The UC Berkeley community has every right to a student government and an ASUC president who will not only exemplify their values but also act upon them.
Though optimistic about certain aspects of both Catherine Bauer and incumbent Chaka Tellem, the Daily Cal’s editorial board also holds reservations about each that make it impossible to issue a full endorsement.
In the absence of a formal endorsement, the Daily Cal’s editorial board believes it is important to discuss the benefits and shortcomings of each candidate, as students should vote for whoever reflects their values and hopes for the coming year.
After serving as ASUC president for the 2021-22 academic year, Tellem knows how the office works and understands the role of the ASUC president. Ideologically, he is in the right place and has dedicated himself toward important and worthy causes.
On the flip side, Tellem has had months to make a tangible difference on this campus but has not adequately addressed the needs of students. Tellem’s actions have largely rested on interactions with the surrounding community, while his platforms for the coming year are concerningly vague and include environmental justice, health and improving student experiences.
Bauer also has sufficient experience in and knowledge of the ASUC, especially having served as Tellem’s chief of staff. Bauer’s platforms, unlike Tellem’s, rest on student needs that are both crucial and timely. She also has concrete plans to bring these platforms — which include providing a 24-hour library and increased club funding — to fruition in the coming school year.
However, based on campaign materials as well as her interview with the Daily Cal, the editorial board remains concerned about her ability to adequately support marginalized communities in a way that is not seen as performative.
This is an unprecedented election cycle within the ASUC, as so many candidates either seek reelection or are running unopposed. Notably, this election is also a race between the current president and his chief of staff.
These points raise a fundamental question of whom the ASUC is really accessible to. If UC Berkeley’s student government truly remained open to and representative of all students, more would be incentivized and institutionally enabled to run for office. These potential future candidates must be supported in every way to take hold of executive positions, including the presidency, in years to come.