State funding for public universities is rapidly declining, landmark June primaries and November midterm elections are around the corner, and Berkeley’s housing crisis shows no signs of abatement.
While state and local trends seem stacked against the Berkeley community, CalSERVE’s Nuha Khalfay is the only candidate on the ballot who is informed, committed and prepared to advocate for students.
California legislators repeatedly accuse the UC of mismanaging its budget and are reluctant to increase its funds. But Khalfay’s past experience lobbying in Sacramento makes her well equipped to approach members of the legislature with clear and specific demands.
Khalfay also recognizes the value of applying consistent public pressure to those in power; UC Regent Norman Pattiz resigned after student leaders, Khalfay included, protested repeatedly.
In an interview with The Daily Californian editorial board, Khalfay also expressed a desire to increase Title IX protections and advocacy, which the current external affairs vice president, or EAVP, Rigel Robinson has stayed largely quiet on.
Moreover, Khalfay demonstrated an in-depth understanding of important city issues, such as the impact that a shuttered Alta Bates would leave on students. But her plans to address the housing crisis need clarity — she gave few details about how specifically she would hold Chancellor Carol Christ “accountable” on her housing goals, and she was wishy washy on support for the amended SB 827 bill that would boost housing near transit areas. Still, Khalfay has proved she’s capable of developing and executing a concrete plan.
Though misguided, Derek Topper, Khalfay’s only opponent and a former distribution analyst for The Daily Californian, had an admirable goal when he decided to run: He hoped to challenge the otherwise unopposed EAVP and executive vice president candidates to give students more “choice.”
But Topper’s efforts to provide a robust challenge to his opposition fell flat. He initially missed his scheduled interview with the Daily Cal editorial board, backed out of attending the paper’s ASUC election forum and had no platforms other than the act of his presence on the ticket. There is a place for fresh and thoughtful debates on the roles and responsibilities of the EAVP’s office, but Topper didn’t provide this.
Despite the sparse competition, Khalfay offered both a competitive set of skills and a compelling reason to vote for her.
Vote Nuha Khalfay for external affairs vice president.
Opinion editor Chantelle Lee recused herself from the discussion of this endorsement because of her social relationship with Derek Topper.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.
A previous version of this article failed to disclose that Derek Topper formerly worked at The Daily Californian.
A previous version of this editorial incorrectly stated that Rigel Robinson was the 2017-18 ASUC executive affairs vice president. In fact, he was the 2017-18 ASUC external affairs vice president.