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Independents hold slight majority in 2022-23 ASUC executive offices

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Senior Staff

APRIL 08, 2022

Matching the current ASUC Senate class, independent candidates won the majority of the ASUC executive positions for the third year in a row, as announced at Friday’s tabulations ceremony.

Chaka Tellem has been reelected as the ASUC president, the first time that an ASUC president has been elected to two terms. The executive vice president, or EVP, and academic affairs vice president, or AAVP, will see no change, as both Elevate Cal’s Giancarlo Cruz and independent candidate James Weichert were reelected after running unopposed. Bailey Henderson and Crystal Choi, who both ran independently and unopposed, will be the next external affairs vice president, or EAVP, and student advocate, respectively.

“I feel great, I’m excited,” Tellem said. “I’m looking forward to next year.”

In the only contested race this year, Tellem won the presidency with 4,271 votes, in comparison to Catherine Bauer’s 2,967 votes. For the first time in three years, Student Action will not hold an executive position, with Elevate Cal holding both the president and executive vice president offices. Independent candidates make up the rest.

Tellem ran on platforms that promoted environmental justice and sustainability, improving student health and wellness, as well as supporting basic needs and enhancing the overall student experience. 

“Obviously this is a historic moment,” Tellem said. “We’re going to do some pretty big things this year.”

Bauer noted she is proud of everyone on her campaign and said they ran the best campaign they could. 

She added they set a new precedent on how to run a campaign, as she said no other candidate had published projects that could be accomplished in a 30-week timeline. 

“That sets a precedent for candidates going forward,” Bauer said. “You have to engage with your community throughout your campaign and not just campaign.”

Photo of people reacting to ASUC Tabulation results

Similar to last year, only one candidate ran for EVP. Cruz secured the seat with 3,736 votes. As the current EVP, Cruz plans to continue to work on his platforms of improved communication between Registered Student Organizations, as well as establishing a diversity, equity and inclusion position within the ASUC.

Cruz noted his first step is to rekindle relationships he has made with different organizations and foster relationships with campus administration, in an effort to support students who want to serve in student government.

“I’m really excited,” Cruz said. “Now that I’ve been here, I’m better equipped to have a better impact. I understand the obstacles I face now, and I want to work on impacting the student experience.”

Cruz also thanked the elections council for a fair process, noting that he was proud to be a transfer student throughout this process and that transfer students are “just as capable” as any other student.

Henderson was the first unopposed candidate for EAVP in more than five years, and secured 3,516 votes. Henderson, the current EAVP governmental relations chair, ran on a three-part platform that focuses on community advocacy, engagement and growth.

Under these platforms, Henderson said he plans to fight for more funding and support for marginalized communities, open student conferences and address housing and sustainability issues emphasized by increased enrollment.

“It feels very very good to have this opportunity, I’ve been dreaming about this for a long time,” Henderson said. “I’m relieved that the politics are over, and we can start working on the platforms and ideas because that’s what students actually want.”

Weichert also ran unopposed for AAVP, a first for the position in more than five years, and won with 3,429 votes.

As the current AAVP, Weichert ran on platforms that emphasized the continuity of his position, as he aims to continue working on issues including addressing student fees, academic student advocacy and equitable academic policies.

“I’m relieved, very happy, very thankful for everyone who supported me,” Weichert said. “It’s been a whirlwind of a year and I’m just relieved to be winning.”

Photo of ASUC President results on projector screen

Weichert said his first plan this weekend is to sleep a lot. 

He noted he was the first AAVP in 40 years to be reelected.

“This feels really special,” Weichert said. “I’m excited to keep on doing great work for students at Cal.” 

Just as in  2021, Choi was the sole candidate running for student advocate, amassing 3,455 votes. 

A member of the Student Advocate Office, or SAO, since her freshman year and current external chief of staff, Choi’s platforms emphasize basic needs, accessible resources and increased visibility of the Student Advocate Office on campus. 

“We want to ensure that we serve any and all students regardless of party, academic standing, religious belief, anything that could be something that might create a division within the student body,” Choi said. “We would never want to alienate anyone.”

Choi added the increase in voter turnout may be related to the first in-person election in two years, noting she was happy students turned out to support campus.

Election results must be certified by both the Elections Council and the Judicial Council before they are deemed final. 

Staff writers Aditya Katewa, Lance Roberts and Veronica Roseborough also contributed to this report.

Maria Young is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @maria_myoung.

APRIL 09, 2022

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