As UC Berkeley continues to recover from the upheaval and hardship of the past year, the student body needs a leader who can at once serve as a symbolic figurehead — representative of the best values and ideals this campus has to offer — and as a pragmatic changemaker. With her genuine dedication to the needs of all student communities and her stated plans to help meet these needs, Khwal Rafique is best poised to take on the position of ASUC president.
While Rafique has perhaps more limited leadership experience in the ASUC compared to her opponents, ASUC Senators Chaka Tellem and Ronit Sholkoff (who is a former staff member at The Daily Californian), she brings with her detailed knowledge of ASUC and administrative spaces. Endorsed by the South Asian community, she has served as a chief of staff and director in the Middle Eastern, Muslim, Sikh and South Asian ASUC Senate office and has navigated difficult meetings with campus administration.
The Daily Cal’s Editorial Board deliberated at length over which candidate to endorse, and the final decision came down to Rafique or Tellem. Tellem, endorsed by the Black community on campus, has led a successful and diverse senate office and is now running on an array of platforms rooted in equity and justice. While both Tellem and Rafique would serve the office well, Rafique’s platform — to emanate the ideals she wants to see the ASUC embody, no matter the outcome of the election — conveyed an authenticity and sincerity that edged her above Tellem. Sholkoff’s ideas were specific and her experience commendable, but her candidacy did not seem to embody the same urgency or level of community engagement as her opponents.
Rafique understands that the role of ASUC president is not always one of policy. Nonetheless, she also has tangible and feasible policies she wants to see passed, acknowledging the toxic campus stress culture and the need for expanded academic and basic needs resources. She’s provided actionable plans to achieve these goals.
In a moment when diversity, equity and inclusion on campus should be a top priority for students and administration alike, Rafique’s dedication to rectifying the campus’s relationship with underrepresented students — through transparent leadership and collaboration with community leaders — makes her the best candidate for the job.
Vote Khwal Rafique for president.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of the editorial board as written by the spring 2021 opinion editor, Jericho Rajninger.