DAAP/FIRE presidential candidate Stephanie Gutierrez plans to create change

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Editor’s note: This is one installment in a two-part series on this year’s candidates for ASUC president. Read about the other candidate here.

ASUC president hopeful Stephanie Gutierrez is running for the third time in hopes of putting the ASUC at the forefront of a revolution.

Gutierrez is a history and American studies major who is also a national organizer and signatory for the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN.

Gutierrez is running with the Defend Affirmative Action Party/Fighting for Immigrant Rights and Equality, or DAAP/FIRE.

According to its website, the party’s platform includes the removal of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from office and making Eshleman Hall a sanctuary for immigrants, among other issues. The party has campaigned to urge California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the UC Board of Regents to use appropriate buildings or dorms as COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, quarantine sites and begin free mass testing for the disease among students, staff and surrounding community members.

Gutierrez called W.E.B. Du Bois her “political role model,” noting his critique of the history of racism and capitalism. She said in an email that she was committed to applying Du Bois’ analysis of struggle and revolution on the UC Berkeley campus.

“Ever since I was a very young girl I have stood up and defended those who were being abused and subjected to injustice,” Gutierrez said in the email. “I came to Berkeley because I knew that it was on this campus that I would be able to develop as a leader and organize on a campus that has historical political authority globally.”

She said she knew she wanted to run for the ASUC at UC Berkeley during her freshman year when she heard about DAAP/FIRE.

Gutierrez said she was impressed with the activity of DAAP/FIRE on campus and said the group was willing to stand up for the truth.

“DAAP FIRE inspired me to run for ASUC elections because they take my leadership as a UC Berkeley student seriously and believe in the power of students, especially those at UC Berkeley, to make the large-scale changes that will actually address the roots of the problems that we all face under Capitalism,” Gutierrez said in the email.

She chose to run for the ASUC specifically because she believes that it is a channel for empowering and building a movement of social change.

The ASUC has resources and a political voice that should be used to mobilize the student body, according to Gutierrez.

“I am running for President because the office has the platform and authority to lead the ASUC as a fighting student union,” Gutierrez said in the email.

Additionally, Gutierrez reaffirmed her commitment to the aforementioned platforms of the DAAP/FIRE party.

When asked why she had chosen to run for president again, Gutierrez said she was committed to making the ASUC the organizing center for immigrant and civil rights movements on campus.

“I have developed a great deal as a leader over the past 3 years at UC Berkeley and I feel more confident than ever in my ability to lead the student body and organize student mass action in a movement,” Gutierrez said in the email.

As president, Gutierrez said her first goal will be to make Eshleman Hall a sanctuary for undocumented students and immigrants in the community.

Gutierrez noted that she is serious and committed to making real change on campus that will affect all students.

“I am the best candidate running because I am the only one that has no careerist aspirations in taking office,” Gutierrez said in the email. “I, unlike the other Presidential candidates, will not bend to Chancellor (Carol) Christ’s will and will fearlessly take her on directly as I already have multiple times throughout my time at UC Berkeley.”

When asked about why she thought the student turnout was typically low in ASUC elections relative to the school’s population, Gutierrez said students felt that the two main parties lacked a commitment to serious change on campus.

She noted that the voter base of DAAP/FIRE tends to be students who would not have bothered to vote in the elections otherwise and said she wished students knew about their importance and power as student leaders.

“It is our responsibility as elected officials of the student body to defend the safety, wellbeing, and lives of those on our campus,” Gutierrez said in the email. “Students should pay close attention.”

Sebastian Cahill is the lead student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SebastianCahil1.