Justin Greenwald for ASUC Senate
My name is Justin L. Greenwald, and I am running for ASUC Senate. To the people that know me well, I am light-hearted, a self-proclaimed comedian, and an die-hard Dodger fan. On any given day you will see me promoting my veganism or even, if you’re lucky, you’ll find me fast asleep in Moffit. Why am I sleeping in Moffit, you ask? It’s because I am up late working hard for the issues I care about. I work hard to fight for the communities of which I am a part of. I also might be sleeping in Moffit because I am a Political Science Major staying up long nights to finish research papers. Or If you are REALLY lucky, you’ll find me alert, awake, and probably drooling as I sit on the fourth floor of Moffit looking at the beautiful Campanile. So, yes, apart from sleeping and drooling, I am running for Senate. I am running as a proud member of Greek life---a group that has given me a sense of community at Cal. I am running as a proud Jew at Berkeley, something that I will tout for the rest of my life. And, I am running as a dedicated environmentalist with the simple goal to create a more sustainable world. And, Mom, Dad, friends, family---I am running for you.
Jewish Community Relations
One of my priorities as Senator will be to better connect the Jewish community with the larger campus community. To accomplish this, I am advocating for a three part plan which includes: increasing the accessibility of Hillel; establishing an Interfaith Council; and creating an umbrella organization that would house all the current Jewish student groups on campus. With that said, I will dedicate every resource possible to help combat any form of anti-Semitism that finds its way onto campus.
I. Increasing Accessibility of Hillel Spaces for the Wider Berkeley Community
In order to forge a stronger connection between the Jewish community and the larger Berkeley community, I will work to make the spaces within Berkeley Hillel accessible to the entire student-body. By the end of this calendar year the Hillel building will have completed its sweeping renovations, including the addition of multiple new study spaces, multipurpose rooms, and an incredible auditorium. The newly renovated building will be extremely beneficial for fostering a greater sense of Jewish community; however, I believe the building should be made available to other communities as well. While Hillel is primarily a Jewish space, I and the Hillel community want to make it known that Hillel is a space that is welcoming of all faiths, communities, and individuals. There is overwhelming support amongst the Hillel community, including the Executive Director and the Student Board President, to lend Hillel spaces to different communities on campus. Specifically, I envision the building to act as a place where students, clubs, and other religious organizations that lack a community center can come together for meetings, study groups, and other activities. Therefore, as Senator, I will advocate to add Hillel to 25Live, UC Berkeley’s room booking platform, in order to provide students with the ability to book these spaces online. Moreover, through my office, I plan to host monthly events in partnership with Hillel on topics such as religious tolerance. Opening Hillel’s doors to the larger Berkeley community symbolizes our continuing efforts to break down the barriers that stand in the way of religious tolerance and interfaith cooperation on campus, and hopefully the implementation of this policy will aid in this effort.
II. Improve Interfaith Dialogue and Programming Through the Proliferation of an Interfaith Action Initiative
Too often, we avoid difficult and nuanced conversations about religion and faith, leaving us without the understanding necessary to bridge divides between Berkeley’s diverse communities. Many years ago, Berkeley students formed an Interfaith Council here on campus, but unfortunately, the council never reached its full potential, and eventually disbanded, leaving only a small faculty-run coalition. Recognizing the lack of student interfaith leadership, I, along with students of other faiths, have established the foundation for the Interfaith Action Initiative. The goal of this organization is to “[establish] and [support] an interfaith community which works together for social change, open dialogue, and cross-cultural understanding.” Therefore, it is my goal as Senator to further develop this group until it is a permanent and action-oriented council on campus. On the council, each faith group/sect will have two sitting members. This body will act to lobby the administration, in coordination with the ASUC, to ensure that student’s religious holidays are respected and that there are spaces on campus designated exclusively for prayer. Ultimately, the formation of this council is imperative to hold student and faculty leaders accountable for their treatment of religious groups on campus. This council will seek to ensure that Berkeley’s various religious communities are properly supported, and that the appropriate steps are taken in response to any form of religious discrimination on campus.
