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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

In Student Union elections, skip option fails to fill vacant seats

Published: September 23, 2011
Section: Front Page

The student body elected senators to the Student Union Thursday with 18 percent turnout, but even with a new skip option in voting, three of the five seats on the Judiciary were left vacant due to abstain votes. Three other senate seats were also left vacant and a new election date will be announced soon, Union Secretary Todd Kirkland said.

This election marked the debut of a new “skip” option available to students during the voting process. Unlike the “abstain” option, the skip option does not hurt the candidates but it still gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their right not to vote.

“We’re going to further evaluate what we do with the skip option,” said Union President Herbie Rosen ’12 in an interview early Friday morning following the election results.

The following students won seats: Evyn Rabinowitz as Senator at Large; Sneha Walia ’15 and Daniel Novak ’15 as Class of 2015 Senators; Theodore Choi ’13 and Sarah G. Kim ’13 as class of 2013 Senators; Melissa Donze ’12 as Class of 2012 Senator; Jenny Lau ’14 to the Alumni Association Representative seat; Lisa Purdy ’14 and Rohan Bhatia ’14 to the Brandeis Sustainability Fund Representative seats; Kelsey Dean ’14 as the Castle Quad Senator; Jeremy Goodman ’14 as the East Quad Senator; Paul Lee ’13 to the F-Board Racial Minority seat; Gaili Gordon to the Judiciary; Dean Kaplan ’15 as Massell Quad Senator; Charlotte Franco ’15 as North Quad Senator; Rachel Goutman as Off Campus Senator; Boris Osipov as Ridgewood Quad Senator; Jacklyn Gil ’14 as Rosenthal Quad Senator; James Polite as TYP Senator; Benjamin Beutel as Village Quad Senator and Sol Kim as Ziv Quad Senator.

Sneha Walia ’15 won as Class of 2015 Senator and said in an interview before the election that the skip option was a positive addition to the voting procedures.

“The addition is really helpful because each option serves its own purpose but neither forces a voter to select a candidate,” Walia said, “People absolutely do have the right not to vote for a certain position and let their voices be heard in that sense.”

Polite said he was excited to begin his work as a new member of the Union and planned to represent the interests of fellow TYP students.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support,” Polite said. “I’m looking forward to representing TYP as their senator, and bringing their values and concerns to the Student Union. I’m looking forward to starting; I want to act as a facilitator for bringing everyone together.”

In the race for senior representative to the Alumni Association, sophomore Jenny Lau won. Rosen explained that the junior and senior seats reflect time spent on the Union, not one’s junior or senior class year.

Because the vote for the alumni association representative seat was open to the entire student body, Rosen said, it was not limited to a student from any one class holding the position.