There’s only one clear choice for student advocate: Sophie Bandarkar.
The student advocate must be able to navigate meetings with administrators, fight for funding and manage casework with both tact and compassion. With three years in the Student Advocate’s Office — two as a caseworker and one as the external chief of staff — Bandarkar has extensive and unparalleled institutional knowledge to do just that.
In an interview with The Daily Californian editorial board, Bandarkar proved herself to be articulate and well-versed in the issues the student advocate must tackle. Her platforms echo the work of past student advocates: ensuring basic needs security, promoting equity in academics and bolstering casework resources for everything from grade disputes to sexual misconduct cases. They show her commitment to continuity and completing long-term (but feasible) goals.
Bandarkar’s plan to advocate for policies promoting student retention, access to academic spaces and increased accommodations in the Disabled Students’ Program reflects a comprehensive perspective on student needs.
Next year, she will also continue to serve as the only UC Berkeley undergraduate representative on the UC-wide Title IX student advisory board, which will be integral to ensure campus students’ voices are heard on a university level.
No one can compete with her highly qualified skill set — including her sole opponent, Casey Leeds, who is running with the Defend Affirmative Action Party.
Leeds has never worked in SAO before, and in an interview with the Daily Cal editorial board, she showed a limited grasp on what the office can and should do. Her plan to “remove Trump from office” falls outside the realm of SAO, and she completely dismissed the importance of having casework experience in the office — she said that the office’s work was “not rocket science” and that she was “not concerned” about her lack of experience.
But student advocate is no easy task. And Bandarkar is the only candidate with the experience and ideas needed to handle this difficult responsibility.
Vote Sophie Bandarkar for student advocate.
Editorial board member Sophie Goethals recused herself from the discussion of this endorsement because of her social relationship with Sophie Bandarkar.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.