Four-Legged Race – A.S. Presidential Candidate Junaid Fatehi

    Sipping a beer and smoking a cigarette on the patio of Porter’s Pub, Revelle College senior Junaid Fatehi appears to be the poster child for his own alcohol-oriented campaign to be next year’s A.S. Council president. While other candidates promise structural changes to help enhance school spirit at UCSD, Fatehi said he believes only one thing will do the trick: beer.

    I have no agenda to push through. All I really want to push through is more beer.””
    – Junaid Fatehi, Revelle College senior

    Saying he is running “”mainly for shits and giggles,”” Fatehi does not appear to be – and in fact, actively rebels against – the traditional chief of student government. However, he said he feels that his unique politics and disdain for the way the council currently approaches key issues could revitalize the way students feel about the campus.

    “”UCSD has a severe lack in student spirit,”” he said. “”We all know this. Beer at UCSD is the only thing I see that can have an immediate impact on that. I mean, yeah, we could get a football team or whatever, but that’s going to take years. If we get more beer flowing through this campus, then everyone’s going to be a little happier.””

    Fatehi, who admits to having never held any kind of post in student government, said that his experience as secretary, vice president and president of Muir Movie has given him the necessary leadership skills for the job, as well as the ability to talk openly with administrators.

    “”I don’t know how the system works, but if there is something I can do, I will do it,”” he said. “”If there’s something I can do for the students by talking to the administration, then I’ll talk to the administration. I will push very hard for what the students want.””

    Despite his lack of prior involvement with the A.S. Council, Fatehi said he decided to run for president after attending a Bear Garden.

    “”The epiphany came to me at one of the Bear Gardens,”” he said. “”I was there with a few of my friends, and I’ve never seen so much school spirit as at that point … where everyone’s getting a free beer from UCSD.””

    According to Fatehi, he is running as an independent party candidate because he was not aware of the slate system until after presidential positions had already been decided. But Fatehi said he shouldn’t lose any political footing by running on his own, which gives him more flexibility.

    “”It would not be worth the effort if I had to go through and make friends with all these A.S. squares,”” he said. “”I think I would have the best shot at getting something done just because I don’t care – I have no allegiance to a slate; I have no agenda to push through. All I really want to push through is more beer.””

    Fatehi said the way the current student government is structured leaves seldom opportunity to make any real changes, and that he would be a more practical choice because he is aware of the limitations of the office.

    “”I don’t think [student leaders] do that much,”” he said. “”I mean really, what can they changeReally, all they really dictate in my opinion is what funding goes to what clubs.””

    He shared a similar sentiment regarding to the role of the Residential Security Officer program, an oft-debated topic among students since the 2005 Undergraduate Student Experience and Satisfaction Committee report revealed that many students likened life at UCSD to living in a police state. Two of Fatehi’s opponents, Marco Murillo and Daniel Palay, pledge to follow through on programs to evaluate the RSO program’s effectiveness, but Fatehi is skeptical of the possible benefit of their endeavors.

    “”[Murillo and Palay] had a good idea about having a student oversight committee on the RSOs,”” Fatehi said. “”I like that idea, but when you think about it – what can they doThe RSOs are employed by the administration and run by the administration’s guidelines.””

    Fatehi said he believes that policy similarities between the other candidates leave voters with fewer choices than it might appear on the surface.

    “”You read their official statements, their politics are exactly the same,”” he said. “”They are for the exact same things. There’s no difference in what they want to accomplish. A vote for me is a vote for change.””

    As for his agenda of providing more beer at on campus events, Fatehi said he was hopeful that the upcoming retirement of Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph W. Watson – who has historically opposed the sale of alcohol at campus events – could make his desired policies easier to implement.

    “”The nice thing is, Watson is retiring, which makes it all possible,”” he said. “”I see a lot of opportunity – you just need someone in that position to really push for it.””

    Fatehi said his campaign was primarily focused on “”fringe groups”” that might not support more traditional candidates, such as the Koala newspaper and the SD Board Club.

    “”Anyone who would vote wouldn’t vote for me,”” he said. “”I’m trying to get the people who don’t vote to vote.””

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