Chris Yamas for ASUC Senate

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Platforms:

A Voice for Transfers and Inclusive Communities

 

Transfer students make up over 20% of the undergraduate student population, yet we have exactly ZERO seats in the ASUC Senate. This is a consistent issue, and it is unacceptable. Without representation, we lack the ability to advocate for our issues. As a Senator, I will collaborate with the Re-Entry & Transfer Student Association (RTSA) and Transfer Center to create a Leadership Pathways program that prepares prospective transfer students for ASUC and campus involvement. Ultimately, the system itself has to change. In the Senate, I will engage the ASUC, transfer community, and the whole student body to pass a constitutional amendment in Spring 2017 to ensure transfers are always guaranteed representation in their student government.

 

Additionally, Transfers and inclusive communities such as re-entry students, parents, veterans, and low-income students are not only lacking in ASUC representation, but also face unique challenges while working toward their degree. It is with this in mind that I collaborated with various community leaders and ASUC President* Yordanos Dejen to create the Transfer and Nontraditional Communities Committee in the ASUC.  Both in my current capacities, and as a Senator, I will work with this committee to:

1)      Support RTSA & other org’s to promote positive social connections and mental health;

2)      Help student families afford the cost of new University Village rent hikes;

3)      Enhance on-campus transportation for disabled veterans;

4)      Increase internet accessibility of essential campus resources; and

5)      Provide more opportunities for transfer-designated and veteran-designated housing.

 

A Comprehensive Affordable Housing Plan

 

There is an affordable housing crisis at UC Berkeley. We have the highest student housing costs of any public university in the country, and yet we are provided the smallest degree of on-campus housing of all the UC campuses. The students most affected by this crisis are low-income and often from marginalized communities such as underrepresented minorities, queer and trans students, and undocumented students. An estimated 800 Cal students are homeless, working toward their degree while dealing with the dangers of living in shelters or on the street. As ASUC Housing Affairs Manager* and Vice-Chair* of the Student Housing Commission, I have met weekly with students and campus staff to become more informed on housing concerns, organized and led rallies and events to demand more on-campus housing, and recently formed a Student Homelessness Taskforce in the ASUC. As City Council Liaison* for the ASUC, I have worked closely with our Berkeley Councilmember* Kriss Worthington and actively advocated for policies that promote greater development of affordable housing city-wide.

 

As a Senator, I will be an unrelenting advocate for both long-term and immediate solutions to this crisis. I will work with my fellow Senators and Executives to use the full force and influence of the ASUC to ensure new public-private housing developments offer rents at dorm-level costs or below. I will build partnerships with local nonprofits to develop more affordable housing options like the Berkeley Student Cooperative. And through the Student Homelessness Taskforce, I will explore practical and creative solutions to eventually eliminate student homelessness at UC Berkeley. With these approaches, we will begin to seriously address our urgent student housing crisis.

 

Undergraduate & Graduate Student Collaboration

 

There are a number of priorities shared by both undergraduate and graduate students at Cal such as food & housing security, campus safety, career prospects, and overall mental & physical well-being. Our recent success in retaining health coverage for dependents is evidence that we are strongest when we work together. That is why I want to be an advocate for graduate students in the ASUC. On housing matters, I have partnered with graduate student leaders to foster a united student voice that can more powerfully lobby the University and external institutions to take action on our demands. As a Senator, I will further promote this kind of collaboration by designating liaisons between the ASUC and the Graduate Assembly to increase transparency and solidarity on issues that affect undergraduate and graduate students.

Qualifications:

 

Housing Affairs Manager*- ASUC EAVP

ASUC Liaison*- Re-entry & Transfer Student Association

Assistant Chair*- ASUC Student Housing Commission

City Council Liaison*- ASUC EAVP

Housing Intern*- Office of Berkeley City Councilmember* Kriss Worthington

Field & Campus Organizer*- California Democratic Party (CA-26)

Legislative Intern*- Office of CA Senator* Fran Pavley (SD-27)

Congressional Intern*- Office of U.S. Representative* Julia Brownley (CA-26)

Endorsements:

 

Marium Navid, ASUC EAVP*

Jenna Kingkade, President*, Graduate Assembly

Iman Sylvain, EAVP* and President*-elect, Graduate Assembly

Young Jung, President*, Re-entry & Transfer Student Association (RTSA)

Nimsi Garcia, External Vice President*, RTSA

Gabriela Ledezma, Former President*, RTSA

Jimmy Trinh, Executive Vice President*, RTSA

Malaya Ibabao, Administrative Chair*, RTSA

Jimmy Tran, Communications Director*, RTSA

Village Residents Association

Violeta Alvarez, President*, Underground Scholars Initiative

Caleb Martinez, President*, Student Parent Association for Recruitment & Retention (SPARR)

Bryce Schierenbeck, President*, Cal Veterans Group

Juan Prieto, External Affairs Director*, Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education (RISE)

Tyler Barnum, Chair*, Graduate Assembly Housing Advisory Working Group

Matthew Lewis, Local Affairs Director* & Student Housing Commission Chair*, ASUC

Carson Turner, External Vice President*, Undergraduate Political Science Association (UPSA)

Caiden Nason, Issues Chair*, UPSA

Aidan MacEachern, Academic Chair*, UPSA

Ryan Weinberg, Director of Development*, UPSA

James Chang, Commissioner*, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board (RSB)

Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Commissioner*, Berkeley RSB and Housing Advisory Commission

Jesse Arreguin, Councilmember, Berkeley City Council


*Titles for identification purpose only.