Newly elected Student Union members share plans at debate
Members discussed plans for resolving conflicts within the Union and promoting sustainability on campus.
The debate for the second round of delayed spring 2020 Student Union elections was held over Zoom on Sept. 14. Union Secretary Taylor Fu ’21 led the event, and students discussed platforms for a collection of positions not covered in the first round of elections. Election results for this second round were released this past Thursday.
Class of 2021 Senator
Jesse Zucker secured the position of Class of 2021 Senator unopposed. Zucker’s main objective as senator is to advocate for sustainability on campus. He would also like to be a resource that listens to students’ individual concerns. Zucker says he has a “natural leadership inclination,” which he puts to use as a member of a campus a cappella group and a Brandeis Sustainability Ambassador.
Class of 2022 Senator
Joseph Coles will serve as Class of 2022 Senator this year. Last year, Coles served as the Senate Club Support Committee Chair. He hopes to continue working with clubs in his new position, especially during this time when students are presented with the challenge of planning COVID-19-friendly events. Coles said he would also like to build upon his prior objective to include more students of color in the Union. As a returning member, he hopes to be a resource for new members.
Vivian Mou ’23 secured the position of International Senator unopposed. As an international student who has been living in the United States for six years, Mou said her personal perspective will help her understand the experiences of international students. To help students living in different time zones, Mou would like to work with professors to ensure that students are not sacrificing their sleep or routines to attend Zoom classes that take place at inconvenient times.
Jack Ranucci ’22 is one of five newly elected associate justices. With his experience of being on the Student Union Judiciary for the past three semesters, Rancucci would like to bring a sense of stability and normalcy to the Judiciary in a time consumed by the uncertainties of COVID-19. Reflecting on previous conflicts he helped resolve as a member of the Judiciary, Rancucci stressed the importance of proactivity and communication in this work.
Shania Thomas ’21 also secured the position of associate justice. Thomas said she believes her leadership positions — her experience on the Judiciary Board, her position as a Roosevelt Fellow and her time spent as a Politics Undergraduate Departmental Representative — speak to her dedication to serving the Brandeis community. She said “the heart of advisory” is what drew her to the Judiciary, and she said she hopes that her pragmatism will help her be a problem solver on the Board. To help prevent conflict, Thomas said she would like to build a community where members of the Union feel that they can be honest and transparent.
Gabriella Lieberman ’23 was also elected associate justice. While Lieberman does not have prior experience in the Judiciary, she said she is looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the Union constitution and bylaws in the role. Lieberman said she hopes to deal with conflict by “leaving her bias at the door” and listening to all sides of the argument at hand. She also said she would like to establish more transparency between the Judiciary and the student body to ensure that students understand the Board’s role in the Union.
Ruth Itzkowitz ’22 also secured the position of associate justice. As a former member of the Judiciary, Itzkowitz said her prior experience has helped her better understand how change can be accomplished on campus, which she said makes her a helpful guide to students who have ideas for change but do not know how to get started. Itzkowitz said she would like to ensure that the Judiciary takes a more active role in the Union, specifically being more involved in community and Executive Board meetings.
Sophia Reis ’23 secured the fifth associate justice position. Although she could not attend the event, Fu read Reis’ candidate biography to participants of the event. Reis is a returning member to the Board and would like to keep Brandeis a “just and collaborative school.” She is passionate about law and court systems, and hopes to apply her extensive knowledge to her work in the Union, the statement said.
Junior Representative for Alumni Board
DeBorah Ault ’22 secured the position of junior representative for the Alumni Board unopposed. Ault hopes to serve as a resource for students who wish to pursue projects with the support of alumni. She also stressed the importance of involving alumni in discussions and work addressing social dynamics on campus. She specifically highlighted the Black Action Plan, which she co-created, along with newly elected Junior Representative to the Board of Trustees Sonali Anderson ’22.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a time of economic instability, Ault said she would like to be transparent with alumni with regards to what kind of support they can give the University and students at this time. She said she plans on asking alumni what they are comfortable with contributing and how they want to be engaged with the University at this time. She also said she would like to partner with more organizations and clubs that work with alumni. To ensure that there is transparency between the board, alumni and students, Ault said she would like to create a central website to make information easily accessible.
Representative for the Community Enhancement and Engagement Fund
Anthony Cai ’22 secured the position of representative for the Community Enhancement and Engagement Fund. Cai was not able to attend the event, so Fu read his candidate biography. As a returning member to the CEEF committee, he looks forward to being “part of an organization that helps run Brandeis affairs on behalf of the students,” the biography said.
Representative for Brandeis Sustainability Fund
Nakul Srinivas ’21 secured the position of Representative for Brandeis Sustainability Fund. Srinivas was not able to attend the event, but Fu read his candidate biography. Srinivas’ biography said that he has served in the Union for two years and has focused his work on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Some of his work includes planning a Black History Month Event and launching @voicesofbrandeis on Instagram, an account that seeks “to celebrate students of color on campus.” Srinivas would like his work on the Sustainability Fund to focus on environmental racism and the “sidelining of minority voices in the global climate justice movement,” according to his candidate biography.