Student Advocate Candidates See Different Roles for Office

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As candidates campaign for the office of ASUC Student Advocate, many of the hopefuls said they would focus on raising awareness of the office's services.

One of the main duties of the student advocate is to aid students charged with violations of university policy. The office also works with financial aid problems, grade disputes, and the filing of grievances against members of the campus community.

Elections for senators and all executive offices, including student advocate, are being held today through Thursday.

Current student advocate Matt DeMartini said he would like his successor to be involved and knowledgeable about the workings of the office.

"We want someone who is heavily invested in the office, knows what it's about and wants it to continue and get better," DeMartini said.

Although the position is traditionally nonpartisan, the two major parties, CalSERVE and Student Action, often endorse candidates who have done previous work in the office.

Independent candidate Hassan Khan, current chief of staff to DeMartini, is endorsed by both parties. Khan said he wishes to focus on increasing the profile of the office.

"The success of the office is tied to how many people know about and utilize its services," he said. "Without proper publicity, caseworkers in the office go underutilized and the student advocate cannot claim to have effectively done his job."

Khan said he will reform the student code of conduct and make a system to track complaints against UCPD officers.

Defend Affirmative Action Party candidate Marlysa Thomas said she also hopes to raise awareness for the office's services, but feels the student advocate should be go beyond assigned duties.

If elected, Thomas said she would like to restore students' right to a lawyer in university cases.

"I want to make the student advocate a student activist, a defender of students' rights," Thomas said.

Thomas said she would do this by creating a new Web site specifically for the student advocate's office. She said she would also hold workshops and forums to educate students about their rights and the office's programs.

Others did not place the publicity of the office as a high priority.

If elected, SQUELCH! candidate Sarah Jeong said she would sue the ASUC in order to protect the student body.

"The ASUC has been taking money from us," Jeong said. "They are causing financial, bodily and emotional harm to the student body."

Independent candidate Joshua Hug said he hopes to catch the sexual predator who has committed assaults on Southside. He said he feels the university does not work effectively for students.

"The university administrators do not know fear, and, as they have a monopoly on all power in disputes, there is no justice," he said.


Contact Christina Berke at [email protected]

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