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Students compete for seats on Student Union

By Juliana An

Section: News

September 15, 2017

Candidates expressed interest in uniting the student body and providing equal representation in the Student Union after declaring their candidacy in the 2017 Fall Elections.

Thirty-five candidates are running for 13 seats in the Senate, Allocations Board (A-board) and the Judiciary. The Student Union holds three elections every year. On the ballot, students will find candidates for eight seats on the Senate, two two-semester A-board representatives, a three-semester A-board member and the racial minority A-board member, plus one seat on the Judiciary.

The Brandeis Hoot was unable to reach out to all thirty-five candidates before press time. This article highlights the views of only a few candidates.

Ethan Harris, Brandon Jo, Rachel McAllister, Noah Nguyen and Simran Tatuskar are running as Class of 2021 Senators. Senators are responsible for chartering and supervising clubs and upholding Union bylaws. Nguyen, an international student from Vietnam, understands how difficult it can be for new students to study in a different language. Her campaign focuses on increasing international students’ participation and expanding first-year presence on campus.

“I think I can unite international students and domestic students. That’s the reason [international students] came to America…to study and connect with people from different countries,” she said in an interview. Nguyen also wishes to increase social events for first-years on campus with “networking nights, dance parties and prom.”

Tatuskar, who was chief-of-staff of her high school’s debate organization, believes that student government is very important because “students’ voices get lost in between bureaucratic and administrative affairs.” Tatuskar’s platform specifically addresses the lack of contraceptives around campus. “I think it’s really important to have contraceptives in residence halls, not just in health centers. They should be more readily accessible as people are exploring themselves,” she said in an interview.

Harris believes that it is important for the Student Union to be receptive to all groups of this year’s class. As former Lieutenant General in Youth Government, Harris thinks he can best represent the wide spectrum of needs of the Class of 2021. One issue expressed by his friends is the distinct lack of feminine hygiene products in bathrooms. “It’s something we can bring to Brandeis, especially if we want to claim that we’re as progressive as we are,” he said. Last year, the Senate took up the issue of providing free menstrual products on campus and piloted a trial in the spring.

Eight students are running for two seats as two-semester representatives to Allocations Board. The A-Board is primarily responsible for creating fiscal plans for Chartered and Secured Clubs. The Student Activities Fund (SAF) funding comes from one percent of Brandeis University tuition, which is approximately $1.7 million for the 2017-2018 academic year, according to the Student Union website. Kate Kesselman ’19, a veteran member, has helped reform the board and keep it stable for the past two years. Kesselman was a senator for two years and served as their representative to A-board.

“When I first joined Allocations Board, the board was a complete mess. There was no leadership and no organization,” she said in an interview. This year, one of her goals is to create long-term structures with clubs. “I want to work with clubs individually to make long-term fiscal plans for future big events. It’s important that they know how to allocate,” she said.

The Allocations Board also includes a racial minority representative. This position entails working with minority groups to make sure that their needs are met and brought to the forefront of the Student Union’s goals.

Rohan Mullangi ’21, who has lived in India for the past six years, understands the importance of a racial minority representative. “I plan to be there for racial minorities. I’ll be there to make a case for their needs. Every club at least needs an opportunity,” he said in an interview. Mullangi also has six years of student government experience. “In India, student government is very different. In India, when students enroll in high school, they are divided into one of four houses. I was elected captain of one of the houses,” he said in an interview.

Elyane Ndayizigiye ’21, a domestic student born in Rwanda, is also running for one of the seats as a racial minority representative. A main factor in her decision to run was the platform the position provides for her to voice opinions for racial minorities. “Even if one is from a world completely different from Brandeis and a majority of its students, they still have representation in the Student Union. It makes me hopeful for my experience at Brandeis,” she wrote in an email. Ndayizigiye intends to focus on budgeting for festivals, presentations, and events to increase interest and membership of racial minority clubs.

A complete list of candidates for all positions can be found a Sept. 13 email from Student Union President Jacob Edelman ’18.

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