Senatorial candidates explain platforms, discuss qualifications
Anastasia Ruttkay, a fourth-year international relations major, has decided to run for senate on the Based slate in order to increase sexual harassment awareness and prevention across campus. With experience as a member of the Alpha Phi sorority as well as a past senatorial staff member for current ASUCD president Alex Lee, Ruttkay wants to implement programs within Greek life to prevent occurrences of sexual assault from happening at UC Davis.
“Greek life is one of the main demographics a part of those who contribute the statistics on one in five women in college getting sexualy assaulted,” Ruttkay said. “[Right now] there’s nothing within the individual chapters where there’s a resource for sexual assault prevention.”
If elected, Ruttkay would work with the Study Abroad Office to provide resources in order for students to easily assimilate into a new culture and would fight for increased visibility within the campus administration, especially with the newly elected chancellor.
Matthew Yamaguchi, a fourth-year managerial economics major running as an independent candidate, has focused his platforms on resources for clubs and organizations in order to spread collaboration and constructive efforts. His background in economics and business has inspired him to run in order to help students contribute to the campus.
“The main idea [of my first platform] is to create a physical space for students, clubs, organizations and student-run projects to really collaborate and work together,” Yamaguchi said. “[You can have] all these clubs working in unison […] and the idea is to have all [of them] working together.”
If elected, Yamaguchi would also focus on the use of fields under consideration for residence hall expansion in the Long Range Development plan, as well as the transportation needs of the campus in the form of ride-sharing partners and emergency services. His experience with the Unitrans unit of ASUCD has exposed him to this need of the student body.
Alexander Rodriguez, a third-year history major, is running for senate in order to bring to light the multicultural aspects of the UC Davis campus. One of this independent candidate’s biggest platforms includes bringing different groups, organizations and clubs of various representations together to showcase the resources these communities can provide.
“[I’m] really trying to celebrate our diversity […to] show that Davis has so much to offer and every student should feel welcome,” Rodriguez said. “[Students should] be able to be themselves and celebrate themselves, and [I want] to educate people and get people interested in [different views], whether it be a culture or religion.”
As a part of the Muslim Student Association, Rodriguez wants to emphasize the importance of providing the campus with resources meant for specific demographics. His platforms focus on creating a cleansing station for the Davis Muslim population and beyond, representing students’ experiences in the expansion of mental health resources and educating the campus culturally and spiritually overall.
As a third-year English major and transfer student, Madison Wheeler is running independently for senate to emphasize the devotion she has for supporting her community. Wheeler wants to provide the campus with resources within her platforms of campus safety and security.
“My platforms [are] just making sure that people are safe on campus and can get the help when things go wrong,” Wheeler said. “One of the main concerns that I [have] is the fact that there is only one sexual assault assembly that is mandatory for students as incoming students, and I thought that that was a little odd because if someone is here for five years, […] they just don’t hear about what sexual assault really is.”
Wheeler, if elected, plans on simplifying resources for survivors, including the implementation of a student-based support group and streamlining the sexual violence prevention website. In addition, Wheeler plans on adding substantive lighting and expanding emergency systems on campus. Although she has only recently transferred to UC Davis, Wheeler understands the importance of these resources on such a large campus.
Simran Grewal, second-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major and Summit candidate, hopes to bring more diversity to ASUCD if elected.
“ASUCD serves the student body and it represents all student voices and all those student voices are from different majors, different programs [and] different ethnicities,” Grewal said. “And I thought I’d like to make a difference in ASUCD and have people of different majors come to be involved.”
Grewal previously served as chief of staff for Senator Sevan Nahabedian and is the current vice chair of the Internal Affairs Commission (IAC) and chief of staff for ASUCD Vice President Abhay Sandhu.
Grewal’s platforms include expanding both public health education and dietary diversity on campus. She also wants to install coffee vending machines on the first floor of the library and increase library hours during finals week.
Julie Jung, who is a second-year political science major and part of the Summit slate, currently serves as an interim senator.
“I actually wasn’t planning on running until maybe a week after I got sworn in,” Jung said. “I realized that there [were] just so many things to do and I couldn’t complete [them] all within one quarter and I knew that I needed to have this seat for at least a whole entire year for me to be able to do something impactful and for me to have a meaningful Senate term.”
Jung hopes to improve the relationship between the senate and the ASUCD units, increase student accessibility to campus food resources like The Pantry and encourage more international students to become involved in ASUCD.
“I know that, as an international student, there [aren’t] many chances for [international] students to get involved within ASUCD,” Jung said.
Jung plans on being a support system for the various areas of ASUCD if elected.
Alexander Keyser, a third-year political science major and Summit candidate, has previously served as vice chair of the Internal Affairs Commission as well as chief of staff for Senator Sam Park. If elected, Keyser plans on helping ASUCD units gain more knowledge regarding ASUCD in order to work more efficiently.
“I’ve watched [the units] struggle with adopted senator programs and seen bills that they’ve tried to pass fail for stupid reasons and I was kind of sick of it,” Keyser said. “I want them to have more influence in ASUCD.”
Keyser also wants to raise awareness of the mental health resources available to students. One of Keyser’s platforms is to change the Intercollegiate Athletics funding from a student fee service to a college paid service in order to increase efficiency.
Jose Antonio Meneses
Jose Antonio Meneses, second-year political science major and Based candidate, hopes to establish a legal undergraduate clinic if elected, likely through the establishment of an additional ASUCD unit.
“I decided to run as a sophomore because I think a lot of people don’t understand how the association works,” Meneses said. “And when I say that, I mean that platforms that you put forward need to be accomplished and platforms do take time. And so as a sophomore, I know I have [an] ample amount of time to work on these platforms.”
Meneses, who has previously served as a legislative aid under former ASUCD President Mariah Watson and has worked with Senator Georgia Savage on her “Let’s Talk about Sex” sexual assault awareness project, also plans on increasing retention and graduation rates for the Asian Pacific Islander community as well as bringing domestic violence awareness and prevention programs to UC Davis.
Zachary Moore, fourth-year economics major, is running on the Summit slate. Although he has no formal senate experience, Moore has interned at CALPIRG and is part of several business organizations.
Moore’s platforms include increasing career preparation and networking resources on campus.
“When guest speakers or recruiters from firms come to campus they usually do stuff through student club organization[s],” Moore said. “By running them through the [Internship and Career Center], it will get them more publicity [and] allow more students [to have access to these opportunities].”
Moore also plans to create a UC Davis mobile app interface so students can see which study rooms are currently available in addition to installing Buddy Benches on campus as a means of encouraging community members to mingle.
Daniel Nagey, a second-year managerial economics and psychology double major and Based candidate, has worked as legislative director for The Office of Advocacy & Student Representation and deputy director for Lobby Corps.
“I’m familiar with how the entire structure of ASUCD works,” Nagey said. “So I think that’ll be a really easy transition for me to hop into Senate especially because I have worked with senators [and] coworkers of mine have become senators, so I’ve been through the process of being with them as they ran in previous years and see[ing] what they do on a daily basis. I would say I’m fairly to very familiar with how meetings run and whatnot.”
Nagey’s platforms include addressing food and housing insecurities, increasing transparency surrounding tuition increases and destigmatizing mental health.