Two student candidates, campaigning on issues such as tuition hikes and partnerships with city government, as well as a satirical candidate — a hermit crab with a human proxy — are running for the ASUC office of external affairs vice president.
The EAVP office is responsible for representing the ASUC’s position on matters involving other campuses, schools and students from outside UC Berkeley, according to the 2015 ASUC voters’ guide. The student elected to this position will also supervise the appointment of students to UC systemwide committees, lobby for students on a statewide level and act as the official ASUC representative to the association of UC campuses.
The candidates for EAVP this year are junior Vinay Ramesh, running with the Student Action party; junior Marium Navid, running with the CalSERVE party; and a satirical candidate running with the SQUELCH! party, a hermit crab running by proxy through senior Sam Heinz.
One of Navid’s platforms includes working with the city to expand its Housing Trust Fund and making sure new funds go toward the construction of affordable student housing.
Navid also said she hopes to implement a tenants’ rights education program to help students transition from on-campus to off-campus housing. Berkeley, she noted, “is in one of our nation’s most expensive housing markets.”
“The university is supposed to be accessible to everyone, and it is the university’s responsibility to make sure that they also allow the students to feel fiscally safe in their own home,” Navid said.
Ramesh’s platforms include working with city officials. He said he plans to improve street lighting throughout high-crime areas where students live, which he said would bolster their sense of safety. Ramesh, who served on the city of Berkeley’s Commission of Human Welfare & Community Action his sophomore year, emphasized his experience with members of City Council as a crucial tool for helping him achieve his goals.
“It kind of disappoints me that students who go to Cal do not feel safe at home,” Ramesh said. “How can we make sure late at night that they are feeling safe and they know exactly where they are going?”
Navid said she will lobby for increased state funding to the university, legislation to redirect money from the prison system to education and a proposed state constitutional amendment that would increase state oversight over the UC regents. Ramesh proposed a student-faculty lobbying commission, intended to partner faculty members with students in lobbying efforts.
Navid’s other goals include increasing student input to the regents’ decision-making process and working with local school districts to “develop an effective pipeline for underserved students,” who do not have sufficient opportunity to access the campus’s resources, she said.
Ramesh’s other focuses include promoting efforts to seismically retrofit older campus buildings and supporting racial sensitivity training for campus police throughout the UC system. He also hopes the city will create a protesters’ bill of rights, in response to protests that took place in Berkeley in December.
Heinz’s platforms include appropriating funds toward the construction of shell-changing stations in campus facilities and creating a more inclusive campus environment by putting sand and water in every classroom.
“I got him from the Petco in El Cerrito,” Heinz, the crab’s human proxy, said. “His background in politics is — he has none. He is a crab.”
In addition to a satirical executive slate, SQUELCH! is running three serious candidates for ASUC Senate. In previous years, the party has run satirical candidates as well as serious ones.
The ASUC elections will take place from April 7, 8 and 9.