Cooperative Movement Party announces its sole ASUC senate candidate

Rachael Garner/Staff

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On Thursday night, the Cooperative Movement Party announced Sheena Paul as its sole senate candidate for the upcoming ASUC elections.

Paul, a sophomore history and social welfare double major, is running on platforms of advocating more affordable student housing, empowering survivors of sexual assault and increasing the accessibility of tutoring at the Student Learning Center.

The party has elected four senators since its founding in 2008 and primarily represents the approximately 1,300 members of the Berkeley Student Cooperative nonprofit organization. Paul previously lived in the Casa Zimbabwe cooperative and currently resides at the Lothlorien cooperative.

Paul said she hopes to create partnerships with campus offices to ensure that more students are aware of the cooperative housing option and have access to scholarships intended specifically for students in the co-ops.

As a survivor of sexual assault and a member of the ASUC Sexual Assault Commission, Paul wants to centralize resources for other survivors, while taking into consideration their feedback and evaluations.

“All experiences are different, but the most vital thing is to be really empowering survivors in discovering their own healing process,” she said.

Paul works in the ASUC offices of both the president and the external affairs vice president as a mental health programs co-director and campus safety manager, respectively.

She also said she aims to expand tutoring hours at the SLC in response to the lack of accessibility at night, in particular for students who work or take heavy course loads.

Within the BSC community, Paul serves as a member-at-large of the BSC Demographic Inclusion Task Force, which she said has been working on “how to make co-ops more affordable” and creating “an inclusive safe space.”

“Representing the co-ops — I would honestly describe it as a lot of fun,” Paul said. “I feel like a lot less of a politician and kind of like a family member.”

Prior to the party’s inception, the co-op community was typically represented by the traditionally progressive campus party CalSERVE.

According to CalSERVE senator and Cooperative Movement Party chair Austin Pritzkat, Paul was selected for her experience, as well as her “strong values and vision.”

The cooperative party partnered with CalSERVE last year, successfully running Pritzkat under both parties. The recently updated ASUC election bylaws, however, prevent candidates from being endorsed by multiple parties.

SQUELCH! announced three nonsatirical candidates Feb. 16, Student Action’s senate slate was announced Mar. 1 and independent candidate Sumayyah Din, backed by the Middle Eastern Muslim Sikh and South Asian Coalition, announced her candidacy Sunday night. On Monday, Cuahuctemoc Salinas announced his intent to run as an independent candidate, and CalSERVE released a 15-candidate senate slate.

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


Angel Grace Jennings covers student government. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @angeljenningss.