UC Berkeley senior Jonathan Epstein has decided to withdraw his candidacy for External Affairs Vice President, or EAVP, in the 2019 ASUC elections.
Epstein, who is studying business administration, said in an email that he wanted to run to encourage voters to vote for a candidate because of their policies, not because they are the sole candidate running for office, as CalSERVE EAVP candidate Varsha Sarveshwar now is.
Epstein added that although he believes Sarveshwar is “extremely qualified” to be EAVP, he believes having only one person on the ballot negatively affects the ASUC elections because the candidate may not have to defend their views and policies to the voters.
With Epstein’s withdrawal from the race, this will be the first time in years that the EAVP candidate has run unopposed.
Sarveshwar — who is running on platforms to address the basic needs crisis, support marginalized communities and build a more transparent Title IX system — said she understands why Epstein wanted voters to have a choice in the ballot.
“The only thing I can do is make my case to as many students as possible,” Sarveshwar said. “I was going to do that regardless of how many opponents I have.”
Epstein said that although he wanted to spark a campuswide conversation regarding ASUC elections politics, he never had any intention of occupying the EAVP position because he is graduating this semester. He added that the “brutal election politics” were a factor in his decision to drop out of the race.
“I’d like to also add that I think Varsha is extremely qualified for this position, will do an incredible job serving the student body, and I wish her the greatest success in serving as the next EAVP,” Epstein said in an email.
Voting for the ASUC elections will be held April 8, 9 and 10.