Student Action releases 3-person executive slate for ASUC elections

Amanda Ramirez/Senior Staff

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Student Action announced its three-person executive slate for the 2019 ASUC election season Sunday night, hoping to ride the party’s success of last year’s winning three-person slate.

Current ASUC senators Amma Sarkodee-Adoo and Andy Theocharous are running for president and executive vice president, or EVP, respectively. Aastha Jha, chief of staff to current academic affairs vice president, or AAVP, Melany Amarikwa, is running for her office’s top position.

Student Action has traditionally represented Greek life as well as the engineering and Jewish communities on campus. Sarkodee-Adoo, a junior studying political science, said the party was conscious about slating people who are ready to uplift “all voices,” adding that each candidate is committed to “tangible action.”

Sarkodee-Adoo’s platforms include pushing for graduate student representation on ASUC committees and commissions, ensuring that UCPD officers participate in implicit bias training and raising students’ voices regarding changes to campus meal plans and the Student Health Insurance Plan.

In her role as senator, Sarkodee-Adoo represents the Greek community — a community she said is “historically flawed and that is flawed to this day.” She successfully established a fee waiver in time for the UC Berkeley Panhellenic Council’s 2018 fall recruitment in an effort to make the community more financially accessible.

“The most important part of being an executive official is listening to community leaders and using the privilege you have as a leader to execute that,” Sarkodee-Adoo said. “It would be my job as president to empower community members to speak for themselves.”

Theocharous, a sophomore studying economics and global studies, said he wants to involve the EVP office more with campus administration and establish a better relationship between students and the ASUC. Theocharous noted that current EVP Hung Huynh has been “absorbed” with allocating funds to registered student organizations, or RSOs, and Theocharous added that if he is elected, he wants to make the role less “internal.”

Theocharous’ platforms include streamlining the process for funding RSOs through CalLink and ensuring that once the Queer Alliance Resource Center moves out of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, the space will go to a community that will make the most of it. He also plans to advocate for hiring “internship coordinators” and funding summer internship opportunities for low-income students.

“My work and my experience when it comes to my community gives me the skill and the network — as well as the insight — to push work for all communities on campus,” Theocharous said.

Jha, a junior studying economics and data science, has worked in the AAVP office for two years under both Amarikwa and former AAVP Iyan Bullitt. Jha’s platforms include improving academic resources — including printing services and affordable off-campus Wi-Fi — and pushing for a more diverse faculty by implementing undergraduate representation on hiring committees.

This year, the AAVP office secured laptops for students in the 2019 Summer Bridge program. Jha hopes that by 2020, the cost of a laptop will be included in the package of every student who receives financial aid. The office also secured funding for free menstrual products on campus in 2018 — a project initially started by former ASUC senator Megha Torpunuri, under whom Jha served as chief of staff.

Jha said these successes can in part be attributed to the “continuity” of the AAVP office — Student Action has held the position for the past three years.

“We’ve established these relationships where (the administration has) seen that we’re committed to the projects that we start,” Jha said. “We’re not going to leave them midway.”

Voting for the ASUC elections will be held April 8, 9 and 10.

Anjali Shrivastava is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anjalii_shrivas.