Campus junior Victoria Vera is aiming to promote affordability, accountability and accessibility at UC Berkeley through the ASUC presidential office.
Vera, currently the chair of the ASUC Diversity Affairs Commission, is running as an independent candidate for the position.
“A lot of community work has been co-opted in the past. There is a need on campus to have a fresh voice, not tied to office, to make sure students feel excited again about their student government,” Vera said. “I want to make sure (the ASUC) is a beacon of hope, one that gets work done for them — work that is meaningful as well as impactful.”
Vera said she gained a lot of knowledge about the bureaucratic process of the ASUC through her time as a commission chair. She added that she felt there was a disconnect between community organizations and the ASUC and that there was allegedly oftentimes a lack of representation in meetings.
Vera also said she would like to bring students impacted by issues the ASUC talks about, such as financial aid, to the table to include them in discussions.
“Students should be able to thrive on our campus and not just survive,” Vera said. “When I talk about thriving on this campus, it looks different for a lot of students, but I think the association understands the intricacies and the experiences of students and can advocate for them and bring them to the table to talk about these important issues.”
One of Vera’s goals is to streamline the process for reporting hate speech and crimes and make sure the process is publicized and understood.
She added that she would also fight for spaces, such as a permanent space for the Queer Alliance Resource Center, as well as the expansion of spaces for student centers such as the Transfer Student Center.
“It is too often ASUC will co-opt the work,” said campus sophomore Juan Carlos Argüello, Vera’s campaign manager. “What is essential is that she is actually listening to these communities and making sure that instead of speaking for them, they are the ones at the table.”
Affordability is a big part of Vera’s campaign considering the cost of living increasing in Berkeley and in other cities, Argüello said. Argüello added that Vera is supportive of the cost-of-living adjustment movement for graduate students and is committed to maintaining the conversation around the movement’s goal.
Argüello also added that Vera is looking to make commissions in the ASUC a priority. Argüello said he feels that the ASUC overregulates commissions, and Vera would like to focus on supporting the commissions so that they can tackle issues.
“It is pretty cool that she is running as independent because she is not necessarily tied to any one party’s stipulations, and she can put her view of how we can make positive change forward in a less restrained way,” said campus senior Kate Montana. “I appreciate that.”