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Follow the Daily Cal's live coverage of the 2022 ASUC elections forum

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APRIL 01, 2022

This evening at 5 p.m. candidates for ASUC executive offices and the transfer representative position will discuss their platforms and respond to questions at a forum hosted by The Daily Californian. The event will also welcome a representative of the Graduate Assembly Fee, which will appear on this year’s ballot. Daily Cal editors will update this feed live throughout the event.

For more information about the 2022 ASUC elections, read more coverage here.

Live updates:

7:13 p.m.: The forum has concluded. Elections will be held April 4 to April 6.

7:10 p.m.: José Marrero Rosado, chair of the governance board of the Graduate Assembly, takes the floor to advocate for the Graduate Student Fee referendum. He said that the funds are different from the current fee in that this new fee is slightly more expensive due to return to aid, however, the Graduate Assembly will still receive the same amount of money. 

7:08 p.m.: Sanchez said that despite having less experience in Berkeley, she is ready to get to work and that she would “work endlessly” to support transfer students who have been marginalized. 

7:07 p.m.: Nagatoshi said in his closing statement that the ASUC’s role is to serve students and that there is a disconnect between the institution and students. He said, if elected, he would devote himself to amplifying the voices of students. “The ASUC is not what it should be right now,” he said.

7:04 p.m.: Sanchez said scholarships in Greek life are scarcely given to those who need it. Nagatoshi stressed the importance of diversity of perspective, which is likely to come from transfer students. He added that Greek life can be expensive. 

7:01 p.m.: When asked about the judicial council, Sanchez said she did not have a lot of knowledge. She added that when she does not have the answer to something, she will own it and seek answers. Nagatoshi, too, recognized he did not have a lot of knowledge on the topic.

7:00 p.m.: Sanchez also stressed the importance of working with the Transfer Student Center.

6:59 p.m.: Sanchez stressed the importance of compromise, as everyone in the Senate seeks to support different causes and communities. She stressed that transfer students have historically underrepresented in the ASUC and that the transfer representative position is only a few years old. 

6:58 p.m.: Nagatoshi said cooperation between different offices in the ASUC is essential. He added that he is happy to see more transfers running for Senate. Coalition building, Nagatoshi said, is critical to creating an equitable environment for everyone. 

6:55 p.m.: Speaking from personal experience, Nagatoshi said transfer opportunities in RSOs are limited as many believe transfer students do not have as much room for growth. He added that transfer students bring a critical perspective. In order to address this, Nagatoshi hopes to write a grant for new transfer organizations to form and to create a new department that will help transfer students form such organizations. He also wants to create a calendar of when RSOs have applications open. 

5:53 p.m.: Sanchez emphasized the importance of retention and said she wants to create a transfer alumni association. She alleged that some believe “transfer students aren’t even real students” and that many think transfer students only care about their degrees. This is a mentality Sanchez said she wants to change. She added that Golden Bear Orientation needs more services for transfer students. 

6:50 p.m.: Sanchez hopes to create an inter-organizational council, something she created at her community college. Different identities, she said, need different solutions. She also stressed the importance of making student organizations more inclusive, noting that training are critical. Sanchez said she also wants to work with programs at community colleges to support transfer students, particularly transfer students of color.

6:48 p.m.: Nagatoshi said he wants to work with campus organizations, prioritizing opportunities for marginalized students to ensure their voices are heard. He hopes to do so by creating a new department to work with student organizations to increase funding and write proposals.

6:46 p.m.: Nagatoshi said transfer students are faced with a lack of community and lack of space to meet. He added that it is hard to pin down a single most critical issue and that working with organizations so they can voice their own ideas is critical. 

6:44 p.m.: Sanchez said basic needs — ranging from menstrual equity, food and housing — is the most critical issue facing transfer students. She added that many students doubt whether they can access housing in Berkeley given the lack of affordability. In terms of food insecurity, Sanchez hopes to support co-ops. She also stressed the importance of expanding the Basic Needs Center, especially during breaks. Without the institutional support or knowledge, transfers “come here defenseless,” Sanchez added. 

6:42 p.m.: Candidates for transfer representative — Aileen Sanchez and Scott Nagatoshi – have taken the floor. Sanchez offered to take questions in Spanish. Both briefly introduced their platforms. 

6:41 p.m.: In her closing remarks, Choi said her vision is to provide students a platform to advocate for themselves, adding that her drive comes from her experience as a first-generation student that relied on government resources growing up.

6:39 p.m.: To increase the visibility of the SAO, Choi maintained the importance of not alienating students and separating the office more visibly from the ASUC, noting that the SAO office is located within the ASUC office. 

6:37 p.m.: The student advocate does policy and advocacy work based on case patterns to achieve student-centered outcomes, Choi said. She added that the student experiences need to be voiced and highlighted in policy changes.