III. Addressing the Campus Climate Toward Jewish Students
The ASUC has a long standing tradition of having a Jewish representative in Senate. Today, more than ever, it is imperative to have a Jewish Senator during arguably one of the most precarious times for the Jewish people in America and here at Berkeley. With this said, my focus and role as the Jewish Senator will be to ensure that Judaism is no longer conflated with political opinion, but rather seen for what is is: a complex and nuanced, sometimes spiritual dimension that students choose to help foster a sense of community during their college experience. Thus, I will use my position as an ASUC Senator to combat increasing anti-Semitism on campus. To cite just a few of the most disheartening and alarming incidents on campus recently: the blatantly anti-Semitic editorial cartoon published in the Daily Cal following an event featuring Alan Dershowitz; a Berkeley professor known for engaging, online and in the classroom, in anti-Semitic discourse; and the anti-Semitic message and threat posted on the office door of a Jewish faculty member. Such rhetoric on campus will not and cannot be tolerated. Therefore, as Senator, I plan to establish an umbrella organization to house all of the various Jewish organizations on campus. With the creation of such an organization, Jewish student leaders will have the opportunity to come together to discuss these incidendences and craft a unified response to them. I will use my position to amplify their messages and ensure that the campus hears our voices. Additionally, as Senator, I will hold the administration and faculty more accountable for their responses to these incidences. I will facilitate more frequent and extensive dialogue between the ASUC and Jewish community leaders. These conversations will ensure that the ASUC responds appropriately and responsibly on behalf of Jewish students and that the ASUC treats the Jewish community as they would any other marginalized group on campus. As Senator, I will do all in my power to ensure that Jewish students on this campus continue to feel safe and respected; that the Jewish community continues to have a strong voice and presence on campus; and that the needs and interests of Jewish students are being met and prioritized by the ASUC and the administration.
Analysis of Alcohol, Drug and Safety Policy
I. Substance Abuse Education and Accessible Treatment
For too long, we in the Greek community have ignored the presence of hard drugs in our policies and educational programs. That’s why I would like to introduce general education for the Greek community, specifically pertaining to hard drugs like cocaine, Xanax, MDMA, and study drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. Education should include scientifically up to date information on the addiction/abuse potential, long-term effects, and therapeutic indices (amount of substance that is fatal based on a recreational dosage) of these hard drugs. These educational programs will avoid moralizing the usage of these drugs. Even if educational policies do not reduce drug use, they will lead to safer and more informed consumption. I will work closely with Party Safe, Cat, IFC, PHC, and Tang ---all bodies that I already have strong relationships with--- to create these educational modules. Additionally, I will push for the creation of a “Hard Drug Task Force”, that will keep the community up to date on these educational issues, and work to improve the accessibility of addiction treatment for students who seek it out.
II. Reexamining Alcohol Policies and Addressing Sexual Violence
I believe it is time to reexamine and change certain Greek event policies that are not working effectively to provide a safe and comfortable space for students.
First, I would like to reexamine the hard alcohol ban that was introduced a few years ago. While the ban helped to mitigate some issues, I will call for a holistic examination of both its benefits and unintended consequences. It is no secret that students will drink at parties. The hard alcohol ban does not keep students from drinking; it merely pushes the consumption of hard alcohol out of the general view and into the private upstairs bedrooms of fraternity members. This creates an uncomfortable power dynamic, where guests are forced to enter the personal bedrooms of fraternity members who they may not know or with whom they do not feel comfortable. It is simple, students, especially women, should not be obligated to drink in fraternity bedrooms. Based on records of transports, sexual assault reports and other relevant information, we should consider alternatives to this alcohol consumption policy. We must find ways to keep hard alcohol in a separate neutral space where it can be safely distributed.
The ban also falls short in other ways. The ban requires that one of six sober monitors be present whenever hard alcohol is consumed. This often times results in sober monitors being unable to police alcohol consumption and also ensure the comfort of guests who are not consuming hard alcohol.
I also want to address the overwhelming problem of druggings that the Greek community is facing. I believe this starts with a clear and outlined zero-tolerance policy for both chapters and individual members accused of drugging. However, I also want to provide resources for victims of druggings to receive testing and support. I will push for increased accessibility to toxicology testing at the Tang center, so that victims of drugings in our community can get the hard evidence that the justice system requires.
As a supplement to addressing issues of sexual violence, the ASUC and IFC must also expand its partnership with “Undercover Colors” which allow women to determine if their drinks have been compromised by drugs. We MUST create an environment where students feel safe to attend events with their peers.
III. Emergency Preparedness in Group Living Arrangements
In the wake of natural disasters, mass shootings and other catastrophes, it is important that Berkeley students are prepared for an emergency not just on campus, but also in their homes.
