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Herbstritt beats Nuñez in SU presidential election by two votes

Student Union Vice President David Herbstritt ’17 has won the Student Union Presidency by two votes.

Herbstritt has served on the Union for the past two years, but the election became contested when Ford Hall 2015 activist Christian Nuñez ’18 entered the race. Herbstritt received 479 votes and Nuñez received 477.

“I’m thrilled to be able to serve the Brandeis community again next year. I want to thank all of my supporters and everybody who took the time to vote on Thursday,” said Herbstritt in a statement to The Brandeis Hoot. “There are a lot of issues that we need to deal with, and I am going to have a plan from day one. This weekend, I’m going to hopefully manage to relax a little bit, but then it’s straight to work!”

Approximately 30 percent of students voted in the elections: 1053 out of a total 3610 undergraduates voted for president. By comparison, 890 students voted in the first round of last year’s spring elections.

Last year, current Student Union President Nyah Macklin ’16 received 70 percent of a total 890 votes. She ran unopposed, as did students in every race besides the vice presidential race, which had five candidates.

Nuñez, who ran against Herbstritt, told The Brandeis Hoot, “I will take this loss as a victory because it has been such an amazing learning experience. I will continue advocating for the issues that the students have raised so far.” He congratulated Herbstritt on his victory and thanked his supporters for voting.

This year, Herbstritt was involved with reforming the Allocations Board to address student frustration with the club funding process. Herbstritt worked on a constitutional amendment last semester that increased the size of the board and a proposal that reduced the number of separate request periods last month. He also worked to institute mandatory bystander training for club leaders and is investigating adding solar panels to buildings across campus.

Herbstritt started this year as Class of 2017 Senator, but was elected Executive Senator by the other senators, joining the Union’s E-board for the first time. Herbstritt then became Vice President after Dennis Hermida-Gonzalez ’17 stepped down this semester.

Throughout the campaign, Herbstritt has addressed his white privilege and issues of diversity and inclusion on campus.

“Because of my privilege, I know that I cannot speak on behalf of marginalized groups. What I can do, however, is make sure that they are heard. Starting day one of my term, I am going to push for open and public discussions about what the administration plans to do to achieve the goals set forth by groups like Ford Hall and the Brandeis Asian American Task Force,” said Herbstritt in a statement on the Facebook page for his candidacy.

This year, students ran unopposed to serve as treasurer, secretary and representative to the Board of Trustees.

Paul Sindberg ’18 was elected Vice President with 45 percent of the vote. His competitor, Antoine Malfroy-Camine ’17, began his campaign as a write in, but was later added to the ballot and received 36 percent of the 1008 votes cast for vice president, with the remaining votes going to abstain and write-in candidates.

Sindberg has served as Class of 2018 Senator this year, and he took over as Executive Senator this spring after David Herbstritt ’17 became Vice President. As chair of the Services and Outreach Committee he organized last semester’s Turkey Shuttles for a total cost of $200 and the Midnight Buffet for $1,000 less than in past years. Students could also buy “shoutouts” to be shared at the event, with proceeds going to the local Charles River Watershed Organization. This semester, the services and outreach committee organized “Brain Break” in Sherman Dining hall where senators set up crafts for students.

Gabriella Gonzales Anavisca ’19 ran unopposed for Secretary and was elected with 80 percent of the vote, the remaining 20 percent going to “Abstain” and write-in candidates. Isaac Altman ’19 was running against Anavisca but dropped out of the race before Wednesday’s debate took place. Anavisca is the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Senator and sees the secretary as a “liaison” between the Union and the student body. The secretary sends out weekly emails to students with information on campus events, campus-wide votes and other announcements.

Ziyang Chen ’18 also ran unopposed and was elected Student Union Treasurer with 80 percent of student votes. Chen served on the Allocations Board this year and will continue to be involved with club finances in her new role next year. The Union treasurers assist student leaders with making purchases or filing payments for their clubs.

The position of Junior Representative to the Board of Trustees went to Wil Jones ’18 who ran unopposed and received 84 percent of the votes (860 total). This is a two-year position and he will become the senior representative the following year. At the Union debate on Wednesday night, Jones said it is unacceptable that students do not know who the board members are or what they do, even though the board has the power to influence students’ experiences. Jones, who was involved with Ford Hall 2015, noted the students were told their demands would need to be approved by the board.

Class of 2018 Senator Cassie Cain ’18 will leave the Senate next year and join the Brandeis Sustainability Fund as a student representative. The BSF can award students money to finance sustainability initiatives across campus. Cain earned 41 percent of the vote. Her opponent, Mingyue (Daisy) Chen ’18 earned 33 percent.

Jacob Edelman (an editor at The Brandeis Hoot) ’18 was elected as the Junior Representative to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. He will serve on the committee for two years, until Spring 2018. Edelman earned 46 percent of the vote, and his opponent Brooke Granovsky ’18 earned 35 percent. Edelman wants to create a designated week for midterms and find a way to expand the role of the African and Afro-American Studies Department, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department and Environmental Studies Department in the core curriculum, while keeping in mind that some students do not have very flexible schedules. Next year, the university will reexamine the general education requirements, making it an “important” year for the UCC, said Edelman.

Across all the elections, there were 130 votes for “other” candidates, including 39 for “luis,” five for “modcat,” one for Bernie Sanders and one for Lincoln Davenport Chafee.

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