SQUELCH! announces husky as 2016-17 presidential candidate

Ariel Hayat/Senior Staff

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The SQUELCH! party announced Thursday a satirical ASUC presidential candidate, Kira the Husky, running on platforms of “bipawtisanship,” counseling for “ruff” days and pigeon extermination, among others.

SQUELCH! typically ran one serious ASUC Senate candidate alongside a slate of satirical executive candidates before 2013, but it has begun slating only serious senate candidates in recent years. Last year was the first instance since 2012 when the party included a satirical executive slate, including one nonhuman candidate, a hermit crab.

According to Andrea Rose, SQUELCH!’s creative director, the party chose to run only a presidential candidate this election season in order to better focus its efforts on a single candidate who it “really believed could make effective change on campus.”

Kira has chosen to run for president in the hopes of making the ASUC “more accessible, transparent and bipawtisan.” Her approachable personality — Rose called her “one of the friendliest dogs I’ve ever met” — allows her to relate to the diverse needs of human and nonhuman students, according to the creative director.

Through her presidential campaign, Kira hopes to address mental health and affordable housing at UC Berkeley by implementing concrete plans that would benefit both humans and four-legged creatures.

If elected, Kira hopes to work with the Tang Center to secure five free “Who’s a Good Dog?” counseling sessions for all students. These sessions would consist of a few words of encouragement and scratches behind the ear, as well as several repetitions of the phrase, “Who’s a good dog?”

Kira also aims to increase housing for nonhuman students by working with student groups and administrators to establish a group living accommodation to fit the needs of four-legged creatures and “maybe snakes and birds on occasion.”

“We exist in a housing market where nonhumans are pushed out by ‘actual humans,’ ” Rose said, speaking on behalf of Kira. “She has already witnessed a lot of demand among the community of other Berkeley pets.”

Kira’s final platform addresses the presence of pigeons on campus, with the goal of exterminating them altogether. Creating a pigeon-elimination committee — consisting only of herself — will ensure that she stops at nothing to eradicate all pigeons at UC Berkeley, according to Kira.

Current SQUELCH! Senator Zoe Brouns expressed strong support for pigeon extermination, calling it an issue close to her heart.

“One time, a pigeon pooped on my face, so this affects me very personally,” she said. “I can see there being some disagreements about eradicating an entire species from campus, but that’s what democracy is all about.”

While Kira does plan to dedicate some time to campaigning alongside the other candidates on Sproul Plaza during election season, she cannot commit as many hours as other candidates because of her strict sleep and play schedule. Still, Kira has been hard at work on the campaign trail, shaking the hands and sniffing the butts of her constituents, according to Rose.

If elected as ASUC president, Kira will host a celebration with her staff involving lots of tennis balls and peanut butter, Rose said.

SQUELCH! released three senate candidates Feb. 7. The 2016-17 ASUC general elections are scheduled for April 4, 5 and 6.

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