SQUELCH! releases slate of three nonsatirical candidates for ASUC Senate

Ariel Hayat/Senior Staff

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The SQUELCH! party announced its three nonsatirical senatorial candidates for the upcoming ASUC election Sunday. It is the first party to announce its slate this season.

SQUELCH!’s three senatorial candidates — Anthony Carrasco, Marandah Field-Elliot and Guillermo Perez — are running on serious platforms and aim to address concerns including sexual assault survivors, the Greek system and students of faith.

This year’s candidates said they chose to run with SQUELCH! because of the party’s flexibility with its candidates’ campaign platforms. According to party chair Jake Fineman, SQUELCH! prides itself on keeping its senate slates small so as to avoid labeling senators with narrow identities.

As per tradition, SQUELCH! still hopes to bring a humorous slant to its campaign, though it has yet to decide if it will run a satirical executive slate, as it did last election season for the first time since 2012.

“We use our satire very intentionally to make our points,” he said. “We want our candidates to win, but mostly we want people to come out and be engaged to best represent the student body.”

The candidates boast prior experience from a variety of offices within the ASUC. Field-Elliot, a sophomore, has worked extensively within the ASUC Sexual Assault Commission since her first semester on campus. Carrasco worked in former Academic Affairs Vice President Mon-Shane Chou’s office, while Perez worked for former ASUC President Pavan Upadhyayula and campaigned for Paul Lee, who ran for office with Student Action last spring.

Field-Elliot hopes to continue her work combatting sexual assault while in office by consolidating existing campus efforts. Also, she aims to engage students in the 2016 general elections and improve student access to mental and reproductive healthcare.

“We have people working on sexual assault in different corners of campus separately,” she said. “At first I was trying to come up with big flashy projects to solve the issue, but I figured it makes more sense to address and strengthen what’s already available.”

Carrasco, inspired by his time working at a nonprofit that aids homeless people with substance use disorders, is interested in reforming drug policies on campus. Zero tolerance policies, he said, discourage students from calling ambulances for drug-related emergencies because of the possibility of suspension or expulsion in extreme cases.

“The policy is so successful at discouraging bystander intervention that it makes our campus significantly less safe,” he said. “We like to think of ourselves as a very progressive university, but it’s surprising to me that the policies on book are so antiquated.”

Carrasco’s campaign will tackle affordable housing by working to reduce secondary costs associated with finding student housing. Carrasco’s final platform aims to “create a channel” for dialogue between faith groups that often feel misunderstood and the ASUC.

Hailing from the Greek community, Perez’s campaign will prioritize diversity within the Greek system. As part of his efforts, Perez plans to publish a guidebook for fraternities and sororities that will include educational information about diversity and inclusion of underrepresented minorities for recruiters and potential new members.

Perez said his campaign nickname, which SQUELCH! candidates usually choose for themselves, will be “Guillermo with the Flow.” He said his nickname reflects his long hair but also “going with the flow in the sense of Hakuna Matata.”

Perez also emphasized the necessity of reducing partisanship on the senate floor.

“There are a lot of great initiatives coming out of senate right now, but they’re getting caught up in partisanship,” Perez said. “At the end of the day, we’re all Cal students.”

The 2016-17 ASUC general elections are tentatively scheduled for April 5, 6 and 7.

Ariel Hayat is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ArielHayat.