Campus senior Jonathan “Bitcoin Jesus” Allen has taken former ASUC Senator Sunny Aggarwal’s seat after Aggarwal resigned last month because he was no longer an enrolled student.
Allen was sworn in as senator in October at a Judicial Council meeting, according to Dominique “Nickie” Lewis, the chief of staff to the ASUC executive vice president, or EVP. Allen, like Aggarwal, is a member of the Pirate Party, which aims to solve inefficiencies in ASUC decision-making using technology. He said the bureaucracy surrounding financial decisions could be “auto-checked and processed in a more timely fashion.”
“We’re supposed to be a tech-forward campus and I’d like to see it be representative of that,” Allen said.
In addition to the streamlining of financial decisions, Allen supports more engagement from the student community in ASUC decisions, such as through livestreams of ASUC senate meetings and Facebook polls of students.
Allen, who took Aggarwal’s place in the ASUC Finance Committee, also serves in the Office of the ASUC Intellectual Community Fund, which allocates money toward student events and programs that promote the free exchange of diverse knowledge.
According to ASUC bylaw 1102, Aggarwal could no longer serve as senator after he failed to re-enroll at UC Berkeley, a choice he made in order to focus on self-education about Blockchain and cryptoeconomics.
“Serving on the senate and enacting all these changes was something I was really looking forward to … (but) I’m happy that it’s Jon taking over,” Aggarwal said.
After Aggarwal’s resignation was accepted, the Elections Council determined that Allen was next in line based on a retabulation of last year’s election results, excluding all unsuccessful senator candidates who were unwilling to replace Aggarwal, according to Elections Council Chair Shirin Moti.
While senate-elects typically attend the weeklong Senate Leadership Institute to learn about the ASUC’s institutional practices, history and bylaws, Allen underwent an accelerated version to catch up, according to Lewis.
Lewis added that it is uncommon for a Senator to resign and be replaced as late as October, and that the situation has been recorded to provide precedent for future EVPs to follow.
“A Senator should be a voice for their constituents and that’s something I hope I can continue to do,” Allen said.