6:35 p.m.: Choi noted her previous work within the Student Advocate’s Office representing survivors of sexual violence and harassment, adding that “the biggest thing” is addressing cases individually and catering to the needs of individual cases. 

6:34 p.m.: Choi noted a severe lack of funding and resources for students in the Disabled Students’ Program and immunocompromised students.

6:32 p.m.: The impacts of COVID-19 exacerbate inequalities and affect students differently, Choi said. She added that she intends to advocate for extended pandemic accommodations for students and that faculty needs to be held accountable for not taking away these resources too quickly.

6:29 p.m.: In regards to basic needs, Choi said that the learning process is not isolated to just the classroom but needs to include basic needs. She highlighted that a reported 25% of students said that they do not have adequate housing and said the campus needs to expand housing during breaks.

6:28 p.m.: Student Advocate candidate, Crystal Choi, opened her first statement by sharing that she believes every student should be able to study in an environment that is conducive to their learning and needs.

6:26 p.m.: In his closing remarks, Weichert said it has been a difficult semester for him personally but that, more importantly, he has seen his work positively affect students in ways that “have made a difference and will continue to make a difference.” 

6:23 p.m.: Weichert said it is difficult to adequately address what COVID-19 circumstances will be like in the future but that it will depend on how the pandemic evolves, but he is, and individuals should be, ready to adapt accordingly.

6:20 p.m.: When asked about supporting students from marginalized backgrounds, Weichert said support is needed for student groups that help with recruitment and retention. He said that while policy is important, financial support and RSOs are critical. Academically, Weichert stressed the importance of creating a “big impetus to diversity faculty” that includes student input “at every step of the process.” 

6:19 p.m.: Weichert emphasized the importance of discussing the future of a UC Berkeley and a UC education more broadly. Students, faculty and administrators need to discuss these issues together, he said. 

6:18 p.m.: Weichert said a lot of his platforms are similar to last year’s, largely because he has worked for years to build a power base that can provide oversight over the campus. He said “we shoot ourselves in the foot” when only looking at one-year timelines.  

6:17 p.m.: Academic Affairs Vice President candidate James Weichert offers opening comments. He said he’s excited to continue his work.

6:15 p.m.: In his closing remarks, Henderson said that he understands that marginalized communities may not have trust in the ASUC, but he believes that the EAVP position should and can be a resource for students to receive resources that are important for their respective communities. He said “it’s not just about talk, it’s about change.”

6:13 p.m.: In response to questions of engagement with other elected officials, Henderson maintained that his plans for student conferences will alleviate problems of bureaucracy within the ASUC. 

6:12 p.m.: Henderson said he does not support campus’s plans to develop People’s Park, adding that the ASUC must hold campus accountable and protect park residents.

6:09 p.m.: On the topic of engagement, Henderson said the midterm elections will have many implications on housing and infrastructure in southside and believes that students should be engaged in these electoral processes and be aware of their implications. He added that a “big goal” of his is to implement student conferences to hear the concerns of students and collaborate on issues such as undocumented student resources, housing and funding.

6:07 p.m.: Henderson said his plans to advocate for housing development include focusing on affordability, stating it needs a “new look at it.” He added that the California legislature needs to pass a second CEQA bill to expedite housing development.

6:06 p.m.: Henderson said population growth on campus causes campus to take care of more students with “less and less” resources. He added that the ASUC should advocate for the protection of the Rochdale student housing to preserve beds for incoming students.

6:05 p.m.: In his opening statement, external affairs vice president, or EAVP, candidate, Bailey Henderson, emphasized the role of community engagement and building community coalitions to create an equitable, accessible and affordable academic experience for students.

6:02 p.m.:  In his closing remarks, Fernandez said he fought a lot of stigma being a transfer student when he first took on the role of EVP. He said he felt a lack of belonging and like his experience at community college was not credible. Fernandez also commended Tellem and others in the Senate, who he believes to have enabled him.

6:00 p.m.: When asked about the recent challenges with enrollment, Fernandez said he was troubled, as many marginalized students would be excluded from UC Berkeley. Being able to support increased attainment of higher education is something he said is important to him and is something he “jumped on.” 

5:59 p.m.: When asked about the Judicial Council, Fernandez emphasized his role as a facilitator in the Senate and as someone who is unbiased and focused on the student experience. He said he will maintain this position moving forward. 

5:58 p.m.: Fernandez said campus needs to consider whether RSO funding should be more transparent. With an understanding of funding allocation, he hopes to mitigate inequalities in resource access. 

5:57 p.m.: Fernandez said being an unbiased individual is part of who he is and that his “only bias is to the student body” and that he does not prioritize partisanship. 

5:56 p.m.: Fernandez believes the EVP should serve as an unbiased moderator for the student body.

5:55 p.m.: Giancarlo Fernandez, candidate for executive vice president, now makes his opening remarks, emphasizing marginalized identities and the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion. He is running for a second term and is a first generation student. 

