Student Action releases executive candidate slate for ASUC elections

Ariel Hayat/Senior Staff

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After CalSERVE’s sweep of four executive seats last year, Student Action released its executive candidates Sunday evening for the upcoming ASUC general elections.

Current Student Action Senators Will Morrow, Alicia Lau and Andre Luu will run for the positions of president, executive vice president and external affairs vice president, respectively. Campus junior Frances McGinley, who has served in the ASUC but not as an elected official, is slated as the academic affairs vice presidential candidate.

Student Action’s executive candidates will be running on a slatewide platform of addressing issues presented by the 750 additional in-state undergraduate students the campus will enroll this fall as part of a funding agreement between the University of California and the state.

“This will threaten the university’s capacity spacewise, and we need student leadership during this time of transition to make sure it’s fair and equitable to all students,” Morrow said.

The candidates hope to work with UC President Janet Napolitano to ensure that future enrollment increases coincide with increased funding for areas including graduate and undergraduate student instructors, guaranteed housing for all incoming students and earmarked funding for student affairs. Future enrollment growth planned by the university, the candidates said, should receive the approval of the respective campuses’ student government president and chancellor.

Morrow, a junior majoring in political science, currently serves as chair of the ASUC Governance and Internal Affairs Committee and sits on the Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee.

As president, Morrow would want to help students get the best value out of a UC Berkeley education, find close-knit communities on campus and provide spaces for students’ ideas to thrive.

His specific goals include establishing an incentivized meal plan program through vendors housed in the ASUC Student Union and offering a class for students to discuss issues pertinent to college life, such as drinking culture, consensual relationships and financial wellness. He also plans to host a campuswide hackathon to create solutions for social problems.

Lau, a junior majoring in business administration, has worked as an ASUC senator to establish a mentorship program within the campus’s Haas School of Business. She also organized Run for You 5K, a communitywide run that raised funding for 50 counseling sessions at the Tang Center.

If elected, Lau plans to collaborate with the campus Graduate Assembly to connect graduate student mentors with undergraduates and to streamline processes in Eshleman Hall, such as financial reimbursement and keycard-access granting.

“The ASUC holds a lot of power, and it’s my duty to empower student organizations,” Lau said, adding that streamlining such processes would give student organizations more agency.

Luu, a sophomore double majoring in peace and conflict studies and anthropology, wants to better integrate international students into campus life, urge the university to retain financial aid for out-of-state students and increase civic engagement among students.

“It’s important for us to focus on civic engagement not only on our campus but on the statewide level,” Luu said. “This is a great opportunity to finally empower student voters through these 2016 elections.”

McGinley, a junior majoring in social welfare, currently works in Student Action Senator Rachel Schuster’s office and serves as co-director of Greeks Against Sexual Assault. She wants to prioritize mental health and support sexual assault survivors through an increase in the wellness referendum fee and by securing sensitivity training for UCPD officers working with survivors.

“My own personal experiences provided insight into where there’s flaws in the system,” she said, regarding how the campus handles mental health and sexual assault.

McGinley also aims to establish a textbook price cap and provide openly licensed textbooks — that are available for free online and affordable in print — for students.

There have been only three instances in the last 20 elections in which Student Action did not win any executive seats, last year being the most recent. CalSERVE, which currently holds all four partisan executive seats, is historically Student Action’s primary rival party.

Student Action is the first party to release its executive slate this election season.

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

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that CalSERVE holds all four executive seats. In fact, CalSERVE holds all four executive partisan seats, while the student advocate role, the fifth executive position, is not held by any party and is traditionally nonpartisan.