MEMSSA-backed candidate will run for ASUC Senate as independent

Octavia Petrut/Courtesy

Related Posts

UC Berkeley sophomore Sumayyah Din announced Sunday night that she will run for senate in this spring’s ASUC elections as an independent candidate.

Although not affiliated with a party, Din is endorsed by the campus’s Middle Eastern Muslim Sikh and South Asian Coalition, or MEMSSA. Her platforms address issues of campus climate and police reform, in addition to a proposal to restart an ASUC lecture note service.

Last year, MEMSSA endorsed Henna Kaushal and current independent senator Marium Navid, who ran as a team. Navid is now running for external affairs vice president with CalSERVE. In 2013, the coalition backed Taliah Mirmalek and Naweed Mohabbat, the latter of whom won his independent senate campaign and then ran for president with CalSERVE.

Din worked as communications director in Mohabbat’s office during her freshman year. This year, she has worked with various organizing efforts, including a campaign to pass Proposition 47, which passed in November and reduces sentences for certain drug and property offenses.

She has also been speaking to Councilmember Jesse Arreguin and others on the issue of police militarization. She noted the campus police department’s possession of military-grade weapons and said she would ultimately like to see money go instead to restorative justice training.

“These baby steps are definitely necessary,” Din said. “It’s an issue nationwide, but it’s an issue on campus as well.”

Additionally, Din wants to hold the campus administration accountable after what she described as a lack of concern about the impact of Bill Maher speaking at fall commencement. The choice to invite Maher, a comedian, faced pushback due to his harsh criticism of religion, particularly Islam.

She has also come up with a proposal to revitalize an ASUC program that used to provide lecture notes to students but ended due to financial problems.

“It’s a critical resource,” Din said. “I think it’d be really cool to bring it back, and I think it’s very feasible.”

MEMSSA voted to support Din in February. According to Navid, who chairs the coalition, members of the community decided to pick one candidate as opposed to two this year, partially to avoid the strain of running two candidates and only seeing one win, as has happened in the past.

“I don’t think our coalition this year is at a point at which we can really afford to be straining the community in that way,” Navid said. “Right now, our priority is strengthening the community within.”

SQUELCH! announced a three-person senate slate on Feb. 16, and Student Action announced 14 candidates on March 1. CalSERVE has not announced a senate slate yet.

ASUC elections are set to take place on April 7, 8 and 9.

Melissa Wen is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @melissalwen.