Round one yields thirteen to the Union
On Thursday, the student body elected 13 individuals to various positions in the Student Union. In interviews with the Justice, the appointed students shared their agendas for the upcoming academic year.
Class of 2021 Senator Rachel McAllister received 130 of 577 votes cast, or 22.53 percent. McAllister said she seeks to work with both the social justice and diversity advocacy groups within the Student Union and expand meal-plan options. McAllister’s main goal is “getting to know the freshman class, … being their voice [and] seeing what their concerns are for the next year."
Senator to North Quad Joshua Hoffman ’21 received 66 of 156 votes cast, or 42.31 percent. He stated that he will be adding something new and invigorating to the student body while operating under a request-based platform. “If you push for any legislation without the consent of your constituents, then you’re not doing your job, in my opinion,” Hoffman told the Justice.
Qingtian Mei ’21 was elected Massell Quad senator, receiving 80 of 239 votes, or 33.47 percent. Mei cited various facility shortfalls, such as slow Wi-fi and poor cell phone reception, in addition to the uncleanliness of Massell Pond, as his reasons for running. “I have been in a lot of leadership positions. … I can deal with problems more quickly," Mei said, citing prior experience on his high school’s student council.
Rosenthal Quad Senator Elizabeth Dabanka ’20 received 25 of 36 votes, or 69.44 percent. Dabanka emphasized her commitment to promoting an atmosphere of inclusion, tolerance and diversity at the University. She will be working on ’DEIS Impact this spring and chairing the Senate’s Social Justice and Diversity committee. Speaking on her overarching aim, Dabanka said that she “want[s] everyone to feel like this is their home. … That feeling shouldn’t dissipate over the months that you’re here or the years that you attend Brandeis.”
East Quad Senator Samantha Barrett ’20 received 60 of 82 votes, or 73.17 percent. The returning senator said she will continue her efforts on a project she and other Union members began last year to fund free menstrual products on campus. “Our end goal is to have the administration take over,” Barrett said, adding that she was optimistic about the relationship the Student Union had with the administration and the Department of Community Living. As the chair of the Health and Safety committee, Barrett also plans to increase the number of first aid kits available in dorms, as well as attract more non-Senate members to get involved in committee meetings.
Off-Campus Community Senator Matt Stenerson ’19 received 62 out of 90 votes, or 68.89 percent. Stenerson said he will give a voice to off-campus students, noting that they are a minority in the student body. “I want to let [the off-campus community] know that I’m here to support anything that they might need,” Stenerson said, adding that he has already contacted DCL in an effort to get to know the students he will represent.
Kate Kesselman ’19 was elected to a consecutive term as Two-Semester Representative to the Allocations Board with 331 out of 1399 votes, or 23.66 percent. Kesselman ran again this year because she hoped to continue the work she had done in previous years. “I wanted to help clubs find ease in using the SUMS and the forms, … [and] I wanted to help the new members figure out how to use the programming, which is difficult unless you have a lot of experience,” she said. Her goals for this semester include working with clubs to develop long-term spending plans, making A-Board's forms easier to use and getting more feedback from clubs about what A-Board is doing well and where it can improve.
Additionally, Avraham Tsikhanovski ’21 was elected to the position of associate justice to the Judiciary with 147 out of 795 votes cast, or 18.49 percent. Tsikhanovski said that he has been interested and passionate about the “nitty gritty” details that go into making laws. He also intends to make sure that clubs and organizations on campus are running as ethically as possible. Tsikhanovski added, “As a first-year, I know that I’m new to this campus, and there is a lot for me to learn, but I’m excited to go all-in on this and contribute as much as I can to this amazing institution.”
The Student Union also announced that the Transitional Year Program Senator seat was inaccurately awarded to Stephanie Woodland ’21 in its original press release, due to an oversight in write-in ballots that resulted in a tie with Agnes Nkansah ’21. Woodland removed herself from the running and the seat was awarded to Nkansah.
Class of 2021 Senator Noah Nguyen was elected with 125 out of 577 votes, or 21.66 percent. Two-Semester Allocations Board Representative Aseem Kumar ’20 was elected with 267 out of 1399 votes, or 19.09 percent. Racial Minority Representative to Allocations Board La’Dericka Hall ’19 was elected with 94 out of 281 votes cast, or 33.45 percent. Three-Semester Representative to Allocations Board Niharika Putta ’21 was elected with 586 out of 791 votes cast, or 74.08 percent.
The Charles River/567 Senate seat resulted in a tie between Oliver Price ’20 and Gabriela Gonzalez Anavisca ’19, to be resolved in a special election tiebreaker scheduled for today.
The Senate seats for Ziv Quad, Village Quad, Ridgewood Quad and the Foster Mods remain vacant, as no students ran for them this election round.
However, Student Union members indicated during Sunday’s Senate meeting that there are students interested in running for these positions.
Nguyen, Nkansah, Kumar, Hall and Putta did not return requests for comment as of press time.