Candidates compete for seats in Union winter elections
24 candidates vie for 12 seats in the Senate, A-Board and Judiciary in the Union’s January elections.
In the Student Union’s winter elections, 24 candidates will be competing for 12 seats on the Union Judiciary, Allocations Board and Senate. The Justice attended the Union’s “Meet the Candidates” forum on Monday and asked candidates about their goals if elected to their desired positions.
Senator-at-Large (1 Seat)
One of two candidates running for Senator-at-Large is Alex Park ’22. “I’ve been following the Senate relatively closely for a semester and a half now,” Park said at the candidate forum. “There were a lot of issues that weren’t being addressed,” he said. Park said that he wants to create a forum where students can voice their complaints to the Student Union. Park continued to say that his personality would help him to be able to advocate for Brandeis students. “I’ve been a headstrong person for most of my life,” he said.
The second candidate running for Senator-at-Large is Denezia Fahie ’22. Previously, Fahie served as the 2019 Racial Minority Senator. Fahie wrote in her candidate biography that she is “passionate about intentionality regarding how we create and implement equitable campus policies.” This semester, Fahie said she intends to identify “writ-large campus concerns and strategi[ze] to find not only the most effective solution-but more equitable solution.”
Midyear Senator (1 Seat)
Michelle Kleytman ’23 is one of two candidates running for midyear senator. Kleytman said in her candidate biography that she wants “to give back to the program that gave me my start” and “more importantly be a voice for our class.” During the fall semester, Kleytman worked as a campaign manager for a State Senate race in her district, according to her candidate biography. If elected, Kleytman said she promises to “be a resource to each of you, foster inclusivity and … act as your representative to the greater Student Union.”
The second candidate running for Midyear Senator is Danielle Malka ’23. Malka said in her candidate biography that she would like to “give back and show [her] appreciation to the students and institution as a whole.” Malka also said being elected would allow her “to assist [her] fellow midyears and any new students with their transition to college life and settling in.”
Class of 2023 Senator (1 Seat)
Ishaan Khurana ’23 decided to run for Senate after leading the Dharmic Prayer Beautification Project, he wrote in a Monday email to the Justice. Doing so made him “[realize] that [he] could make a real impact at this school,” he wrote. Key parts of his platform include making the residence halls easier to clean by installing shoe racks for snow boots and providing more fresh fruits and vegetables in the dining halls. In his candidate biography, Khurana said his largest proposal would be to create a “speed dating for friends” event for first-years to meet friends outside of their classes and residence halls.
Madeline Toombs ’23 said in her candidate biography that she wants to be the Class of 2023 senator because of a lack of first-year representation in clubs and student government. “A lot of people were discouraged [and] didn’t want to try [leadership] because they felt like they wouldn’t be taken seriously as freshmen. I just feel like the class of 2023 can do better than that,” she said in a Monday interview with the Justice. As a senator, she would seek to make the Senator of 2023 a more visible position, host forums so first-years could have their voices heard and raise the profile of the Student Union and help it be taken more seriously.
If elected, Oona Wood ’23 would seek to “create a community in which everyone is represented,” and create more interfaith and intercultural events on campus, she said in a Monday interview with the Justice. She said that if elected, she will try to create dialogue between the different cultural organizations and put a spotlight on mental health and academic success. She also placed an emphasis on improving campus safety, like creating Uber and Lyft vouchers for students to get home safely.
Class of 2022 Senator (1 Seat)
A Politics and Sociology major from Queens, New York, Joshua Feld ’22 currently sits on the Senate Dining Committee. He wants to become the 2022 Class Senator so he can “attempt to address student concerns on a wider scale,” he wrote in a Monday email to the Justice. Feld wrote that he wants to continue his work on the dining committee, address “longstanding facilities issues that affect constituent housing” and address transfer credit issues. Feld wants to be a diligent representative of his peers, and not neglect them, he wrote.
MKTYP Senator (1 Seat)
Erick Comas Hernandez ’23 said in a Monday email to the Justice that he wants to learn from the experience of student government and take those lessons back to his constituents. “I definitely want to go in there to learn about it and ask questions while also informing everyone of what exactly is going on and how the student government works,” he said. Hernandez added in his email that he would try to achieve a direct line of communication with his peers for accountability. Hernandez also wants to make the Student Union more diverse and avoid meetings where he is a passive voice, he wrote. “I want to do more than just show up and leave,” he said. In his candidate biography, Hernandez also expressed interest in switching campus toilet paper companies “because [he has] heard complaints about the paper being uncomfortable and too rough,” he said.
Racial Minority Senator (1 Seat)
Jasmyne Jean-Remy ’22 is running unopposed for the position of Racial Minority Senator. She hopes to serve as “a better liaison between clubs and the Student Union,” and “to focus on getting minority voices heard,” she told the Justice in a Monday interview. As a Computer Science major and Business minor, Jean-Remy said she possesses “a different view of Brandeis than other candidates,” as she is frequently “the only Black woman in the class.” If elected senator, she said, she hopes to provide support for minority students in STEM, describing the experience of being a minority in STEM as “alienating.” “I want to let people know that they’re not alone in that experience and that there’s people to help,” she told the Justice.
