Candidates Prioritize Development, Unity

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After this year's ASUC president's office worked toward expanding campus development, many presidential candidates said they hope to continue support for those projects while also unifying the student community.

Past presidents said the office must be able to support the different viewpoints across both the association and students.

"The president needs to be someone who can bring diverse students together in order to solve the important issues we face on campus today," said current ASUC President Van Nguyen.

This year's office worked toward securing $750,000 for Lower Sproul Plaza redevelopment from campus administrators, one of the year's biggest successes, Nguyen said.

"We couldn't have done it without having a diverse coalition of students," he said. "It takes someone with a backbone when it comes to advocating for students."

Of the seven presidential candidates, both CalSERVE Senator Roxanne Winston and Student Action candidate and current Academic Affairs Vice President Curtis Lee cited campus development as a high priority.

Winston said that if elected, she hopes to secure additional funding for Lower Sproul Plaza redevelopment, increase student participation in high-level negotiations with the administration and keep the university affordable.

"The ASUC is about representing (students') needs for lower fees, increased access to scholarships and grants and maintaining affordable performance spaces (for student groups) on campus," she said.

By reaching out to student communities, programming events and bringing prominent speakers to campus, Winston said she would like to see the ASUC motivate greater campus unity.

"I want to make sure students here feel they're really a part of the history of this university," she said. "Students should have ownership of their student government."

Like Winston, Lee described campus development in Lower Sproul as a major goal, along with establishing a 24-hour study space on campus and continuing advocacy for a permanent multicultural center.

"The money we've secured for Lower Sproul is just a drop in the bucket," he said. "I would work with administrators to make sure we're bringing effective spaces and services to Lower Sproul."

Lee said he would tap into the vast alumni network to facilitate development and better address students' needs.

"I will make real steps toward targeting specific services directly related to student life such as advising, health and career services," he said, proposing items such as online appointments at the Tang Center and moving the Career Center closer to campus.

Nguyen also noted the importance of working toward wide policy goals to achieve success.

"You can't sell the student body short," he said. "Your vision must be larger and more expansive than simply putting on a small event."

Defend Affirmative Action Party candidate Ronald Cruz said he would also like to take a broad view of the office, saying he would work to organize a new civil rights and students' rights movement through the ASUC.

If elected, Cruz said he would like to mobilize students to voice demands about rising student fees, affirmative action and the DREAM Act, and eliminating what he said were discriminatory measures involved in UC admissions, specifically the SAT.

Others vying for the office include Friends Urging Campus Kindness candidate and Berkeley College Republicans President Ross Lingenfelder, SQUELCH! candidate Fred Taylor-Hochberg, Ftyyar.byhf.awgvwfguihs.twnuctdsos. candidate Joshua Hug and BEARS-United candidate Johnathan Kim, who is running for all five executive offices.

Taylor-Hochberg is a former employee of The Daily Californian.

Although some third-party candidates have goals that may be outside the mainstream, such as Lingenfelder's plan to turn the senate chambers into a casino, many said they want to use their candidacy to highlight the flaws in the association.

"The ASUC needs to grow up and stop being a high school popularity contest like it is right now," Taylor-Hochberg said.

Partisanship and the two-party system were critical problems within the association, candidates said.

"For too many years we have had the same two parties running the ASUC and ... too many students' voices have gone unheard," Kim said.

Despite elections season partisanship, former president Manuel Buenrostro said the president must rise above party politics to achieve success.

"To get things done, I really tried to avoid party politics," Buenrostro said. "A successful president needs to be someone who is willing to listen to students and people who disagree with them."

The ASUC elections will be held April 8-10.

Tags: ASUC ELECTIONS 2008, PRESIDENT


Contact Kelly Fitzpatrick at [email protected]



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