Associated Students of the University of California

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Associated Students of the University of California
Formation 1887 (1887)
Type Student association
Legal status 501(c)(3) organization
William Morrow
Executive Vice President
Alicia Lau
External Affairs Vice President
André Luu
Academic Affairs Vice President
Frances McGinley
Main organ
ASUC Senate
Formerly called
Associated Students of the College of Letters and Sciences

The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) is the officially recognized students' association of UC Berkeley. It was founded in 1887,[2] and is an independent 501(c)3[1] non-profit unincorporated association. The ASUC controls funding for ASUC-sponsored organizations, advocates on behalf of students to solve issues on campus and in the community, engages with administrators to develop programming, increase student-organizational resources, and increase transparency.



Student political parties, popularly known as slates, and independent student communities participate in the ASUC.


CalSERVE (Cal Students for Equal Rights and a Valid Education) is a progressive multicultural student coalition representing, among others, the Pilipin@, Latin@ (RAZA Caucus), black, queer, progressive API, environmental and transfer student communities at Cal. The party was founded in 1984 to protest Apartheid and pressure administrators to divest the UC financial portfolio from businesses cooperating with the Apartheid government. Each year, CalSERVE leaders manage student issue-based campaigns unrelated to the ASUC, including passing Proposition 30 and defeating Proposition 32 (2012); disaggregating the "Asian-American" racial/ethnic category on admissions documents; registering students to vote during election years; and creating gender-neutral restrooms in campus buildings. Former Speaker of the California State Assembly and current University of California Regent John Pérez was a member of CalSERVE while a student at Cal, as were Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). CalSERVE is often represented by the colors lime green, white and black.

Student Action[edit]

Cooperative Movement Party[edit]

Founded in 2008, the Cooperative Movement Party (Coop) consistently runs, and elects, one student for the ASUC Senate every year. The Cooperative Movement Party represents the Berkeley Student Cooperative and each of the houses in the Cooperative. Coop senators traditionally support strong environmental sustainability initiatives, social justice, and transparency in the way the ASUC conducts its business. The party is usually represented by the colors forest green and white.


SQUELCH! traditionally runs satirical slates for the executive offices and Senate each year, in addition to one or two serious candidates. The "serious" Senate candidate almost always wins a seat by a large margin, though SQUELCH!-backed executive candidates have a much harder time getting elected. In 2012, SQUELCH! senator Noah Ickowitz ran for ASUC president and was endorsed by The Daily Californian, but placed third, behind the Student Action and CalSERVE candidates. SQUELCH! has no official party colors, but is usually represented by golden yellow in ASUC elections. Despite the similarity in name, SQUELCH! is unaffiliated with satirical campus magazine the Heuristic Squelch.[citation needed]

Other parties[edit]

Other parties that compete or have competed in ASUC elections, but are not currently represented in the Senate, are SLATE, Pact, VOICE, Students for a Democratic University, Defend Affirmative Action Party and Berkeley College Republicans.

SLATE, a pioneer organization of the New Left and precursor of the Free Speech Movement and formative counterculture era, was a campus political party at Cal from 1958 to 1966.

VOICE (a radical party) and Pact (a liberal party) were campus political parties at Cal in 1967.[3]

Students for a Democratic University (SDU), founded in 2012 in response to the Occupy movement, supports radical democratization of the way the university and the ASUC are run. In 2012, though no SDU candidate was able to win a seat in the Senate, candidate Isaac Kreisman came within five places.

Defend Affirmative Action Party (DAAP) is the political party affiliated with BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), a leftist organization formed to oppose the abolition of affirmative action in state hiring and university admissions in 1995-6. Though DAAP runs full Senate and Executive slates every year, the party has never won one of the Executive offices. DAAP uses the colors red, white and black on its elections flyers, posters and literature.

In past years, the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR), the official student Republican Party club at Cal, have run candidates for the Senate and Executive offices, but have not in at least the last three. Rather than run their own candidates, BCR has chosen instead to endorse their members who run as candidates with other parties, including Nils Gilbertson (Student Action) and Steven Johnson (Student Action) in 2012. Though neither won a seat in the 2012 election, Gilbertson became a senator in January 2013 upon the resignation of another Student Action senator. Nils placed 21st in the 2012 election, and so was automatically called up to the senate upon his predecessor's resignation.

