Recent Graduate Runs for School Board in San Jose Area

If you’re voting in Santa Clara County on Election Day, you may see a familiar name on the ballot. That’s because USF alumnus Basil Saleh is running for a position on the Campbell Union High School District Governing Board, having just graduated in May.

The five-member Board, which has three open spots this year, provides decision making to over 7,700 students at five high schools in the San Jose area. Three other candidates are running for board positions, including incumbents Kristiina Arrasmith and Stacey Brown, as well as Robert Varich.

Saleh, 22, said that the primary focus of his campaign is making sure students feel safe at school. “There are a lot of racial issues that go unaddressed, like physical bullying,” he said. “African-American and Latino students are not being adequately served.”

Saleh’s campaign website includes initiatives like providing more counselors and preserving the arts and extracurricular funding.

Saleh graduated from USF with a media studies degree and said his candidacy was inspired by Inna Arzumanova, a media studies professor. “She was one of the biggest influences on my thinking, my growth, my life,” Saleh said.

“[Basil] was an excellent student and a uniquely passionate voice in the classroom,” Arzumanova said. “More than that, he has an endless intellectual curiosity and a sincere and realistic commitment to social justice work.”

David Silver, an environmental sciences professor, also praised Saleh. “A lot of students I work with are super smart. And a lot of USF students I work with are super creative. But Basil is both. In my old class, Intro to Media Studies, he always found the most interesting perspective to approach a problem and always found the most engaging way to share his findings. Basil’s got it all,” Silver said in an email interview.

So far, Saleh’s campaign has been endorsed by the Santa Clara County Democratic Party, Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, Campbell Mayor Paul Resnikoff, the Campbell High School Teachers Association, the Silicon Valley Young Democrats and Run For Something, a progressive political organization devoted to electing Democratic candidates.

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