One major risk for our community is earthquakes. UC Berkeley is the only major university in the world with a major fault line running through it’s campus. The Bay Area is long overdue for a major earthquake, and UC Berkeley knows that. In fact, administration has invested over 1.2 Billion in retrofitting the campus since 1990. However, in many GLAs (Group living arrangements), homes are old and poorly maintained. It would be a deadly mistake not to make sure that these buildings are structurally sound and up to code before the inevitable “big one.” I will work in the ASUC to help provide GLAs the resources necessary to examine their earthquake preparedness.
Additionally, these GLAs, which are often crammed with students, lack universal rules concerning the use of appliances, devices and candles which may be a fire risk. Establishing clear rules and plans, and then educating students will be essential to preserving life in the face of disaster. These emergency plans and rules should be readily accessible through a form of online or mobile application.
I. Stipulations for Pepsi Renegotiations
In 2011, UC berkeley signed a 10 year contract with Pepsi inc. that expires in the 2020- 2021 school year. Allocated within the contract was a $15,000 grant for sustainability efforts on campus. This grant was the smallest allocation in the contract, which included an “annual $1.3 million sponsorship fee to be paid to campus stakeholders, product donations of $100,000, and marketing and promotion funds of $235,000.” I believe negotiations for a new contract need to begin during the 2018-2019 school year, a time when I hope to be Senator. I believe it is necessary that UC Berkeley takes sufficient time to determine the most feasible and eco-friendly options, rather than opting for more of the same. Luckily, the ASUC does have sway in these negotiations and I will make it my goal to advocate for the environmental community as Senator. I will advocate for the sustainability fund to be increased to $100,000. These funds will be allocated for Pepsi sponsored Hydration Stations, which will be built in areas that see the most foot traffic or ‘hot spots’ identified through careful analysis. Additional funds will be allocated to begin the process of a zero-waste initiative for all student-organized events, which I have detailed in my next platform. Pressure must be put on these large bottling companies to ensure sustainability measures on college campuses.
II. Continued Student Organization Initiatives for 2020 Zero-Waste Plan
While UC Berkeley has made considerable progress on the Zero Waste by 2020 plan, we must not be complacent. Much work is necessary to truly eliminate waste from our campus and communities. The ASUC has purview over student-organized events and provides funding for clubs to utilize. As a result, building off the work that I helped Senator Connor Hughes accomplish, I will work to amend ASUC bylaws to stipulate that student groups must provide blueprints for sustainability measures in order to receive funding. Part of this work will be to create a “sustainability” section of the ABSA sponsorship progress that is required for clubs to fill out. During my time in Senate, I will work to create a fund, either through an AAVP grant or separate selection of ASUC general funds, that student groups can apply for that will help subsidize zero-waste products for events. Additionally, I want to allocate funds to buy properly labeled recycling and waste bins for student-run events. I believe these are practical and tangible measures that can be taken to improve environmental-friendly practices on campus and by campus organizations.
ASUC Director of Greek Affairs in former Senator Bianca Filart’s office
Worked on campus and street safety; GBO and alcohol safety; and worked to create uniform consent talks
ASUC Director of Greek Affairs in Senator Alexander Wilfert’s office
Helped with GLA reform; represented student voices in Berkeley City Council; aided in Greek sustainability efforts; worked on consent and alcohol policies
President of the Greek Jewish Council
Lead efforts to engage Jewish students in the Greek community with the larger Berkeley Jewish community
President of the Interfaith Action Initiative
Lead efforts to establish an interfaith community that works to promote increased dialogue, social change, and seeks to give a voice to students of all faiths.
Treasurer of the Delta Chi Fraternity
Helps with risk management at chapter events and handles all the chapter’s financial affairs
Former Board Member, Environmental Commission for the City of Calabasas
Worked on sustainability efforts; educated citizens about wildlife refuges and wildlife corridors; worked to pass legislation to mitigate excessive water use
Josh Wilson, ASUC Senator*
Alex Wilfert, ASUC Senator*
Bianca Filart, Former ASUC Senator*
Maddie Miller, ASUC Senator*
Rachel Marcus, Former President* of Berkeley Hillel Student Center
Alex Barr, President* of the Greek Jewish Council
Jordan Golden, President* of the Delta Chi Fraternity
EJ Morera, former IFC Risk Manager*
Nathan Bentolila, President* of the Chabad Student Board
Andy Gross, President* of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity
Ori Herschmann, Former ASUC Senator*
Sarina Shohet, President* of the Interfaith Action Initiative
Rachel Marcus, Former President* of Berkeley Hillel Student Center
Ray Hurst, President* of Pi Kappa Alpha
*Title for identification purposes only