ASUC executives endorse Jesse Arreguin for Berkeley mayor

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A number of ASUC executives and senators have announced their endorsement for Berkeley mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguin ahead of next week’s election.

ASUC President Will Morrow, External Affairs Vice President André Luu, Executive Vice President Alicia Lau and Academic Affairs Vice President Frances McGinley announced their support last week, joining Senators Chris Yamas and Rigel Robinson and student organizations such as Cal Berkeley Democrats.

“I got my start in public service with the ASUC, and getting their endorsement means a lot to me,” said Arreguin, a UC Berkeley alumnus.

According to Luu, Arreguin has shown efforts to work with students and willingness to advocate for housing, safety and other issues that students are concerned with.

“Jesse exemplifies a commitment to progress, a commitment to leadership, and a commitment to caring,” Morrow said in the press release “Those are the qualities Berkeley needs in its next mayor.”

The press release consisted of a photo of the four ASUC Senate executives with Arreguin in Eshleman Hall and included a disclaimer that the name and title of each ASUC executive, marked with asterisks, are “for identification purposes only.”

According to ASUC Chief Legal Officer Alek Klimek, the ASUC as an organization is prohibited by its constitution from officially endorsing candidates who run for public office.

“However, this does not restrict what our officers can do as private individuals. It is generally accepted that officers of a nonprofit organization may use their title for identification purposes when making a private endorsement,” Klimek wrote in an email, adding that, however, he does not believe it is an explicit requirement.

After Luu appeared in an online advertisement endorsing City Council candidate Susan Wengraf that did not include the asterisk disclaimer, ASUC Chief Legal Officer Alek Klimek introduced a resolution to the senate that would clarify existing rules regarding endorsements and would require the disclaimer.

Klimek has previously told The Daily Californian in an email that when making a private endorsement, ASUC officials are not allowed to use ASUC resources, including ASUC meeting rooms.

“I do not think standing in a photo with Mr. Arreguin is “confusing” students about where I stand politically because I have made it known that I support Mr. Arreguin as an individual voter but not as the AAVP,” said McGinley in an email.

Luu said it is clear that he endorses Arreguin as a private person, and the ASUC always mentions titles. He added that he sees the distinction between personal- and official-capacity endorsements as “a legal issue,” and emphasized the importance of encouraging students to vote.

“Everything that passes through the City Council has direct impact on us students,” Luu said. “It really matters that students vote in this local election.”

Arreguin as well as Robinson said ASUC officials’ personal endorsements are valuable to help students make decisions in local elections.

“If a student knows they trust the values and moral compass of, for example, Will Morrow, trusting his endorsement can make voting that much easier,” Robinson said in an email.

Staff writer Sakura Cannestra contributed to this report.

Contact Charlotte Kosche at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @CharlotteKosche.