Alexander: Vote Karabegovic For Much-Needed Campus Change


Sven Karabegovic (center) is running for ASUU president alongside Alicia Baker (left) and Abukar Hassan (right). (Courtesy the Karabegovic Ticket)

By CJ Alexander, Special Projects Managing Editor


The hotly anticipated presidential election for the ASUU presidency is underway, and three tickets are vying for their chance to represent the student body. The Hair Ticket dropped out of the race, but the remaining tickets — O’Leary, VKW and Karabegovic — are all actively campaigning for your vote. 

But only one ticket comes close to being what U students need. Moving forward, we need transparency, accessibility and representative leadership — as well as an overhaul of the current ASUU system. We can only get that through the Karabegovic Ticket.


The current structure of ASUU is broken, and not just for the reasons highlighted in The O’Leary Ticket’s guest op-ed. One former student body president, Jess Wojciechowski, covered in her guest piece for the Chronicle the obstacles faced by her team and students advocating for real change. She detailed how, as a student on the Board of Trustees, her concerns regarding a tuition increase and comments on the current U president were dismissed, and was told that she should be “happy to be there.” After her experience, Wojciechowski called for the restructuring of ASUU to redistribute power to students and balance decision making with the Board of Trustees to combat the institution’s stonewalling. Members of her administration echoed this sentiment.

However, it’s not really a secret that the U institutionalizes student activism. On campus, we’ve had historical accounts of demonstrations against the Vietnam War, apartheid and textbook prices. In fact, ASUU, the Bennion Center and the Hinckley Institute of Politics have become an exclusive pipeline to restrict campus-wide change and limit students to service projects and internships. As a result, students take it upon themselves to lead effective organizations and efforts not affiliated with the U, since real change is brought by us, not the institution.

Because of these obstacles, whoever takes on the presidency must be prepared to deal with the institution’s setbacks and be willing to stand up for students in the face of institutionalized adversity. They must also be willing to work with the institution to have difficult yet candid conversations. The Karabegovic Ticket is prepared to do just that.

“We recognize that those challenges are ahead of us,” said presidential candidate Sven Karabegovic. “But we also think that the fact that the three of us have each worked with so many different administrative staffs, so many different student organizations on campus and seen so many different facets of how various systems at the U work, we think that we can attack that issue from a different perspective than within previous ASUU administrations have.”

Abukar Hassan, the Karabegovic Ticket’s VP for university relations candidate, added how the U’s administration is trying to do better.

“I do understand where the frustration of students comes from, but I have seen the other side of administration where they are actually willing to work with students,” Hassan said. “We’re not shooting for the stars where we cannot reach, but we’re shooting for goals that need to happen immediately so the next presidency can also make changes that constantly would help and effect this campus immediately.”


Few students on campus know who their senate or assembly college representative is. Even fewer know of ASUU’s existence and vote in elections. But one of the Karabegovic Ticket’s main priorities is to make sure more student voices are involved with ASUU — specifically voices that aren’t already part of it.

“We have experienced the flip side of trying to work with ASUU from a student leader perspective and understood that it’s quite difficult sometimes to feel represented or feel like you have a voice in what ASUU is doing,” Karabegovic said.

It helps that neither Karabegovic nor his two VPs, Alicia Baker and Hassan, have any experience in roles within ASUU. As leaders in multiple other campus organizations, these three know what it’s like to be outsiders looking in. Such perspectives allow for more understanding towards what students and student organizations need, not just in funding and support, but with accessibility.

Additionally, current leaders within ASUU all share similar student government experiences, allowing for the circulation of the same people in representative positions. The O’Leary and VKW tickets both have candidates with previous ASUU experience, and while that could be seen as valuable for understanding processes within ASUU, it is also a disadvantage.

We’ve seen that current ASUU systems obstruct true activism — and VKW and O’Leary are complicit in that system. Not to mention, VKW’s Muskan Walia is caught up in an elections grievance resulting in an ASUU Supreme Court disciplinary hearing for Assembly Chair CJ Reid. The Supreme Court has refused to provide the Chronicle with a recording of the public hearing, which goes against their Redbook and protects members of ASUU from accountability.

On top of that, O’Leary was chief of staff to the current student body presidency, who proved inaccessible when I reached out to them for an interview multiple times within the past year.

Representative Leadership and an ASUU Overhaul

We need transparent and accessible leaders — leaders who don’t lead for convenience but lead for change. Current ASUU leaders and tickets with ASUU experience don’t have the necessary outside perspectives to understand the problems of non-ASUU students, nor do they go for their positions for leadership experience. If anything, current ASUU leaders are in ASUU for the resume-building opportunities.

Karabegovic focuses on excluded students — who make up a majority of campus — and real change. Their platform focuses on students “knowing their change,” including what individuals are capable of and the resources available to them across campus.

Voting takes place Feb. 21-24. All the presidential tickets have unique and valuable platforms worth looking into, and all three will change the future of this campus if elected. But in order to change the system of ASUU to make it more accessible and transparent to non-ASUU members and foster connectivity, we need to vote for the ticket most equipped to do so: the Karabegovic Ticket.


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This article was updated Feb. 22, 2023, to clarify CJ Reid was the defendant in the elections grievance case mentioned.