The candidates for ASUC external affairs vice president, or EAVP, were an especially difficult pair for The Daily Californian’s Editorial Board to choose between.
Ultimately, we saw Riya Master’s experience as chief of staff for current EAVP Derek Imai and her apparent passion for local advocacy as strong indicators of success in the EAVP position.
Master’s campaign platforms revolve around the three major areas of advocacy for the office: campus, city and national. At the campus and city levels, Master intends to uplift student voices from marginalized communities to advocate on their own behalf. At the UC level, Master also emphasized fighting for doubling the Pell Grant and other avenues to make the UC system more accessible. She is endorsed by the South Asian community on campus.
Her opponent, current ASUC Senator Aasim Yahya, is also a very strong candidate. He has concrete plans to expand the EAVP’s reach in the federal space, and he displayed an intent focus on reimagining public safety by working with communities to advocate for defunding Berkeley Police Department and UCPD. While admirable goals, we felt Master’s understanding of the EAVP office and desire to pursue advocacy in specific legislative areas were slightly stronger points in her favor.
Master’s energy was infectious during her interview with the Editorial Board, indicating a fervent desire to enact the goals she has set for herself. She also emphasized her plans to advocate for allocating funds away from local police departments and organizing to save Alta Bates Hospital, which is slated for closure by 2030.
She is also dedicated to making the EAVP office accessible and transparent, with plans to hold office hours (which is not required for executive offices) and creating a public database of student issues. This would be a welcome change to the ASUC, which is often viewed as exclusive and difficult to navigate.
The EAVP serves as an essential connection between students and the institutions that impact them, and Master will not only uplift student voices but will be a guiding force for students who want to create change.
Vote Riya Master for external affairs vice president.
Editorial board member Jericho Rajninger recused himself from the discussion of this endorsement because of his social relationship with Aasim Yahya. Editorial board member Sarah Harris recused herself from the discussion of this endorsement because she is the primary proponent of the Daily Cal Initiative, and Aasim Yahya is a sponsor.