UC Berkeley junior Nicolas Jaber has filed to run as an independent presidential candidate in this spring’s ASUC elections.
As an independent candidate, Jaber said he is running due to his dissatisfaction with the thoughtlessness he said embodies the culture of the ASUC. He said he aims to present himself as an alternative to the traditional party-affiliated candidates who regularly win the majority of positions in the ASUC.
“It seems pretty clear that the candidates running this year are asking for your votes with the same empty promises that they always do,” Jaber said. “(They’re) the same basic and empty ideas that I think most students would agree are to blame for the ineffective nature of the ASUC.”
One of Jaber’s goals is to cut the ASUC’s budget by 50 percent in order to promote more frugal spending habits. He added that with his plan, students will see a drop in the amount of fees they must pay per semester.
“The best way to shape up the senate’s out-of-control spending habits is to give them a smaller budget,” Jaber said. “The senate has never been challenged in fiscal oversight — we just blindly accept that they’re going to take a million-and-a-half dollars and spend it effectively and thoughtfully.”
In addition, he hopes to instate monthly meetings to help the campus become “a more unified student body.”
One meeting would be a “town hall” where students would discuss important campus issues, and the other a “general assembly” where club and community leaders would meet with ASUC elected officials for similar discussion.
Jaber also said that if elected president, he would not accept the yearly stipend allocated to ASUC executive officers, which cannot exceed $4,000.
Jaber has experience working with the California School Boards Association Legislative Committee, advocating public education policy in Sacramento. He also served as a student representative on the board of directors for the nonprofit citizen-diplomacy network Sister Cities International.
In 2013, Jaber was slated as an ASUC Senate candidate with the Student Action party, but said this experience made him realize how “jading” the elections process is. He also ran as an independent candidate for the external affairs vice president position last year. He did not win either election.
Jaber initially filed to run as a candidate under the Independent Party, but according to Senate Vice Chair Alek Klimek, the party’s filing form was rejected because the ASUC Elections Council found it in violation of the bylaws.
This spring’s ASUC elections will take place April 7, 8 and 9.