ASUC Pirate Party Senator no longer enrolled at UC Berkeley, set to resign

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ASUC Senator Sunny Aggarwal, who represents the Pirate Party, is set to resign from his Senate seat because he is no longer an enrolled student at UC Berkeley this semester. The seat will remain vacant until votes from last semester’s elections are retabulated and a new senator is elected to replace him.

ASUC bylaw 1102 states that an elected senator must be an enrolled UC Berkeley student. Because Sunny Aggarwal did not enroll as a student this semester, he can no longer continue working as a senator for the ASUC. According to ASUC Chief Personnel Officer Evan Cui, Aggarwal could not resign prior to this week because an ASUC Judicial Council was not in place to approve his resignation.

“The situation is quite cordial between the association and Sunny,” Cui said in an email. “(H)e understands that he cannot continue serving, and as such, has agreed to resign.”

Aggarwal said he believes there are more efficient ways to obtain education than by being a student, adding that he intends to spend this semester focusing on research and devoting more time to running campus cryptography club Blockchain at Berkeley, which he helped found. Aggarwal added that he initially planned to graduate a year early in 2018, but he is now unsure if he will return next year to complete his degree.

After Aggarwal’s resignation is accepted, the Judicial Council will work with Elections Council chair Shirin Moti to determine a replacement senator for the remainder of the term. A retabulation of the ballots that elected Aggarwal will be conducted among the “still willing and eligible candidates who have not become Senators,” as per article 3-A Section 3J of the ASUC constitution. The process will ensure that all of Aggarwal’s votes will be redistributed to the second-ranked person on the ballots of people who voted for him.

Aggarwal said he is confident that a Pirate Party candidate will replace him because, according to Aggarwal, people who voted for him voted for the Pirate Party as a bloc. Aggarwal believes that his votes will be passed on to Jonathan Allen, a co-founder of Blockchain at Berkeley and a former Pirate Party senate candidate who ran alongside Aggarwal. According to Aggarwal, if elected, Allen will continue working on the issues that Aggarwal advocated for, which include decreasing bureaucracy in the ASUC and reformatting the process through which campus clubs are allocated funds.

Aggarwal added that he would be happy to help Allen transition to the new position.

With regard to the role he has played in the ASUC Senate this semester, Aggarwal said he has tried to remain a dissenting voice.

“A lot of people like to group-think, which is something I like to urge against,” Aggarwal said.

Although he praised the ASUC for teaching him about governance, Aggarwal was also critical of the body’s decision-making tactics. He proposed greater discussion and more community involvement in the future.

“(The) senate class has to take into very deep consideration the impact of what (it does),” Aggarwal said.

The Judicial Council will vote to approve Aggarwal’s resignation Oct. 6.

Azwar Shakeel is the lead student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @azwarshakeel12.