1: CAMPUS COMMUNITY
– Rapid Real Estate
o Between enrollment increases, rising rents, and limited space, our campus is facing a perfect storm of a housing crisis. UC Berkeley must build more housing, beyond just meeting increased enrollment. The University cannot be allowed to continue deprioritizing housing and developing projects in locations that would have been ideal for student quarters. There is an opportunity cost for all development, and reckless development decisions can come at the expense of academic programs and the surrounding community. As EAVP, Rigel will pressure the University to develop affordable and accessible housing that does not sacrifice campus values and resources. Rigel will fight the development of the Oxford Tract, urge that the University’s hotel plans be reevaluated and converted into dense downtown housing, and limit the University from further pushing student housing out to Oakland or Richmond. As the Chair of the Real Estate Student Board, Rigel has worked extensively with the administrators responsible for key housing decisions all year and is regularly a key mouthpiece for student interests on the housing front. Rigel has also built meaningful connections with members of the Rent Stabilization Board over the last three years, with whom he will cooperate to educate students of their rights as tenants off campus.
– Town & Gown Halls
o Berkeley is a divided city. The EAVP Office will host regular town halls to bring local politics on campus. When issues relevant to student issues are being addressed at City Council, the EAVP Office will arrange special council meetings to be held on campus so that their decisions are more accessible to the students they affect. These channels for expanding civic engagement beyond voting will be critical in working with the city to ensure student interests are represented and ensuring that students are accountable to and engaged with issues off campus. From policies surrounding homelessness to police reform to reforming the GLA Ordinance, regular and healthy communication and dialogue between the campus and the city would make parties on all sides more informed and effective. Additionally, as EAVP, Rigel will conduct workshops and information sessions to get students appointed to City Commissions and promote available political internship opportunities in the East Bay.
– Empower Organizing
o EAVP is more than just a position- it’s an organization and an office. The EAVP Office needs someone at the helm with organizing experience who can empower the Campus Organizing Department to be the leading vehicle for political dissent through student government. The ASUC has the power to be a mobilizing arm of the student body, and ASUC officials have a moral obligation to reevaluate who they are as public servants on campus and tackle the issues of the communities that need to be heard. Rigel will use the EAVP Office to embolden organizing on campus and bring organizers directly to the table with administrators and officials in Berkeley, at UCOP, and in Sacramento. Too often, it is only ASUC representatives that have the opportunity to interface directly with external stakeholders and officials. This must change. As EAVP, Rigel will commit to conducting regular community and stakeholder engagement meetings with student organizations to ensure that the mobilizing efforts of EAVP elevate the goals of students leading campaigns on the issues affecting them.
2: OUR UC
– Rollback You Bears
o Berkeley must be an inclusive and accessible campus, but perpetual enrollment increases put an unbearable stress on the campus that prevents us from providing basic needs security and stability to the student body. From impacted majors and crowded class sizes to housing availability and student safety, students are being hurt because the campus is far over capacity. This is due in large part to state practices of offering increases in UC funding contingent on increases in enrollment. Such a practice is counterproductive both to the State’s budget and to the University’s ability to serve its students. As EAVP, Rigel will integrate this into the core of the ASUC’s lobbying strategy at the state level and launch a campaign in coordination with UCSA to halt enrollment increases to impacted campuses such as Berkeley.
– Balancing our Budgets with Values
o Public education is struggling in California. Decreasing financial support from the State makes it more and more difficult for individual campuses to fund and carry out their goals and visions for their students. This year, Rigel has worked with UCOP to engage student groups in supporting the UC’s Zero Waste by 2020 Goal, which has otherwise been criticized for receiving insufficient support from UCOP. The UC must generate innovative answers and work to make sure that its financial tension doesn’t get in the way of staying true to UC values. Rigel has already initiated discussions with the Chief Investments Office of UCOP to develop a path to fossil fuel divestment, and as EAVP he will further open channels to ensure that the UC can maintain its momentum towards its goals in a cost effective way while not holding on to hypocritical policies.
