.

His opponent, CalSERVE presidential candidate Yordanos Dejen, is running on platforms of improving campus climate by fostering dialogue among students and administrators, in addition to implementing a food security plan and reforming financial aid.

Ramesh is running for EAVP on a largely student-safety oriented platform that includes addressing issues of crime prevention, police regulation and earthquake safety, and has been involved in the ASUC since his freshman year.

“I find it unbelievable that students who call this their home are afraid physically and mentally,” he said.

As EAVP, Ramesh hopes to work again with the Berkeley City Council to install LED streetlights in high crime areas, a project he started this year as a senator.

Ramesh’s ideas for police reform include creating a protesters’ bill of rights in the Berkeley Municipal Code and asking Berkeley Police Department to take responsibility for its actions during the December protests.

He also wants to facilitate a conversation between marginalized student communities and Berkeley and campus police to dispel stereotypes he said they may have about those groups. Ramesh hopes to create a racial sensitivity training requirement for UCPD at all campuses, as well as BPD.

Ramesh also said many students do not realize that there will be a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in the near future on the Hayward Fault line, which runs through Berkeley. He plans on prioritizing earthquake safety by pressuring the city’s housing and rent stabilization boards to expedite the retrofitting of buildings across the city, many of which house students.

Student Action announced its senate and executive vice president candidates Sunday, SQUELCH! announced its senate candidates Feb. 16, and CalSERVE announced its executive slate Monday.

Currently, three of the four executive ASUC senate positions — including that of EAVP Caitlin Quinn — are held by CalSERVE, coming after Student Action’s decision to only run a presidential candidate in last year’s election.

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.