UC Berkeley freshman Brendan Roberts is running independently for ASUC Senate on a platform of lowering tuition and fighting sexual assault.
Roberts, who was in student government in high school, believes COVID-19 presents a unique opportunity to give back to the UC Berkeley community and to positively impact the school. Roberts said his Hispanic background from his mother’s side and his small-town background offer a perspective from traditionally underrepresented communities.
“I chose (to run independently) because I feel that if you run with a party, the party has its own platform,” Roberts said. “If you’re running for a position in the student government, you should be able to create your own platform and not be tied to what the party says.”
He added that running independently provides more transparency in regards to the candidate’s beliefs.
According to Roberts, the ASUC is the “best way” to make the biggest impact, as the ASUC is independent from campus administration. Roberts said he chose to run for a Senate seat because he sees it as the best opportunity to make an impact within the ASUC.
One key issue of his platform is tuition. Roberts noted that instead of raising tuition to cover current expenses, he would ask the administration to look for overspending to lower costs.
If elected, Roberts’s first action would be to ask campus administration for a “detailed list” of the budget to increase spending transparency for students. Roberts added that the administration should lobby the state government for more funding.
“What I’m trying to do as a senator is to advocate to the administration,” Roberts said. “There are so many other opportunities that the administration can use other than raising tuition.”
Sexual assault is also a core part of Roberts’s platform. After reading the statistics and stories surrounding sexual assault in different fraternities, Roberts said he wants to team up with other senators to take on this issue.
Roberts aims to get rid of the social stigma surrounding survivors, as well as promote actions from bystanders.
“We really need to get rid of the stigma and tell them that it’s not your fault. Someone else abused you,” Roberts said. “Also, we need to promote the idea that if you see something, say something. … You have to be an active bystander.”
ASUC elections will be held virtually from April 5 to April 7.