2018 ASUC executive candidates talk campus politics, major platforms at Daily Cal forum

Joshua Jordan/Senior Staff

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Candidates running for ASUC executive positions had a chance to speak directly to the campus community in a forum held Friday night by The Daily Californian.

During the event, candidates shared their perspectives on a variety of issues, including housing, mental health, basic needs security and the protection of undocumented students.

CalSERVE presidential candidate Juniperangelica Cordova said she felt survival was the most pressing issue on campus, and she mentioned that she’s “still here” despite being the kind of student that has been “historically pushed out of this university.”

Student Action presidential candidate Alexander Wilfert said his campaign is about “subverting the culture of complacency” that exists on campus. He emphasized ending campus militarization and increasing funds for basic needs security.

The third presidential candidate, the Defend Affirmative Action Party’s Stephanie Gutierrez, is running for both president and senate on platforms to remove President Donald Trump from office.

CalSERVE’s external affairs vice president, or EAVP, candidate Nuha Khalfay was the only EAVP candidate present at the forum, and she emphasized the importance of “uplifting student narratives.”

Student Action executive vice president candidate Hung Hyunh was similarly alone during the executive vice president, or EVP, discussion, and he said he hoped to give senators a space in senate to feel comfortable voicing their opinions.

Independent candidate Derek Topper, who also ran for senate independently last year and is a former distribution analyst for The Daily Californian, is currently running against both Khalfay and Huynh for EAVP and EVP, respectively, but he did not attend the forum. He declined to comment on his platforms or his absence.

Student Action is running Melany Amarikwa for academic affairs vice president, or AAVP. Amarikwa, who is chief of staff to current AAVP Iyan Bullitt, said she observed the campus’ failure to support students “academically, mentally and professionally.”

In opposition to Amarikwa, CalSERVE is running Rizza Estacio, making the AAVP race the only one where both major parties are running candidates. Estacio critiqued the administration for being “classist, racist and sexist.”

The student advocate candidates were also present at the forum — independent candidate Sophie Bandarkar, who is the current student advocate’s external chief of staff, touched on the necessity of having a “deep understanding of case work and bureaucracy” in this role, while the Defend Affirmative Action Party’s Casey Leeds plans to “bring the movement to defeat Trump to the ASUC.”

The forum also covered two referendums that will be on the ballot — the Student Transformation through Academic Recruitment and Retention referendum, or STARR, would cost students $53 yearly and would secure long-term funding for the bridges Multicultural Resource Center and seven coalition centers.

The second referendum is the Enrollment Clarification Act, which would amend the ASUC Constitution and change the requirements for ASUC participation.

The 2018 ASUC elections voting will take place April 9-11.

Contact Janani Natarajan at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jrnatarajan.

A previous version of this article failed to disclose that Derek Topper formerly worked at The Daily Californian.