Mateo Torrico hopes to unite students, announces ASUC Senate candidacy

Josh Kahen/Staff

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Campus sophomore Mateo Torrico is running for the ASUC Senate in hopes of unifying the student population.

The independent candidate aims to change the competitive nature of UC Berkeley by focusing on issues that affect the student body as a whole. Torrico said he prioritizes being able to connect with voters to accurately represent their needs. With classes moving online, however, the political science major said he has had to adapt how he does this.

“I noticed a lot of people at Berkeley don’t really like each other,” Torrico said. “By focusing on different issue areas, all people can come together.”

During his first semester on campus, Torrico worked in the department of external affairs in ASUC Senator Liam Will’s office, but Torrico said he did not feel like he completely aligned with the office’s mission. This semester, however, he joined ASUC Senator Pedro De Anda Plascencia’s office and is directing Plascencia’s effort to make UC Berkeley a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

Torrico said he wants to run as an independent because he believes his job as a senator is to represent the entire student community on campus.

“I’m representing every person at Berkeley and I’m running to represent students at Berkeley who feel lost and that this university is not welcoming to them,” Torrico said.

Torrico’s platforms focus on safety and sustainability because they affect everyone on campus. He specifically wants students to feel safe walking home late at night.

Due to the risk of COVID-19, colloquially known as the coronavirus, in-person classes at UC Berkeley have been canceled for the remainder of the semester, making it harder for Torrico to bring the student body together. He initially wanted to be able to go to campus organizations, such as clubs and fraternities, to connect with voters, but now that is not possible. This has caused his campaign to run entirely online, which his campaign team has already done, as it launched its social media efforts Sunday night.

“I do think that it is going to affect the way the entire campaign plays out because people aren’t here,” Torrico said. “You can’t go to clubs and talk to them about your message. You can’t talk to people face to face.”

As an ASUC senator, Torrico said he would aim to protect all people on campus, especially those who feel underrepresented.

Running as an independent, Torrico said he feels he has some disadvantages. Torrico said his campaign team is made up of five people, which he said is smaller than other campaigns.

“It’s going to be an uphill battle,” Torrico said. “But, I’m excited.”

Contact Tate Coan at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @tatecoan.