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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper β€” Waltham, Mass.

An agenda for Union reform

Published: April 19, 2013
Section: Editorials

This editorial board congratulates all incoming Student Union officers, including the newly elected President Ricky Rosen ’14. The incoming administration will face a multitude of issues affecting the student body. The following agenda includes the items we believe should be a priority for new officers in the coming year.

First, as Rosen has already demonstrated, the current dining contract with Aramark presents students with fewer options than they deserve. Given the prices students pay in dining each year, hours should be extended further, particularly on Friday and Saturday evenings; points should not be valued at a significantly higher rate than dollars and the quality of food should be upgraded. Rosen has advocated for beneficial policy changes in his time as senator. We hope he and his Union colleagues will continue this work and incorporate student feedback through surveys and meetings with dining staff.

Second, we believe student government and the student body at large could benefit greatly from increased interaction with trustees. In addition to a student representative to the board, granting club leaders access to meetings and small group sessions with trustees would ensure better communication. Issues related to tuition increases, dining contracts and campus infrastructure should accept more student input.

Third, the current club restructuring proposal can be addressed by discussing the core of the issue. It’s not about club organization but instead about financing. Rather than reorganizing the current system, we suggest the Union and administrators review clubs receiving an excess of funding. If the university is serious about an efficiency campaign when it comes to finances, they should not cut funding across the board but target student clubs wasting resources by simply requesting extraneous funding in hopes of receiving a larger percentage.

Fourth, the Student Union must take this opportunity to rebuild its relationship with the student body, engaging in weekly or monthly discussions with club leaders. In previous years, Union officials have spent time with administrators and formal committee meetings but they have been lacking more frequent informal opportunities for students to voice their concerns with Union officers.

Fifth, we hope the Union will launch a new awareness campaign about student safety on campus, and in particular regarding sexual assault. Brandeis is not alone in its handling of this issue and the existence of sexual assault on its campus. While administrators can form committees to investigate campus policies, students are more aware of what happens and how it can be prevented.

Certainly, the newly elected officers will have a number of issues to tackle when they assume office. We hope they will consider these and ask other students what matters most.