Squirrel Wins Seat in Berkeley Student Senate

April 24, 2018

A squirrel won a spot on the 20-seat Student Senate at the University of California, Berkeley, this month, beating out 17 human candidates for the position.

Stephen Boyle, a sophomore from Stockton, Calif., donned a squirrel suit and campaigned under the name Furry Boi in an effort to "disrupt" the election, he wrote in a Facebook post.

Furry Boi originally ran on a platform of squirrel advocacy, promising safe spaces, support groups and learning centers for squirrels. However, Boyle has no plans to resign, and in a lengthy Facebook post last week he announced new platforms, including environmental sustainability and disability advocacy. Boyle also said he plans to create more opportunities for students to meet by reintroducing late-night cafeteria hours.

“I just know that actions speak louder than words, and I promise you that I will not disappoint and waste this seat that could have gone to someone else,” Boyle wrote.

The decision to elect a fictional squirrel incited some backlash from students. Student newspaper The Daily Californian published a scathing editorial last week denouncing Furry Boi's victory.

“It’s a shocking display of privilege to vote for a squirrel over candidates who have actual plans to help students who need it. Instead of electing qualified students who had real, tangible ideas -- improving UCPD relations, boosting housing, bolstering sexual violence or mental health awareness -- many of you (at least 538 strong) thought it might be a funny joke to have a man dressed up in a squirrel costume with no real platforms represent you at the administrative table,” the editorial said.

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