Student Union gives State of the Union address
The Union recapped their achievements from the past semester and discussed their plans for the future.
On May 3, her last day in office, Student Union President Krupa Sourirajan ’23 gave the opening remarks for the end of the spring 2022 semester’s State of the Union address. Following Sourirajan, members of the outgoing executive board made brief comments on their work over the past semester.
Sourirajan said that she was “incredibly proud” to stand before the crowd and deliver her speech. She also announced that next semester will be the beginning of the student leader payment pilot, which Sourirajan said is intended to remove economic barriers to students who want to take on campus leadership roles but also need to work an on-campus job.
The plan will start with a small number of secured clubs, including BEMCo and the Student Union.
Inaara Gilani ’23, the Junior Representative to the Board of Trustees, and Sonali Anderson ’22, the Senior Representative to the board, spoke after Sourirajan, raising concerns of unfair treatment from the non-student members of the board.
Gilani said to the crowd, which contained numerous University administrators including President Ron Liebowitz, that she and Anderson believe that the trustees have been intentionally making it difficult for the student representatives to express themselves to the board.
“[We] feel that our voices are being silenced,” Gilani said. She also said that the trustees scheduled meetings during the representatives’ class times and did not include space in the agendas for the two to speak.
This was important, Gilani said, because when she and Anderson were given time to introduce student concerns to the board, those issues were “noticeably addressed [better] than by sole advocacy outside of the role.”
Gilani also said that the trustees wanted to entirely remove the undergraduate and graduate representatives from the plenary session, the meeting that includes the entire Board of Trustees rather than just the smaller committees.
“We have been told that our position has made some people uncomfortable,” Anderson said. “That is the point.”
Ashna Kelkar ’24, the executive senator and interim vice president, spoke about the various accomplishments of the Senate over the past semester, including the “pad project” and the dining committee’s work to “implement tangible change to dining options.”
The “pad project” was a Union initiative to have menstrual products available in bathrooms for those that need them.
Kelkar also said that Peyton Gillespie ’25, the incoming president and former senator, submitted two Brandeis Sustainability Fund Requests. One was to create a stockpile of compostable resources such as utensils, and the other was to make funding for break shuttles to the Logan International Airport.
Emily Zhu ’23, the director of Residential Life, said that by next semester, every washing machine and dryer on campus will be new.
Jasmyne Jean-Remy ’22, the chief of staff, said that she was able to purchase the KN95 masks which the Union distributed during the Midday Buffet. She also said that she worked with executive board members from Namaskar to purchase new items for the Dharmic Prayer Room in the Shapiro Campus Center.
“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable,” said Chief Justice Eamonn Golden ’24, quoting Justice Louis D. Brandeis. “And that is the purpose of judiciary.”
Golden said that the judiciary worked with the Senate Rules Committee to clarify bylaws and the constitution.
Sourirajan returned at the end to give the concluding remarks. She thanked her executive board members and said that their “close relationship has been important for efficiently getting work done.”
She said that they also kept her in check,and that she was grateful for the boundaries they established. Sourirajan concluded her remarks by saying that she was “excited to pass the torch” to Gillespie and Lia Bergen ’25, the incoming vice president.