Student Action, the ASUC’s oldest political party, is not running any candidates for the spring 2023 election cycle.
Student Action party chair and current ASUC senator Mahathi Kandimalla stated that uncertainty remains about the future of the party. She noted that many Student Action members have more recently explored their communities as individuals, which led to a “natural” fading of the party.
“We didn’t really see the point of the party, especially when parties generally have this underlying theme or goal that people unite under,” Kandimalla said. “I think we just had goals that extended beyond what can be contained within the goals of a party.”
Kandimalla added that she has been involved in Student Action for the last four years and ran under the party herself. After seeing the inner workings of Student Action and the ASUC party system as a whole, she said that it was “sad” to see the party go.
Kandimalla took over from former Student Action party chair Jordan Ullman in January 2023, who resigned after being appointed to the role in summer 2022. He expressed pride in the party’s work during his tenure but felt that it was “time for new leadership.”
“Looking ahead, I am excited about what the future holds and eager to explore new opportunities to make a positive impact in my community,” Ullman said in an email.
Kandimalla noted there was limited motivation within the party to continue running people, and personally wanted to embrace her own identity as a candidate.
To Kandimalla, this decision may have been “a long time coming.” She said Student Action senators did not often favor the typical structure of ASUC political parties that approach decisions and voting on a group level.
“We just want to make autonomous decisions,” Kandimalla said. “That gave us a lot of flexibility and it also gave us the tools to best represent our individual communities.”
Kandimalla noted that political parties within the ASUC do help executive candidates win and guide members on how to win an election. However, with increasingly new communication tools and social media, candidates can collaborate with other officials and spread the word about their candidacies without relying on party support.
Kandimalla did emphasize that the future of the party is not set in stone. Candidates are still free to run on behalf of the party in the future, she noted.
“As the political landscape at UC Berkeley continues to evolve, I believe that independent candidates will play a crucial role in shaping the future of student leadership on campus,” Ullman said in an email. “While the strength of the party system may ebb and flow, I am excited to support these candidates as they forge a new chapter of leadership for future generations of Golden Bears.”