Union looks to elect new vice president
There will be a special election Thursday to replace former Union Vice President Guillermo Caballero ’20.
Union Director of Outreach Kendal Chapman ’22 is the sole candidate running for Student Union vice president in the upcoming special election. She said in an interview with the Justice on Thursday that she hopes to change the Union’s direction by creating more lines of communication and making the responsibilities of Union officers more clear.
The special election will take place Thursday, and community members can vote via a link that will be emailed to the Brandeis community that day.
With an “open, honest and positive” approach to working with other Union members, Chapman will bring a “fresh take” to the position, she said.
“I decided to run because I feel like we’ve had a lot of turnover in this position, as we’ve seen, and I feel like I have the right temperament, the right experience and the right approach to this position,” Chapman said.
“I’ve been involved with the Union for the past two years, and I think running for VP is that unique opportunity to be really involved with [the] Senate, really involved with [the] E-Board, and start making those positive changes and changing that culture … around the Student Union,” she said.
As vice president, Chapman said she hopes to be an “open and consistent” source of communication for Union members and to “serve as that bridge of communication between the Senate and the E-Board.” Having served on both the Senate and the E-Board, Chapman said her understanding of the dynamics and procedures of both branches provides her with the experience to serve as vice president. Chapman has previously served as the Massell Quad senator and chair of the Services and Outreach Committee.
“I’m here for communication, and I want everybody to talk to me, whether it’s something nice or something not so nice. I want to hear it from that person and have that personal connection,” she said.
She also plans to clarify the roles and responsibilities of Union officers by creating a document explaining the roles and responsibilities of each branch and officer. The document will serve as an “investment” in the Union’s future, with the goal of fixing its problems of instability, turnover and clarity, she said.
Chapman also highlighted her experience in planning events as a qualification for the position. According to her campaign biography, she has been involved with the Midnight Buffet, Turkey Shuttles, the Ollie Awards and Pumpkin Fest.
“I’ve been doing a lot of Union-wide events, which gives me the unique experience of communicating with all the different branches [and] getting people to come together … so I’m already known for reaching out to everybody and being that source of communication,” she said.
Overall, Chapman said her goal is to change the perception of the Union and to make it more structurally sound for the benefit of the Brandeis community
The special election comes after former Union Vice President Guillermo Caballero ’20 resigned abruptly during the Oct. 27 Senate meeting because of a Judiciary case concerning the role of the Executive Senator and alleged exclusivity within the Union.
Caballero was one of the complainants in the case, which ultimately found that Caballero failed to communicate effectively across branches and that Student Union President Simran Tatuskar ’21 overstepped her boundaries in interpreting the role of the executive senator, according to the Oct. 22 Justice article. Jake Rong ’21, the executive senator during Caballero’s term, has been serving as interim vice president.
This is the second special election in two semesters for the position. Former Union Vice President Aaron Finkel ’19 was elected for the Spring 2019 semester after former Union Vice President Benedikt Reynolds ’19 resigned that fall, partly because of criticism from former Class of 2022 Senator Alex Chang and former International Student Senator Linfei Yang ’20 over difficulties stemming from a heated campaign to purchase pianos for the first-year residence hall lounges. Chang later resigned and Yang was recalled.
There will be a candidates’ debate tonight from 9 to 10 p.m.