5:52 p.m.: In her closing remarks, Bauer said she wants voters to remember “tangibility,” highlighting again her “pre-made” plans for students. Tellem closed by highlighting the high turnover rate of elected ASUC members, adding that students deserve a president who “knows what they’re doing.”

5:48 p.m.: Citing his previous advocacy for registered student organizations, or RSOs, Tellem said he has advocated for increased materials for student communities, including funding, and that it is what he is most proud of about his term. Bauer said that she is most proud of her previous advocacy for menstrual products and access to resources for people who reproduce, which she believes is a very intersectional issue. 

5:47 p.m.: Tellem said transfer students, who make up 33% of the student population yet only 5% of ASUC representation, need more visibility in campus leadership and that his office has partnered with transfer student leaders in the past.

5:45 p.m.: Bauer cited her slip-and-slide on Memorial Glade as an example of the visibility of her potential administration and future events she plans on hosting to increase accessibility to her office. 

5:41 p.m.: Tellem said the “very first thing” he did as president was to re-establish the ASUC Housing Commission to help students with issues of rent, affordable housing and housing access. 

5:39 p.m.: In response to a question about Bauer’s ability to represent communities of color, Bauer maintained plans to bring in stakeholders to help with planning and decision making. 

5:35 p.m.: Tellem said his administration has supported formerly incarcerated students through the Berkeley Underground Scholars program, noting that he tabled with the program today on Sproul Plaza and that he has consistently met with them throughout his term. Bauer said that supporting them must include funding and highlighted issues of housing and other basic needs for formerly incarcerated scholars. 

5:33 p.m.: Bauer said being accountable as a white woman and cisgender candidate means having students in the room who understand issues deeper than she does. 

5:32 p.m.: Tellem responded to Bauer’s statement that when students want transparency, “they aren’t looking for meeting notes.” Bauer responded in defense of her previous statement, maintaining that students do want to see meeting notes and that “incumbency is not a platform.”

5:31 p.m.: Sundeen reminds the candidates they can only challenge ideas, not the candidates themselves.

5:28 p.m.: Bauer said that while Tellem ran on a platform of transparency in the previous election, Bauer maintains that the office needs to go further, including publicizing meeting notes, efforts to “follow through,” publicizing platforms and completing them. She alleged she did not see any transparency in Tellem’s term in office.

5:26 p.m.: Bauer has chosen to offer a rebuttal to Tellem’s mention of a campus-wide mentorship program, stating that she was “instrumental in getting it completed” and that the program needs to be expanded. In response, Tellem clarified that Bauer was his chief of staff, commending her for the role she played but maintained that the program was facilitated by an external committee and that only one person, himself, attended every committee meeting.

5:23 p.m.: Tellem said that accountability to him means stakeholders are in the room when he is making decisions as ASUC President. He focused on a stakeholder-centric governing approach and increasing awareness toward student government in general. He said the ultimate form of accountability is “student engagement.” In addition, he said being organized with set checkpoints is important in assessing how productive his office has been.

5:20 p.m.: Tellem offered his own experiences as a member of the Black community, saying he knows firsthand what issues of equity are like as a student. In addition, he said he has negotiated with campus to offer increased resources on campus to aid with the consequences of the pandemic, such as COVID-19 testing vending machines in campus buildings. 

5:18 p.m.: On the topic of equity, Bauer said one of her goals is to have pre-planned projects prepared through a potential term-transition period, including plans geared toward issues of sexual health and sexual violence. In addition, she mentioned resources geared toward alumni relations.

5:15 p.m.: In response to a question about what each candidate believes is the most pressing issue facing campus, Tellem begins with a vision of a post-pandemic campus. Catherine began with a focus on housing. She also included multiple points geared toward basic needs, such as a 24-hour library and virtual Cal ID cards. 

5:13 p.m.: Candidates for ASUC President, Chaka Tellem and Catherine Bauer, have begun their opening statements, each laying out base points for their respective runs for office.

5:00 p.m.: Candidates and attendees have started to enter the forum. The forum will formally begin at 5:10 p.m.

5:08 p.m.: This evening’s forum will be moderated by the Daily Cal’s opinion editor, Jessie Wu, and the editor-in-chief, Jasper Kenzo Sundeen.

5:10 p.m.: There will be five rounds of candidate discussions, one for each position. The order will be president, executive vice president, external affairs vice president, academic affairs vice president, student advocate and finally transfer representative.

5:12 p.m.:  Each candidate will give a one-minute introduction. Then, they will be asked four prepared questions with two-minute response times for each candidate. If there are audience questions, each candidate will have one minute to respond. Candidates will also have one minute at the end for closing remarks. 

Contact Mallika Seshadri and Matt Brown at [email protected].

APRIL 02, 2022