Campus elects two new A-Board reps
In a special election on Nov. 16, the student body elected two new members to the Allocations Board: Alex Feldman ’19 for a three-semester seat and Arlynes Reyes ’19 for a one-semester seat. The election ran from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
According to the voting report sent out to candidates after the elections ended, Reyes won 170 votes out of a total 455 votes cast for that position.
For the three-semester seat, the “abstain” option received 159 votes while Feldman received 152. In the past, per the Student Union Constitution, if “abstain” received more votes than a candidate, he or she would not be elected. However in an interview with the Justice, Student Union Secretary Shuying Liu ’16 explained that she and other members of the Union had reinterpreted the constitution for this election and all subsequent elections.
“We re-looked at the constitution, and it says that abstain wins only if it wins a majority vote, which means that it is greater than 50 percent,” Liu said.
“We interpreted the constitution differently this time because we think it's more fair to all candidates, and it is more efficient because you have to re-elect, like you have to run [an] election all over again to have new candidates, which is kind of a waste of time,” she added.
The Student Union constitution reads, “Abstain shall be an option on all Union election ballots. If there is a tie between a candidate and abstain, then the candidate will be declared the winner of the seat. If abstain receives the majority of votes, than there will be a vacancy in the office until the next election.”
Traditionally, in Student Union elections, “majority” has meant whichever candidate receives the most votes out of all the options.
Liu further clarified in an email to the Justice that, “What we believe is that ‘abstain’ option means that ‘I vote against ALL candidates’. And it wins the position only if there is more than 50％ vote for it, because it shows that students have no confidence in ANY candidate.”
In an email to the Justice, Feldman also commented on this discrepancy, explaining that he was looped into an email discussion of this policy and that, “The conclusion was that ... Abstain won a plurality of the votes, and not a majority as specified in the constitution.”
He added, “I was the winner of the election. This was a great relief to me. Not only had I won, but I wouldn't have to run another campaign in a few months time when the position would have been up for election again. I am uncomfortable with a judiciary decision overturning the results of an election outright, but because of the ambiguity in the constitution's wording I was less bothered by it.”
Feldman also explained why he initially wanted to get involved in A-Board, writing, “Because student clubs are a vital part of the Brandeis culture, A-Board members have such a big say in how the campus feels and runs. Since I started here this semester (I’m a first-year) I wanted to get involved in a way that I find meaningful, and working in such an important position is what does that best for me.”
Reyes wrote in an email to the Justice that she wanted to get involved with A-Board because she is “genuinely interested in participating in a group that adapts fairness and logic into their decision making since I believe in these aspects are important in any decision.”
Both Feldman and Reyes have already begun training, according to Liu. Feldman will begin his position immediately, and Reyes will officially begin her term at the beginning of next semester.
These elections came on the heels of a vote to amend the A-Board constitution to expand its size from seven to 11 people. This election brings the number of A-Board members back up to seven, as several stepped down earlier in the semester. Liu said that elections to fill the remaining four positions will be held at the beginning of next semester.