The ASUC election season coming to a close also means the introduction of new leaders for UC Berkeley in the upcoming year. Elected senators and executives bring a range of different backgrounds, platforms and visions for their time in the ASUC office. But, there remains a gap in representation that draws most attention. And that is of transfer representation.
Transfer representation isn’t largely present in the ASUC, and that wasn’t helped in this cycle of elections, either. In fact, this year, no transfer students were elected into senate or executive positions, apart from the transfer student representative. This outcome is disappointing, as transfer students get left with an evident lack of institutional representation at this university.
Transfer students make up a significant amount of the undergraduate population at UC Berkeley, totaling roughly 20% of the student body. Having no transfer students win a seat at the ASUC Senate table speaks volumes about how transfer students may be neglected or not prioritized in a race like the ASUC elections. It shows how this lack of representation may trickle into how transfer students are treated at UC Berkeley as a whole, whether it be involving transfer advocacy or resources.
This lack of representation in the ASUC is unacceptable and transfer students deserve better. We urge the ASUC to look deeper into these issues against transfer students and work to prioritize their entry into ASUC offices. Whether this takes the form of eliminating biases by blinding GPA and class status or making the transfer student representative position an executive one, we hope that in the future, transfer students can take part in this integral part of student government at UC Berkeley.
We also believe that transfer students should have Golden Bear Orientation, or GBO, more tailored to their unique positions, as they usually enter UC Berkeley midway through other undergraduates’ matriculation. As proposed by senate candidate Alexander Sanborn-Walker, transfer students deserve a GBO that allows them to learn more about themselves and where they fit into the school, so they aren’t lumped together with first-year students who may have different needs and perspectives than them.
Additionally, we hope that the current ASUC offices can redirect their attention toward moving forward with resolutions that aim to support transfer students and their representation. Current resolutions that are still in progress may not offer the quick, tangible results in supporting transfer students urgently. We urge those in ASUC offices to work promptly and to prioritize the passage of these transfer resolutions.
Above all, this election cycle has shown us that transfer students do lack representation and that this issue needs to be addressed. We hope that in the future, transfer students will be able to enter into ASUC offices seamlessly and truly carry out their platforms.