Candidates running for multiple Student Union positions participated in a debate Wednesday, March 16 to express their views and ideas to student voters. Voting began March 16 at 11:59 p.m. and ends at 11:59 p.m. on March 17. Christian Nunez ’18 and David Herbstritt ’17, candidates for president, spoke at the debate, which also included remarks from students running to be the Student Representative to the Board of Trustees, Brandeis Sustainability Fund Committee and other Student Union Positions. Current President Nyah Macklin ’16 moderated the debate.
“I realized it’s okay to disagree. I realized that deliberations are the only way we can progress and grow in this society. As president I want to go beyond the realm of how we communicate on campus,” Nunez said in his opening remarks.
Nunez cited his work with Ford Hall 2015 as a driving force behind his candidacy. He promised to continue discussions on diversity, sustainability, sexual assault and mental health. “I’m going to bring up [to administration] that we suck at mental health,” said Nunez.
Herbstritt cited his past experience with the Student Union, saying, “I’ve got two years under my belt with the Union already.”
“I’m going to be leading the Union through skill and experience,” Herbstritt argued, saying that as president he would both continue conversations on diversity and inclusion as well as work on the little things like “making sure the allocations board continues to work for students and not against them, making sure all of our policies are carefully reexamined… [and] pushing for greater bystander training on this campus.”
Herbstritt also expressed interest in continuing sustainability efforts on campus. In order to obtain his goals Herbstritt said he plans to put “student needs at the center of the administration’s thought process through deliberation, negotiation and through diplomacy.”
Both candidates for Vice President, Antoine Malfroy-Camine ’17 and Paul Sindberg ’18 spoke at the debate, as well as Gabriella Gonzalez Anavisca ’19, candidate for Student Union Secretary.
Malfroy-Camine says that as vice president he would fight to minimize Brandeis’ ecological impact, promote the voices of student activists, support actions to increase outreach for sexual assault victims and advocate for sexual assault survivors and sexual assault prevention. He seeks to encourage incoming University President Ronald D. Liebowitz to embrace environmental goals similar to those he encouraged at Middlebury College, increase transparency in the administration with regard to diversity and express support of faculties’ decision to join a union.
Sindberg, Executive Senator and Class of 2018 Senator, said, “I will not let administrators forget that our gender and sexuality center is severely underfunded or that sexual assault does and continues to occur on this campus.” Sindberg expressed disapproval of administration’s ability to listen to student concerns.
Anavisca, who is serving as the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Senator, said that her Union experience taught her that “talking to students is not to just about waiting for students to come to you” but also about reaching out to students. Anavisca hopes to serve as a “to be a liaison, a resource for people.”
Ziyang Chen ’18, the candidate for treasurer, explained that her experience as a member of A-Board was an important experience that taught her a lot about “the financial aspect of the Student Union.” The A-Board has undergone major changes this year, including increasing the size of the board from fewer than 10 students to over 30.
William Jones ’18, candidate for Student Representative to the Board of Trustees, describes the Board of Trustees as an “omnipresent, omnipotent group which somehow determines what we do.” Jones says “it’s incredulous that we don’t have any interaction with them.” Jones was also involved in the Ford Hall 2015 movement along with Nunez and Macklin. Jones is Macklin’s chief of staff.
Jacob Edelman ’18 and Brooke Granovsky, two of the three candidates for the Undergraduate Curriculum Representatives, also spoke at the debate. Edelman, an editor at The Brandeis Hoot, hopes to “figure out how Brandeis can improve its standards of education” and “make workable improvements.” He envisions a reform to the midterms schedule, suggesting that Brandeis create a week in the middle of the semester designated specifically for midterms.
Edelman expressed a belief that this system would help improve both mental health and academic performance. He also expressed interest in “extending the role of environmental studies, racial sensitivity education, AAAS and Women and Gender Studies.”
Granovsky gave her “three pillars” for improving the undergraduate curriculum. She expressed an interest in broadening non-western studies requirements and cultural studies at Brandeis, reforming the University Writing Seminar required for all first-years and reforming Brandeis’ physical education requirement. Granovsky suggests that club sports or physical activity such as training for and running a marathon should count as credit for the physical education requirement.
Brandeis Sustainability Fund Committee candidate Cassie Cain ’18 said that as a Senator for the Class of 2018 and member of the Senate Sustainability Committee she “had the power to bring awareness to students more [and] work with administration.” Mingyue (Daisy) Chen ’18, running against Cain for the position, expressed an interest in creating better signage on recycling bins and waste baskets. She hopes work to include sustainability education as part of orientation and increase overall student awareness of recycling initiatives.