Elections 2010: Spotlight on Student Action’s ASUC Executive Slate

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1. Noah Stern, Student Action’s Candidate for ASUC President

Noah Stern, a sophomore and current ASUC senator, is running for the position of ASUC president on the Student Action slate. Stern told the Patriot that he is running on a moderate, inclusive platform focused on creating a strong campus community. We were impressed by his apparent leadership abilities. He recounted instances of working with campus administrators and current ASUC leaders and finding solutions to problems, in particular the November 20 Wheeler Hall occupation. In addition, he pledged to promote policies and activities that will help improve the student experience at Cal. He proposed working with local printers and other businesses to allow student groups to buy in bulk at discounted rates and encourage groups to form coalitions for their mutual benefit. He also hopes to bring more popular entertainers and speakers to campus and ensure that students have access to them, complaining in particular that more than 1500 students should have been able to see former US President Bill Clinton’s speech in February. However, we do have some concerns about Stern. He has been very loyal to the Student Action party and appears to remain ideologically loyal to them: will he be in tune with the issues of the student body or those of his party? In addition, we wonder if he is ready to stand up to campus administrators when necessary. He did cite some examples where he thought officials need to improve (lack of student inclusion, focus on student needs, etc) but these seemed very generic in nature and did not convince us that he would be a strong force against the chancellor when necessary instead of his spokesman to the student body.

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2. Nanxi Liu, Student Action’s Candidate for Executive Vice President

For the office of ASUC executive vice president, the California Patriot is reporting on Student Action’s Nanxi Liu. As a sophomore, she has quite an ambitious agenda for the office. First, she is a big advocate of transparency for the budget, which is a common goal for students running for executive office. Second, she wants to increase accessibility of resources for student groups, such as grants and general equipment for meetings and events. Finally, she would like to get in touch more with the student population and not just let the vocal minority be heard, and her main strategy is to update the ASUC website and send out more notifications in an attempt to get more students engaged and have opportunities to get comfortable with their student government. The main responsibility of the EVP is conducting senate meetings, but her ability to do this remains questionable given her inexperience with the university and particularly the ASUC. Her response regarding this is that she believes one essential quality is leadership experience. She claims her experience as an ASUC senator intern and as a financial officer who has to meet with every organization, has helped her get to know many different student groups and their needs. Also, it has been reported that she has a clear understanding of Robert’s Rules, which is essential in managing ASUC senate meetings. However, should Ms. Liu be elected, do not be surprised to see the ASUC make political statements of the sort made at UCSD; when asked about her views on the UCSD “Compton Cookout” fallout, whether the ASUCSD was right in revoking funds from student media organizations for speech deemed to be inappropriate or offensive, Liu indicated she would have supported the decision. Overall, Liu is a somewhat impressive candidate, but her expressed agenda, background, and answers to our questions are not without reservations about her ability to perform her job strictly as EVP.

3. Bundit Kertbundit, Student Action’s Candidate for External Affairs Vice President

Running for the ASUC office of external affairs vice president is Bundit Kertbundit, a junior transfer with significant experience in student government. Throughout his high school and college education, Kertbundit has pursued various leadership positions and responsibilities with the aim of improving conditions for students. Kertbundit has previously served as a lobbyist and deputy chief to current ASUC Executive Vice President Tu Tran, in addition to working as a student advocate at his former college. He was actively involved with last year’s March 16th protests on the Capitol along with 5,000 community college students.

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However, he is a believer in the effectiveness of peaceful protesting and that the riots our university has experienced reflect poorly on the student body. Should he be elected, he intends to focus on the issues of living affordability for students as well as begin a porch light campaign and texting hotline to make students safer in their environment. Additionally, Mr. Kertbundit says that the ASUC could be improved by focusing more on matters that directly affect students rather than taking a position on outside political issues.

4. Yoori Chung, Student Action’s Candidate for Academic Affairs Vice President

We are featuring Student Action’s candidate Yoori Chung for the position of ASUC academic affairs vice president. Chung prioritizes academics as her most important focus at Cal. As a Christian student, Yoori wants to bring her religious and moral values into the ASUC. Some of her goals include strengthening the CourseRank online system by providing important details for students to be aware of, such as add and drop deadlines. Yoori additionally wants to cut through the bureaucracy that student groups have to go through in order to receive funding each year, but we wonder whether her “streamlining” approach wouldn’t just create more bureaucracy within the ASUC. Also, we are worried that her plan would lead to more money being spent as a result of more student groups potentially applying for and receiving grants.

Chung is an advocate of keeping libraries open 24 hours during the finals weeks, and is also in favor of keeping various rooms lit in Dwinelle and Barrows for studying during finals. Extra energy costs and security costs, however, may go into effect under such a policy. Finally, she was interested in expanding the Career Center and making it more accessible to students living in the dorms their freshman year, as well as incorporating programs for the RAs to implement and include a portal for the Cal Alumni Association. Although we wince at the notion that the ASUC is necessary for making any great improvement on student life, we find Ms. Chung’s proposals both achievable and well-supported by the majority of students. We are, however, worried that her agenda will mean an increase in ASUC spending.

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