Programs and resources[edit]

The ASUC's responsibilities include allocating student group funding through a yearly spring budgeting process. The Finance Officer evaluates each club's funding request, length of time as a sponsored organization, and history of funding in order to determine how much money each registered student organization should be allocated. The ASUC budgets in excess of $1 million each year to campus organizations, including the Bridges multicultural resource & retention center.[4]

In addition to allocating money to sponsored organization, the ASUC runs a number of programs for the benefit of students and student organizations on campus. These include various workshops on funding, how to get access to student spaces, financial literacy and more. The Office of the Executive Vice President's Student Organization Services department works directly with the LEAD Center of the ASUC Student Union to provide student groups with support and information.

The Academic Affairs Vice President's Office runs a number of scholarships for students with financial need.


The President & External Affairs Vice Presidents' offices focus much of their time on student advocacy, often relating to issues of sexual assault, campus safety, student voice, mental health, equality, and diversity.[4]


The ASUC Constitution establishes a students' association with elected officials modeled after California's separation-of-powers and plural elected executive framework.

The five elected executive offices of the ASUC are, in order of succession, the President, Executive Vice President, External Affairs Vice President, Academic Affairs Vice President, and Student Advocate. Political parties that compete in ASUC elections usually run candidates for the first four positions, while the fifth, Student Advocate, is traditionally won in a nonpartisan race by the Chief of Staff of the outgoing Student Advocate.[4]

The President is the official representative of the ASUC and the student body at Cal. The office is charged with executing the responsibilities and authority of the ASUC, liaising with administrators and faculty, and representing the ASUC and student body both on and off campus.

The Executive Vice President (EVP) chairs all Senate meetings and is responsible for executing the administrative functions of the Senate, including: preparing the weekly agenda; reviewing all Senate bills for consistency with the ASUC Constitution and Bylaws; assigning senators to standing and ad hoc Senate committees and other Senate committees; and training the incoming senators each year before they take office through a Senate Leadership Institute.

The External Affairs Vice President (EAVP) represents the Berkeley campus in the University of California Student Association (UCSA), the students' association that represents all 10 UC campuses.

The Academic Affairs Vice President (AAVP) is responsible for making student appointments to committees of the Berkeley division of the Academic Senate; for issuing grants to students and student groups; and for negotiating academic policy with the campus administration on behalf of the ASUC and student body.


The executive offices of the ASUC are popularly elected. The 2015-2016 academic year executives are President Yordanos Dejen,[5] Executive Vice President Lavanya Jawaharlal,[6] External Affairs Vice President Marium Navid,[7] and Academic Affairs Vice President Melissa Hsu.[8] For the 2016-2017 year, the executives will be President Will Morrow, Executive Vice President Alicia Lau, External Affairs Vice President André Luu and Academic Affairs Vice President Frances McGinley. All four belong to the Student Action party.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b ASUC Form 990 for the 2008-2009 tax year
  2. ^ Johnson, Robert S. (1966). "Berkeley: Student Government". University of California History. Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  3. ^ Glusman, Paul (October 6–12, 1967). "Anti-Plaque Claque Wins". Berkeley Barb. p. 14. Retrieved 2017-01-29. Voting in the affirmative were [Norm] Pederson, Steve Greenberg, Herb Englehardt (all of VOICE, the radical party), and Martinas Ycas, an anarchist. Voting against were the conservative senators, and Pete Ross, Charlie Palmer, and Bill Bennet of Pact, the liberal party. 
  4. ^ a b c "What is the ASUC?". Associated Students of the University of California. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  5. ^ "Office of the President". Associated Students of the University of California. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  6. ^ "Office of the Executive Vice President". Associated Students of the University of California. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  7. ^ "Office of the External Affairs Vice President". Associated Students of the University of California. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  8. ^ "Office of the Academic Affairs Vice President". Associated Students of the University of California. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  9. ^ Abbott, Katy (2016-04-08). "Student Action dominates in 2016 ASUC elections, wins all 4 partisan executive seats". The Daily Californian. Retrieved 2016-04-08. 

External links[edit]