CalSERVE Says It Will Not Run an Executive Slate

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UC Berkeley's oldest existing student political party announced Thursday that it has decided not to run any executive candidates in the spring 2011 ASUC elections.

Cal Students for Equal Rights and a Valid Education, or CalSERVE, will not be nominating an executive slate in order to focus more on work within the communities that form the traditionally coalition-style makeup of the party, though it will still run candidates for the ASUC Senate, according to party senators.

It is still possible that someone from CalSERVE could decide to run for a position independent of party support in time for the filing deadline Friday, though party leaders said they are not aware of anyone intending to do so.

Current CalSERVE Senator Larry Bach said the consensus decision to not run candidates for executive office came as a result of several meetings held over the course of about two months.

"There have been times where there was no CalSERVE executives in office, and it was the senators who kept (the executives) accountable to the students when representing them to the administration," Bach said.

The last time the party did not run an executive slate was in 2006, when it wanted to shift focus to campus issues outside of the ASUC. Currently, the party has two executives in the student government - External Affairs Vice President Ricardo Gomez and Academic Affairs Vice President Viola Tang.

Tang said having no executives in office will allow the party to play a larger role in student activism, as she said it was able to do last academic year, when no party executives were elected.

The Student Action party, which has traditionally been CalSERVE's primary competitor, announced its executive slate on March 2. Christopher Alabastro and Julia Joung, the Student Action candidates for executive vice president and academic affairs vice president, respectively, said CalSERVE's announcement, though surprising, will not change their campaign efforts.

"I didn't come into this seeing it as solely a bipartisan election," Alabastro said. "As of now, I still feel the pressure of the election."

CalSERVE was founded in 1984 in order to mobilize students around the systemwide campaign to encourage the UC to divest funds from Apartheid-era South Africa and has since focused on including marginalized communities and underserved students. CalSERVE Senator Kenny Gong said that the party's history shows that it has been mainly a coalition and that its decision not to run executives will enable the party to pursue other methods of accomplishing its goals outside of the traditional channels of the student government.

"Because we're not just a political party, because we don't exist just to get folks into office, I see this as an opportunity for folks to really think about what CalSERVE means and understand that even if we don't run folks on the executive slate, CalSERVE values still exist," Gong said.


J.D. Morris is the lead student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

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