Union election results announced
Students elected a new president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and representatives.
After a tight race last Thursday, the student body voted to instate Simran Tatuskar ’21 as President of the Student Union. 14 students ran for a variety of positions on the Executive Board, as well as two positions on the Brandeis Sustainability Fund. Out of an undergraduate population of 3,369, only 27.45 percent of students voted.
Tatuskar currently serves as the Union’s secretary, a position she was voted into at the end of last semester. She also sat on the Rules and Dining committees, and previously served as co-chair of the Health and Safety Committee. Tatuskar first ran for Union office as a first-year for the position of Class of 2021 Senator, but she lost.
During her time as secretary, Tatuskar worked as the liaison between the accessibility movement and the administration and maintained a line of communication between the student body and the Brandeis Counseling Center, per a March 19 Justice article.
As president, Tatuskar plans to tackle a variety of issues, many of them involving improving communication between various institutions on campus, according to her campaign website. Some of these changes include writing weekly reports to the community, improving lines of communication with activist groups, creating a working relationship with the Graduate Student Association and increasing transparency surrounding the Board of Trustees.
Guillermo Caballero ’20, who ran against Trevor Filseth ’20, was elected as Vice President by a wide margin of 538 to 199. This was Cabellero’s second attempt at the vice presidency: he first faced current Vice President Aaron Finkel ’19 in a close race and lost by just 34 votes. Caballero does not have much previous experience with the Union except for his service on the Club Support Committee.
In his candidate bio, Caballero wrote that his primary goal as vice president is to “make the branches of the student union more cohesive and united.” Like Tatuskar, communication is a common thread in his campaign proposals. For example, Caballero wants to work on a stronger relationship between the Union and the Prevention Advocacy Resource Center, per his bio. In addition, he wants to make sure all members of the community are heard, citing his own ties to the LGBTQ+, Latinx and indigenous communities on campus.
Taylor Fu ’21, the only candidate for Secretary, won with 64.71 percent of the votes. Fu is currently the East Quad senator and has served on three committees during her time in the Senate, including the Rules and Health and Safety committees. She has also served as Campus Operations chair. Fu has worked on a variety of initiatives during her time in the Union, such as improving its communication with the Brandeis Counseling Center, improving East Quad lounge areas and organizing an appreciation day for facilities and Sodexo workers, according to her candidate bio and remarks during the Student Union candidates’ debate on March 18. At the debate, Fu said she wants “to go above and beyond” as secretary by continuing to serve on committees.
Yona Steinman ’20 won the election for treasurer unopposed, campaigning from abroad. He has previously served as deputy treasurer for three semesters, according to his candidate bio, and wants to continue the policies his predecessors put in place of simplifying and streamlining the treasury process.
Junior Rep. to the Board of Trustees
Zoë Fort ’21 was elected as the Junior Representative to the Board of Trustees in a decisive victory over her opponent, Jake Rong ’21, 487 to 165. “With this backdrop, I believe my next service mission is to share our collective concerns, passions, and dreams with the board of trustees,” Fort wrote in her candidate bio.
Fort, currently the Union’s Diversity and Inclusion Officer, has also served on a task force and working group as part of University President Ron Liebowitz’s “Framework for the Future.” In those roles, Fort “explore[d] how our founding values might guide our present day commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and examined the differences between the University’s concept of justice at its founding and today, per her bio. In addition, Fort worked on an executive task force that studied relations between students and campus police.
Junior Rep. to the Alumni Board
As the only candidate for Junior Representative to the Alumni Board, Gabi Burkholz ’21 won handily, with 64.84 percent of the vote. According to her candidate bio, she is the incoming director of the Brandeis National Committee Student Ambassador Program. The BNC is a philanthropic organization that raises money for Brandeis libraries, sciences and scholarships, according to its website. As junior representative, Burkholz wants to increase lunches and networking opportunities for current students and host events that connect past and present Brandeis students.
Representative to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund
Isaiah Freedman ’20 and Ben Silver ’20 filled the two open seats for representative to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund. Freedman is currently a double major in Biology and Environmental Studies and has been active in the SaveOhno competition, an event funded by the BSF this year. At the debate, he said he wants to connect social justice issues with sustainability, as he believes “social justice cannot be taken apart from the environment.”
Silver, too, is majoring in Environmental Studies, in addition to International and Global Studies with a minor in Legal Studies. According to his candidate bio, Silver plans to work closely with the chair and members of the Sustainability Committee to tackle initiatives that reduce the University’s carbon footprint and make the campus more sustainable.