Special election called to fill open positions
The Student Union announced that Vice President Benedikt Reynolds ’19 and Treasurer Jerry Miller ’18 will resign at the end of the semester. Their seats will be filled in a special election to be held on Dec. 10.
Vice President Benedikt Reynolds ’19
Reynolds announced his intent to resign during the Nov. 20 Union Senate meeting. He said in a Dec. 3 interview with the Justice that his personal heath was the reason for his resignation. An incident in November in which two senators publicly criticized Reynolds for his involvement in a resolution that would have purchased pianos for the first-year residence quads affected his decision to step down but was not the driving factor, Reynolds said in the interview.
Reynolds accepted the apologies of Class of 2022 Senator Alex Chang and International Student Senator Linfei Yang ’20 and said he was “thankful” that they apologized. “They have been open to communication with me as well as with the president and chief of staff,” he said, adding, “I don’t bear any ill will toward them. They’re both very passionate and very smart. … I’m really excited to see where things go.”
“I understand [Chang] has been given a painted target on his back, and I don’t think any student should feel that way, especially as a freshman,” he said.
Reynolds said he would help his successor develop contacts with the administration, as well as catch them up on projects relevant to the vice presidency. He will also show his successor how to help student groups.
Looking back on his time in the Union, Reynolds said he thought his work with environmental groups at the University stood out the most. He also expressed concern about how the Senate weighs its constituents’ opinions.
“Senators, and any elected positions, are expected to be liaisons and communicators for the student body,” he said. “Right now, it seems as if we’re decision makers for the student body. These [campus] newspapers probably talk to our constituencies [more] than we do.”
Reynolds stressed that being a member of the Union is a strenuous undertaking for full-time students and suggested that the Union should take on a faculty advisor to help with the workload.
When asked what his title would be when working on projects in the future, Reynolds said he would not have a title. “I guess a constituent … with experience,” he said with a chuckle.
Treasurer Jerry Miller ’18
Miller is resigning his post after one semester as he is graduating early and will not be able to fill out his term, he told the Justice in a Nov. 28 email.
He clarified that the piano debate and the ensuing public spat has nothing to do with his decision to leave his post.
Miller said that communication needs to improve between the branches of student government, but that this semester, the Union has “settled most of the problems between branches and have set ourselves up for a smooth spring semester.”
“I think this semester has been a good test of our ability to communicate and I personally feel that we have come out stronger as a result,” he said.
When he won the election for Treasurer last spring, Miller notified then-Union President Jacob Edelman ’18 that he might be graduating early. He also notified the Executive Board.
Miller noted that the challenges for his successor will be steep next semester, as three deputy treasurers and two assistant treasurers are leaving. His successor will have to “work diligently with the incoming deputies and assistants to train them and help get them up to speed as soon as possible,” he explained.
He also said that the University is switching the payment software that the clubs use, making it impossible for clubs to pay individual students, which has already been an issue and could be a concern next semester as well.
In terms of his legacy, Miller said he has contributed to training club leaders to use the Student Union Management System.
Special election candidates in their own words
Vice Presidential Candidates
Ysabel Munoz ’21
Munoz is running for vice president to promote environmental action causes and greater student representation in the Student Union and University administration.
“You’re not listened to unless you do something drastic,” she said. Munoz would push for simple changes like adding recycling bins to bathrooms and other related environmental causes.
Linfei Yang ’20
Currently the International Student Senator, Linfei Yang ’20 said the vice presidency “seemed like the next logical step.” Yang wants to “bring Brandeis back to the values it was founded on.”
Alex Chang ’22
Class of 2022 Senator Alex Chang feels that student voices are not being heard and that transparency within the Union needs to be increased. Chang also wants to improve student life by subsidizing printing and laundry costs.
Nakul Srinivas ’21
Nakul Srinivas, a member of the Senate Social Justice and Diversity Committee, wants to foster better communication between the larger and smaller groups of the Senate. He also would “love” the opportunity to run Senate meetings.
Aaron Finkel ’20
Aaron Finkel is running on his experience. He is currently the Chief Strategist on E-Board and Class of 2020 Senator, and he has been the Massell Quad senator and a Senator-at-Large.
“I probably know more about the Senate than anyone should ever have to. I have by far, out of everybody running, the most experience and the right mindset to be able to do this,” he said, adding, “I think we’ve had some bumps in the road, poor communication and lack of experience.”
He argued that he is the “right person to turn that around, and make it possibly the most successful Senate in the history of the school.”
Vidit Dhawan ’19
Class of 2019 Senator and Representative to Allocations Board Vidit Dhawan wants to consolidate and balance the concerns of the various branches of the Union. He argues that his one and a half years of service on the Senate and A-Board will help him address these concerns.
Guillermo Caballero ’20
Guillermo Caballero wants to become “a representative of a new perspective in the Union.” As a minority student, he feels that the Union needs more minority students to be in positions of power on the Union.
Richard Kisack Jr. ’19
Kisack is running on the platform of respect and advocacy by “working with administrative offices and different branches of the student union to create positive and tangible changes that reflects [sic.] the interests of our student body,” according to his Facebook page. Kisack previously served as Village and 567 Quads Senator and is currently a Union Senator-at-Large.
Adrian Ashley ’20
Ashley has been an assistant treasurer for a semester and has worked closely with the current outgoing treasurer, Jerry Miller ’18. Ashley thinks that the Treasury branch is critical to how clubs function on this campus. “It’s pretty amazing the work that they do and how much effort and time they put into it,” he said. Ashley wants to make the Treasury more accessible to the student body.
—Editor’s Note: Nakul Srinivas is a News staff writer.
Correction: This article was updated because it incorrectly stated Aaron Finkel '20 is the executive senator on the Student Union. He is the Chief Strategist on E-Board and Class of 2020 Senator.