Independent candidate Osirus Polachart runs for ASUC Senate

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UC Berkeley junior Osirus Polachart is running independently for ASUC Senate to change the campus admissions process, reform housing and provide undocumented students with additional support and services.

When Polachart, a transfer student from Mt. San Antonio College, arrived at UC Berkeley, he began working in the office of ASUC Senator Liam Will before leaving due to disagreements, he said. He now works in the office of ASUC President Victoria Vera.

“I don’t want anybody telling me to tone down my voice. I don’t want anybody telling me that I can’t say what I want to say, that I can’t call out the UC the way that I do,” Polachart said. “That’s the main reason why I ran as an independent candidate.”

His main priority is reforming the UC admissions process, which came under fire in September after a report by the California State Auditor’s office revealed that UC Berkeley had admitted 55 students who were less qualified than those it rejected due to familial and donor connections. Polarchart proposed that UC Berkeley join the Transfer Admission Guarantee program, which ensures acceptance to UC schools for California community college students who meet certain requirements

In order to raise the number of Black and Latinx students on campus, Polachart is also advocating for admission guarantees for qualified students from underfunded California schools.

“I’m pretty sure a lot of students feel that way as well, that our admission is just a rigged process,” Polachart said. “The admissions platform that I’m running on is very favorable. I definitely think people will resonate with that.”

Polachart also wants UC Berkeley to adopt the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center program, which provides legal advice and representation for undocumented students in the UC system and their families, among other services. The program has been adopted by all UC campuses except UC Berkeley, he added.

In terms of housing, Polachart criticized the role of campus in increasing gentrification and displacing tenants. He proposed that UC Berkeley establish a department dedicated to the study of homelessness, and he advocates for the creation of a registry of private renters with a ranking system so students can avoid what he considers predatory renters.

He also opposes construction on People’s Park. Polachart, who arrived at UC Berkeley during the COVID-19 pandemic, began his involvement in campus political organizing in response to the planned construction on People’s Park.

It was at one of the protests that Polachart met fellow ASUC Senate candidate Gabrielle Sharp, his informal running mate. As part of their arrangement, Polachart asked voters to elect him for the first position and Sharp for the second.

“Our campaign is built off of communities. We’re trying to put communities first. We’re trying to fight the institution of the UC that continues to harm these communities,” Polachart said. “That’s something that Gabbi and I are going to do.”

ASUC elections will be held virtually from April 5 to April 7.

David Villani is a schools and communities reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @davidvillani7.