The Defend Affirmative Action Party, a student political party closely connected to the activist organization By Any Means Necessary, announced executive candidates for all five seats — four of whom are also running for senate seats. DAAP also announced eight additional senate candidates for the 2016-17 ASUC elections.
Michael Cortez-Mejia, Thomas Moore, Aarefah Mosavi, Nancy Murillo and Stephanie Nicole Garcia will run for the positions of president, executive vice president, external affairs vice president, academic affairs vice president and student advocate, respectively.
DAAP has, in past elections, run candidates vying for multiple positions in order to try to aim for any position of office to “implement tangible change on campus,” according to Moore.
“We really try to aim for any position of office to get our politics across,” Cortez-Mejia said.
This election season, all DAAP election candidates have been reclassified to run as independent candidates, because of the party’s failure to file an online endorsement form and party filing fee.
According to Yvette Felarca, DAAP co-manager, DAAP considers the announcement as an “unprecedented attack” on the party, as well as on CalSERVE, stating that it is “a racist attack on two political parties that have historically represented minority students and the students who identity with progressive activism in UC Berkeley.”
Felarca added that DAAP is currently working on taking the matter to the ASUC Judicial Council to re-establish the candidates as a part of DAAP.
Some of the platforms the five candidates are running on include protecting the rights of minorities, demanding an end to sexual assault and to change the current climate change on campus, which many of the DAAP candidates call “hostile.” A DAAP candidate has not won a senate seat in nine years and has never won an executive position.
Cortez-Mejia, who previously ran for ASUC president in 2015 and is also running for senate, hopes to challenge the administration on the proposed fee hikes and implement a plan that automatically admits the top 10 percent of students attending Oakland high schools to the campus.
“I believe students in general are one of the most powerful forces in society,” Cortez-Mejia said. “I’ve been at Berkeley now for nearly two years, and … I’m much more prepared for all of the debates especially, which is what I look forward to the most.”
Running for both executive vice president and senate, Moore aims to give more rights and opportunities for student groups to be more active on campus as well as protect immigrants and defend survivors of rape and sexual assault.
Murillo, who is running for academic affairs vice president and senate, is looking to “combat the hostile campus climate” by stopping sexual assault and demanding a removal of all administrators who “are … covering up … sexual assault” as well as stopping the “privatization of UC Berkeley.”
Additionally, Mosavi, who is running for external affairs vice president, plans to fight for asylum seekers, remove Janet Napolitano as UC president and protect the rights of minorities on campus.
Student advocate and senate candidate Garcia will work to abolish UC Berkeley’s student code of conduct, which, according to Garcia, was written “by the UCB administration to protect the administration.”
This year, DAAP is also running Alina Xu, Azucena Zepeda, David Colby, Erfan Moradi, Hannah Dobrott, Julia Osborne, Susan Cifuentes and Yulissa Gutierrez solely as ASUC Senate candidates.
Senators such as Zepeda and Osborne are running on similar platforms as the executive candidate slate; they aim to double minority enrollment as well as take direct action to stand up for sexual assault survivors.
“We are proud of the changes we have already made. … (Our candidates) are leading the students in civil rights movements,” Felarca said.
ASUC elections will take place April 4, 5 and 6.
Sujin Shin covers student government. Contact her at [email protected].