CalSERVE announces 6 ASUC Senate candidates

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CalSERVE, a campus political party represented as a progressive coalition, announced six ASUC Senate candidates Sunday for the upcoming general elections, eight fewer than the number represented in last year’s slate.

This year, CalSERVE is running six candidates compared to last year’s 14 as part of the party’s effort to campaign as a coalition of community-centered advocates representing populations on campus who have been historically marginalized. Their platforms revolve around a variety of issues affecting students, ranging from increasing affordable housing to making financial aid more accessible.

The slate includes Harshil Bansal, Juniperangelica Cordova, Jessica Yang, Rizza Estacio, Hani Hussein and Carmel Gutherz. Together, the candidates represent communities such as the Pilipinx, queer and trans, Black & Afrikan diaspora, transfer, and disabled students communities, according to party chair Zahra Abadin.

While Yang’s platforms focus on eradicating homelessness and involving students in local politics, candidates such as Cordova and Gutherz intend to work on making student housing more affordable and making transfer students feel more included in the campus community. Bansal hopes to create a program that would subsidize the costs for students moving in and out of the residence halls, as well as make the process of allocating funds for clubs more transparent.

Cordova, a junior majoring in political science and Chicano studies, is running on platforms focused on increasing housing, improving mental health awareness and ensuring student safety. She intends to collaborate with the Homeless Students Union and the Basic Needs Coalition in order to alleviate student poverty, specifically advocating for more real estate projects and stabilizing housing costs.

“I recognize the fact that it’s almost harder to stay here than get in,” Cordova said. “I want to make sure that students who get an education here are able to survive.”

Estacio, a sophomore majoring in molecular and cell biology and English, who is also the Pilipinx-endorsed senator, is running on platforms geared toward revamping consent education practices, making financial aid more accessible for low income students and eliminating lecture hall names representing colonizers and slave owners.

Because Estacio has mobilized to protest the cancel for non-payment policy, she said she is knowledgeable in working with the administration to prevent financial aid policies from hindering low income students’ abilities to pay their tuition.

“With a lot of job cuts happening in Sproul Hall, a lot of financial aid does not get dispersed in a timely manner,” Estacio said. “When that is not paid, (students’) meal points are cut off, their access to the library and RSF are cut off — the idea of just making sure we can hold the university accountable. The idea that we are going to punish students for being low income is discriminatory.”

A junior transfer student majoring in social welfare, Hussein intends to work toward adjusting financial aid to account for the cost of living, supporting Black education and providing more mental health services to students. If elected as a senator, she plants to work with the financial aid office to ensure financial aid policies are consistently updated to match living expenses of low income students.

Additionally, she said more mental health services can be established by developing programs aimed at expanding campus services such as Counseling and Psychological Services and peer support groups.

The candidates agree that despite representing a smaller slate than last year, their goals have remained the same.

“The themes between all of these candidates is resistance —  upholding the idea that servitude toward your community is the thing that drives us,” Estacio said. “The thing that powers us the most is our community. Our community’s support and our identification within our communities is the greatest thing all of us carry.”

Cassandra Vogel is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @cass_vogxz.