Kendal Chapman ’22 is running unopposed for the Student Union vice presidency—a seat that opened last week after former Vice President Guillermo Caballero’s ’20 resignation. If elected, Chapman hopes to increase communication across the Union and be a mediator for any disputes.
Chapman wants to create a culture of respectful communication across Union branches and in the Senate. She wants to form a team to clarify the roles of different Union members. Union members don’t always understand their specific responsibilities, said Chapman, because of high turnover in the Union and confusion over day-to-day and weekly responsibilities. Chapman wants to change that misunderstanding by creating a one-sheet with an explanation of the role and past examples of the given Union members’ achievements.
“My goal is to help with the high turnover; my goal is to help with the confusion, to help with those difficult conversations where you have to tell someone ‘listen we don’t feel like you’re stepping up’ and it’s like, well, stepping up to do what?’”
Chapman said she would work with all branches of the Union, such as the Judiciary, Executive Board and Senate, to create these descriptions.
Caballero resigned from the seat Chapman is running for effective as of Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. Caballero’s resignation came after he and Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees Zosia Busé ’20 brought complaints against Student Union President Simran Tatuskar ’21 to the Student Union Judiciary, according to an earlier article by The Brandeis Hoot.
Tatuskar was subsequently found guilty of violating the Union’s Code of Conduct by not effectively communicating across the Union branches and unconstitutionally interpreting the duties of the Executive Senator. Caballero was also found guilty of violating the constitution due to a lack of communication with his other Union members.
Senator for North Quad Krupa Sourirajan ’23 had submitted an intent to run against Chapman, wrote in an email to The Hoot on Wednesday that she was no longer running. Sourirajan and Student Union Secretary Taylor Fu ’21 both declined to comment on why Sourirajan was no longer running.
Chapman decided to run because several people approached her once the position was open, she said, and she felt she could be a good resource for Union members given her experience.
Chapman has served on both the Senate and the Executive Board in her time at Brandeis. As Senator for Massell Quad during her first year, Chapman worked on Midnight Buffet, a food and dancing event that is held every semester before finals week. On the Executive Board, Chapman was appointed by Tatuskar as the Director of Outreach, where she has worked to plan events like Midnight Buffet and Pumpkin Fest—where students and other guests could carve pumpkins and enjoy caramel apples.
“The biggest thing is I’m going to do the job,” said Chapman. “What the job is, is serving as that bridge of communication, and I’m going to be really open, really clear and really engaged with committee chairs—that’s a big thing with all the members of the Senate with the E-board.”
Much of her work on the Union has had tangible results, said Chapman, and working on two branches of the Union has informed her of the dynamic between the Senate and the Executive Board, which she would use to prevent miscommunication.
Chapman also spoke about her experience on the Union, which has extended across different controversies including the resignation of the past two Student Union vice presidents and two judiciary cases. If elected, Chapman wants to help emphasize professionalism in the Student Union and to check Union members if they are disrespectful.
“It’s a matter of professionalism and remembering that, yes, it is a commitment, but it’s not personal, and at the end of the day, everyone is just trying to do what is best for the student body whether you like it or not,” said Chapman. “And I also think it’s important to check people when they’re crossing that line.”
One of the problems in the Union in the past, said Chapman, was miscommunication. If elected, Chapman would work to provide a “safe and confidential space” for Union members to vent and communicate with her. Chapman hopes to create a Union culture where students on the Union trust each other as friends and regularly communicate about issues.
Chapman also spoke about initiatives the Union has considered, like paying Union members and secured clubs. Chapman said that some members of the Union certainly deserve pay but would want to change the culture of the Union to make sure that all members understand and accomplish their responsibilities before considering pay. Both issues would have to be carefully discussed, said Chapman.
Chapman also said she could handle the time commitment of the position, and if elected, would resign from her current appointed position on the Executive Board. Even though she is running unopposed, Chapman encouraged students to vote.