Three-Semester Seat to Allocations Board (2 Seats)
Ryan Pyatetsky ’22 is running for three-semester Representative to the A-Board because he “want[s] to be more involved on campus,” he told the Justice in a Monday interview. If elected, he said, he plans to focus on making sure that the budget is allocated fairly and enabling every club to “flourish to their greatest potential,” without having the stress of lack of funding, as he wrote in his candidate biography. He also hopes to improve communication between clubs and the Allocations Board and make the process of requesting money easier, he told the Justice.
After serving as Racial Minority Representative for the past two semesters, Sonali Anderson ’22 is running for the three-semester representative to the Allocations Board. If elected, she hopes to “continue helping underrepresented culture clubs” and “reassess the budget for racial minority clubs” so as to better advocate for these clubs’ funding, she wrote in her candidate biography. Her prior experience on A-Board provides her with the “knowledge and experience” needed to tackle budget management, analyzing spending report spreadsheets and meeting with club leaders, she wrote.
One-Year Allocations Board Seat (2 Seats)
As a mid-year student, Esther Daube-Valois ’23 plans to bring a new perspective and fresh ideas to the A-Board, she told the Justice in a Monday interview. “From what I’ve heard, the Allocations Board is already doing a lot of great things, and I just want to continue that legacy,” she said. If elected, Daube-Valois hopes to work closely with clubs so as to help them “embrace their full potential,” according to her candidate biography. Another goal if elected is to educate the student body on how to best take advantage of all that A-Board has to offer, she said in an interview.
Mariya Teslya ’22 said in her candidate biography that she is running for the two-semester representative for A-Board position “for the opportunity to get more involved with clubs and organizations.” If elected, she wrote, she plans to focus her efforts on increasing transparency between clubs and A-Board. “I want to make it easier for clubs to understand how their funds are being managed,” she told the Justice in a Monday interview. Teslya said she has developed “a strong sense of the community” over her year and a half as a Brandeis student, which she says will help her in being “fair and rational” while making important financial decisions.
Maggie Chang ’23 is running for A-Board member. Since this is her first semester on campus, Chang said she is eager to become involved with student affairs and activities. She said that joining the Student Union is one of the best ways that she can accomplish this. “Having a say and someone who is responsible is important,” Chang said. “[I would prioritize] the students, hoping that we could make accommodations [and] compromises.”
Parker Thompson ’23 is running to be a member of the Union’s A-Board. Thompson said that he has a variety of academic interests that span multiple disciplines. Thompson said in his candidate bio that he would strive to support many programs in order to promote “fiscal diversity.” “I believe it is our responsibility to invest in creative and innovative opportunities that enrich our student body and renew our commitment to lifelong learning, diversity and social justice,” Thompson said.
Yonah Shafner ’22 is running for a seat on the A-Board. Shafner has had previous experience with managing funds, and he said in his candidate bio that he was interested in becoming more involved in student government. “I am very excited for this opportunity to collaborate with other Brandeis students and work to appropriately distribute Brandeis’ resources,” Shafner said.
One-Year Racial Minority Allocations Board Seat (1 Seat)
Aria Pradhan ’21 is running unopposed for A-Board member for racial minority students, which is a one-year seat. Pradhan did not submit a candidate biography.
Associate Justice (1 Seat)
Sophia Reiss ’23 is running for associate justice of the Union Judiciary. Reiss said in her candidate biography that she has previously served two years as a member of the Disciplinary Council in her high school. Reiss said that she appreciates that the Student Union is a court on campus, since she hopes to enter the law field. “[The Student Union] is who we are on campus, and it’s a way [that] people on campus can have a role,” Reiss said.
Shivam Nainwal ’22 was inspired to run for associate justice because of the Judiciary’s values of “justice, equality, and equity,” he wrote in his candidate biography. “I think I have all the qualities required to fill the position of the Associate Justice — rationality, justness, and fairness.”
Jasmine Huang Fu ’23 wrote in her candidate biography that she cares about “upholding the fairness of the Brandeis Constitution” and hopes “to be the one to ensure that judicial review is executed without bias.” If elected, she hopes to bring her experience in her high school’s student government, mock trial and Model United Nations to her role as associate justice.
Roë Keshet ’22 has a strong interest in legal studies and is “passionate about being an advocate and guard for the community and the values that we cherish,” per her candidate biography. If elected to be an associate justice, Keshet wrote, she would use her “eye for detail and nuance that will enable [her] to have a comprehensive understanding of school policy and individual cases that will be brought before the board.”
After witnessing the Judiciary’s resolution process of the racial minority senator election last semester, Tyler Carruth ’23 realized he found the interpretation of the Union’s constitution “fascinating” and decided to run for the branch, he told the Justice at the campaign forum. He said that he has “taken it upon myself to read through every Justice and Hoot article over the last 20 years to get an understanding for all the cases the Judiciary has gone through and what the rulings were.” He said he hopes to increase transparency and student awareness of the Judiciary by making an effort to allow the public at some Judiciary meetings.
Following three semesters in the Senate, Jake Rong ’21 chose to run for the Judiciary “to take on a new challenge,” he wrote in a Monday email to the Justice. He made the decision to step down after last semester’s Judiciary case against Student Union President Simran Tatuskar ’21 — which concerned Rong’s role as executive senator — led him to reevaluate his role in the Union. Rong was also previously the chair of the Senate’s Rules Committee, and hopes to bring his knowledge of the Bylaws and Constitution, as well as his perspective as a former senator, to the Judiciary. If elected, he told the Justice, he will “continue this trend that has already been started of the Judiciary taking on a more active role and participating in the other [Union] branches.”