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Student Action wins 3 of 4 partisan executive seats in 2019 ASUC elections

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Managing Editor

APRIL 12, 2019

For the second year in a row, Student Action swept the ASUC general elections, winning three out of four partisan executive seats, as announced at Friday’s tabulations ceremony.

Student Action’s Amma Sarkodee-Adoo won president; Student Action’s Andy Theocharous won executive vice president, or EVP; CalSERVE’s Varsha Sarveshwar won external affairs vice president, or EAVP; Student Action’s Aastha Jha won academic affairs vice president, or AAVP; and independent candidate Nava Bearson won student advocate.

“I have full faith that everyone who got elected will do amazing things,” Sarkodee-Adoo said.

The night’s results are in line with the results from last year’s election — in 2018, Student Action clinched the majority of the executive offices, while current EAVP Nuha Khalfay was the only CalSERVE candidate to win an executive seat. This year, Sarveshwar was again the only member of CalSERVE to win an executive office, despite the fact that the party ran candidates for all four partisan positions.

Sarkodee-Adoo, a 2018-19 ASUC senator, earned 3,841 votes for president. She ran on platforms to improve basic needs accessibility, promote a safer campus climate and increase transparency from the campus regarding the use of student fees.

CalSERVE’s Teddy Lake, also a current ASUC senator, followed close behind Sarkodee-Adoo in the race for president, receiving 3,609 votes. Stephanie Gutierrez — who ran for president with Defend Affirmative Action Party/Fighting for Immigrant Rights and Equality for the second year in a row — received 581 votes. And after two years with no independent presidential candidate, Wyatt Colby ran an independent campaign, receiving 402 votes.

Hundreds of audience members chanted and cheered support for Student Action in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union’s Pauley Ballroom on Friday while the final results were announced. As those party members celebrated, however, CalSERVE candidates and supporters disappointedly left the room — some of them in tears.

Stephanie Li/Staff

“Regardless of the results, CalSERVE is here to stay,” said current CalSERVE ASUC Senator Idalys Pérez. “We’re going to continue going because that’s what we represent. We’re built on so much more than votes and an electoral process.”

The race for EVP was the most competitive executive race this year, with Theocharous winning 3,758 votes for the position and CalSERVE’s Maureen Simmons receiving 3,627. Despite her loss, Simmons said she was “fine with it,” adding that the results did not “define” her. This marks the fourth year in a row that Student Action has held the position.

“I feel blessed,” Theocharous said. “I am going to thank everyone in my community who has supported me throughout this process.”

Both Sarveshwar and Bearson ran unopposed for their respective positions of EAVP and student advocate. Sarveshwar, CalSERVE’s sole executive winner, secured 3,220 votes for EAVP, continuing the three-year streak of CalSERVE candidates holding the position.

While Sarveshwar said she was “incredibly honored” by her win, she was also “heartbroken” by the outcome of CalSERVE’s slate.

“We’ve had some serious losses, but we are part of a movement … (and) we stand unequivocally with marginalized communities,” Sarveshwar said. “We will continue doing work, and that work will happen inside and outside the ASUC. Strike that — that work happens outside the ASUC.”

Meanwhile, Bearson secured 2,942 votes for student advocate. She said her passion has “only grown” since starting in the Student Advocate’s Office in her first semester, adding that she is excited to lead the office she cares so much about.

The role of AAVP will once again be held by a Student Action candidate, with Jha defeating CalSERVE’s Regan Putnam after receiving 3,649 votes.

“I’m overwhelmed with emotions,” Jha said. “I’m really excited to keep the work going.”

Amanda Ramirez/Senior Staff

Student Action’s executive slate victory extended to the senate race — 11 of the party’s 13 candidates won seats in the senate, securing the majority. Of the nine CalSERVE candidates, only four secured senate seats, a slight increase from last year’s results, when three of seven CalSERVE candidates won.

“We are excited for the potential to continue to be doing the great work we do,” said current ASUC President Alexander Wilfert, who ran with Student Action. “(Our party won) three executive seats and 11 senate seats again — it is clear that the campus still supports what we do.”

All three referendums on the ballot — the Student Basic Needs Referendum, the Transfer Remedy Act referendum and the Arts, Music and Programming Initiative — also passed.

After the results were announced, members of Student Action left the building to congregate on Upper Sproul Plaza in a circle and cheer for their candidates. Wilfert shouted, “We’re getting shit done again,” referencing both his and Sarkodee-Adoo’s presidential campaign slogans.

“At the end of a campaign, it can seem like the end of something, but this feels like the beginning,” Sarkodee-Adoo said. “I’m excited to get a lot of great work done.”

Senior staff writers Sophia Brown-Heidenreich and Anjali Shrivastava and staff writers Amanda Bradford, Alexandra Casey, Sabrina Dong, Leon Chen, Maya Akkaraju, Katherine Finman and Alexandra Stassinopoulos contributed to this report.

Chantelle Lee is the managing editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ChantelleHLee.

APRIL 12, 2019