– Regent Reform
o The UC Regents afford the costs they incur through construction on our campuses primarily through loans. The UC Regents maintain their AAA credit rating by ensuring that they can raise student fees. For this reason, among others, we’ve seen constant tuition increases but have only won tuition freezes, not tuition rollbacks. The UC uses its powerful reputation to exploit the student tuition market to afford further construction bonds. Since UC Regents are appointed to the Board of Regents for 12 year terms by Governors, sometimes as political favors, there is little incentive for self-reform. It is past time that the UC Board of Regents be democratized and made accountable to students and accountable to the true mission of the UC: affordable, accessible, quality education. Far too many of the Regents are out of touch with the campuses they are said to represent. As EAVP, Rigel will rally External Affairs Offices of every UC campus to prioritize Regent Reform, by means of the legislature or a public initiative.
3: THE STATE, THE NATION, BEYOND
– Write it, Right it
o Bringing students to the table is one thing, but we can take it a step further and bring students to the podium. State legislation has been proposed, suggested, and drafted by students before, and it can and should happen more often. As EAVP, Rigel will leverage the resources of UCSA to make legislating accessible to students. Rigel will establish a team within the infrastructure of the Legislative Affairs Department devoted to sourcing ideas for state and national legislation and connecting students with the legislative aides of elected officials who can carry the idea forward. By directly engaging students in the legislative process, we can promote the passage of new laws that aren’t just for students, but by students.
– Cross-Campus Collaboration
o Campus activism is not a vacuum, and many of the issues experienced at Berkeley are being fought for on other campuses by students not unlike our own. As EAVP, Rigel will prioritize ensuring that the same resources for system-wide communication and collaboration that student governments have will be given to organizers. From campaigns for multicultural resource centers and spaces to ethnic studies programs to environmental sustainability practices, student governments have not, and never will be, at the forefront, yet they are far more well-resourced than communities struggling for education justice. Such collaboration happens often in spaces like the UC Students Association (UCSA), but seldom becomes accessible to student organizations and campaigns outside of student government. Using the networks of UCSA and USSA, both of which he has worked with, Rigel will develop a cohesive infrastructure for creating channels for communication between parallel organizations and campaigns across different campuses.
o Together, as President and EAVP, Zaynab and Rigel will reframe the ASUC to center the will of those on the frontlines of social, racial, and environmental justice. Under a federal administration intent on going to war with public higher education and its students, it will be the duty of the ASUC to support students fighting back. The ASUC has access to immense resources that are most efficiently and effectively applied through direct democracy, by yielding the floor to student leaders outside of the ASUC, not using the ASUC as an intermediary. Zaynab and Rigel will lead the UC Council of Presidents and the UCSA to provide a united student front that will ensure that the UC prioritizes the students, regardless of and despite federal orders. Whether in the service of undocumented students or Black students or Muslim students or queer and trans students, the ASUC must be prepared to leverage the resources and capital of its networks on campus to amplify the students that will actively be being silenced by the federal government.
Senator, ASUC* (2016-Present)
Chair, Real Estate Student Board* (2016-Present)
ASUC Representative, Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability* (2016-Present)
ASUC Representative, Admin Committee on Spaces Allocations and Capital Improvements* (2016-Present)
Member, Basic Needs Coalition* (2016-Present)
Member, Zero Waste Student Coalition* (2016-Present)
Member, ASUC Solar Committee* (2015)
Intern, U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr.* (2016)
Vice President of Membership, Cal Berkeley Democrats* (2015-2016)
Founder, UC Berkeley Students for Bernie* (2015-2016)
Grassroots Organizing Weekend Trainer, United States Student Association* (2014-2016)
Fund the UC Campaign Manager, ASUC EAVP* (2015-2016)
Community Development & Relations Manager, ASUC EAVP* (2015)
Intern, ASUC EAVP* (2014)
City Council Intern, Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin* (2015)
Congressional Intern, Congressman Lacy Clay* (2015)
Communications Intern, American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri* (2015)
Member, Korean American Student Association* (2015)
Member, Cal Fencing* (2014-2016)
Evening News Anchor, KALX Radio* (2014)
Campus Editor-At-Large, Huffington Post* (2016-Present)
Ralph Washington Jr., UCSA President*
Guillermo Rogel, Former UCSA Board Chair*
Zaynab Abdulqadir-Morris, ASUC Senator*
Chris Yamas, ASUC Senator*
Rosa Kwak, ASUC Senator*
Alyssa Liu, ASUC Senator*
Jenny Kim, ASUC Senator*
Benyamin bin Mohd Yusof, ASUC Senator*
Marandah Field-Elliot, ASUC Senator*
Nathan Kelleher, ASUC Senator*
Miranda Hernandez, ASUC Senator*
*Titles for identification purposes only.