Jimmy Draper announces independent campaign for ASUC Senate

Daniel Kim/Staff

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Campus sophomore Jimmy Draper announced Sunday evening his independent senatorial campaign for the upcoming ASUC elections.

Draper’s platforms span a number of campus-related issues, which include class enrollment, student costs and access to campus facilities. Draper said he was driven to run for ASUC Senate because he noticed a disconnect between student activism and policy changes on campus.

“I thought that my energy and enthusiasm would go pretty far,” Draper said. “I really have a passion for representing other people’s issues that are not necessarily my own.”

Prior to his spring 2017 senatorial campaign, Draper had experience working in the ASUC. In the fall 2016 semester, he worked in Senator Rigel Robinson’s office as the political engagement department chair, where he was responsible for rallying voters on Election Day. Also during this time, Draper served as Senator Miranda Hernandez’s policy analyst, reviewing and critiquing senate bills.

While working in Hernandez’s office, Draper and several others helped put together an Emergency Medical Technician tent at Channing Circle on Halloween weekend, which was staffed by UCPD, Berkeley Medical Reserve Corps and [email protected], according to Draper. Draper said as one of his platforms, he wants to implement a similar tent on Channing Circle every Friday and Saturday night, to increase safety around UC Berkeley’s party culture.

Draper’s other platforms also relate to student life. One of his platforms involves the reallocation of campus funds toward extending daily hours of campus facilities, such as libraries and dining halls, in order to expand accessibility to these resources. Additionally, Draper said he wants to implement a campuswide price limit of $50 for required course materials per class and add a “Phase 0” to the semesterly enrollment cycle — a period of time prior to Phase 1 during which students would submit to campus administration their ideal courses for the following semester. According to Draper, campus administration could use the information aggregated from “Phase 0” to plan ahead for class demand and settle waitlist and class availability issues earlier.

“It’s really, really difficult and almost like a part-time job to figure out your schedule,” Draper said. “Additionally … you end up being in classes that you don’t even really want to take.”

Draper said his decision to run as an independent senator stemmed from a desire to distance himself from party politics, adding that as an LGBT individual, he believed proper representation among student body elected officials was necessary.

“I just want to spend most of my time benefiting the student body,” Draper said. “I am an independent myself, politically — I like to look at every issue from an analytical focus, and I … wanted to bring that to the student body.”

Harini Shyamsundar is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @hshyamsundar.