Kalli Zervas, a UC Berkeley junior, is running independently for an ASUC Senate position on a platform that includes increasing ASUC transparency, reforming Greek life and preventing sexual violence and sexual harassment, or SVSH.
Zervas, who has worked in two different ASUC offices, explained that the issues she saw in the ASUC, from a lack of transparency to a focus on party agendas over student needs, motivated her to run for office.
“We need to fight for the students, not our parties, and it’s time to take their voices into account,” Zervas said.
Holding monthly roundtables available to anyone in the student body, establishing office hours to speak with students and sending out Google forms to solicit constructive criticism are some of the measures she aims to adopt.
After originally running as part of Elevate Cal, Zervas said she decided to split from the party and run as an independent to address the issues she saw with the status quo of the ASUC.
Her decision to run independently has posed complications, she said, as independent candidates lack the support system provided by party structure.
Zervas’ decision was also influenced by learning that Kelvin Ervais, a Student Action ASUC Senate candidate running on an SVSH prevention platform, is a member of an unaffiliated fraternity with a history of sexual assault. Zervas emphasized her commitment to preventing SVSH and holding perpetrators accountable, which she said is the first issue she would tackle if elected.
“As someone who has had an unfortunate experience with SVSH, I was made uncomfortable, and I realized at that moment that I needed to be a representative of that and to help women,” Zervas said.
Her goals include creating a committee to handle fraternity handbooks and ensure fraternities enforce consequences for perpetrators, creating a support group for SVSH survivors and strengthening anonymous reporting.
As a campus freshman, Zervas was unable to join Greek life due to the $50 entrance fee, and she hopes to institute financial resources and monthly climate surveys, as well as monitor discrimination reports, to ensure all students in Greek Life are supported.
“It is important for students to feel like they are welcomed,” Zervas said. “Greek li fe isn’t going to go away, so we’re going to have to reform it and make it accessible and inclusive for everybody.”
If elected, Zervas also aims to increase resources at the Tang Center by creating an accessible app and lobbying for more aid for students with disabilities.
Her other platforms include plans to provide additional support for women and low-income students by sending out regular newsletters and holding resource events.
“There are very few people who are willing to go to whatever length to fight for what’s right,” Zervas said. “I am one of those people.”
ASUC elections will be held virtually from April 5 to 7.