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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Candidate Statements

Published: March 16, 2007
Section: News

Note: Presidential candidates Frank Golub '10, Shreeya Sinha '09, Jonathan D'Oleo '08, and Iris Uzdil '09 did not submit statements as The Hoot went to press.
Vice Presidential candidate Sung Lo Yoon also did not submit a statement as The Hoot went the press.

Asher Tanenbaum

Past Leadership Experience: I am currently Class of 2008 Senator and President of BIPAC. I was a member of the Committee To Bring Alan Dershowitz To Brandeis, and I have been in several other elected club positions.

Why are you the best candidate?: I am the best candidate because I will address issues that need to be addressed that are currently ignored and approached incorrectly. We need dialogue about issues on campus that affect students more than we need dailogue about the Middle East. I will have an administration that will work more closely with students and that will involve them more than they are currently. I will come to students rather than them coming to me and make it easier for them to reach the President – this is what my Mealside Chats will be: going into the students' environment where they come through anyways and so they don't have to go out of their way to bring up an issue to the President.

What is the primary issue you wish to address at Brandeis? How do you plan to fix it?: My primary issue I would like to address is the separation of groups on campus and the need to get them to work together. This can be done through better events that are not too distinctive that will not attract other people. This also goes along with better student events, which can attract more people if they take chances with riskier events. Modfest also can be remade into a resident-driven event that involves many mods working in conjunction if the administration will not allow and official, large public event. Dialogue really needs to be improved on campus and by being frank about issues, this dialogue can be fruitful and people shouldn't be afraid to bring up controversial issues because they feel the reaction will be negative. Unity between groups is only created through discussing issues.

A fun fact to share with your constituency?: I go to the weight room 4 times a week and never miss any workouts because I know I will feel angry with myself if I miss a workout. I have also not missed a morning shabbat or holiday service since my sophomore year of high school and I will bring this same dedication to the Presidency if elected. One reason I ran was because several of my friends thought it would be cool if I ran and won because they know that I would bring the Union to them and run it the best it can be run.

Name: Andrew Brooks
Year: 2009
Position: President

Past Leadership Experience: I am the best candidate because of my experience, independent ideas and passion for the job. I have served in the Student Union for two years now, first as the Clerk of the Senate and for the past year as your Senator-at-Large. As Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, I have worked to reform the Union from within, making key changes to our bylaws to increase our own effectiveness as a resource for all students. As a member of the Club Support Committee, I have been dedicated to helping clubs in every way possible. Ultimately, my ideas for improving Brandeis are what separate me from the other candidates. I have concrete plans that will address student concerns with the housing lottery, F-Board allocations, social life and HIATT. For more information regarding my plans for these issues, please be sure to visit my campaign website before election day!

What is the primary issue you wish to address at Brandeis? How do you plan to fix it?: Although there are several issues I'd like to address as President, one of the most important of these is fixing the housing lottery system. Last year, a clear majority of the student body supported a referendum calling for a change to the current housing lottery system. I was appointed to the Housing Advisory Committee this year because I wanted to address student concerns on this issue. Unfortunately, the committee rarely met and other members weren't interested in developing significant reforms to the system. Thinking outside the box, I have developed a serious plan that will help start a dialogue with Residence Life about this issue. Rather than giving individuals housing lottery numbers, students can form into groups of friends they want to live near and receive a group housing lottery number. After groups with good numbers select the Mods and Ziv, for example, the remaining groups will still have the opportunity to live in the Village next to each other. As a result, more students will be able to live with more of their friends. Again, this is just one suggestion to help deal with the problem, and as President I promise to advocate for reforms most students support and address them to Residence Life personally.

A fun fact to share with your constituency?: At the 1997 Temple Israel Purim Carnival, I won five goldfish, one of whom is still alive!!

Name: Alex Braver
Year: 2009
Vice President

Past leadership experience: This year, I was elected to the position of Student Union Secretary;

the responsibilities of this job included acting as Chief of Elections (for last semester), managing the Union office and Club Resource Center, handling copy codes, helping to administrate the my.Brandeis club space, working with the Union website, and sending out the Student Union weekly announcements.

The Secretary also serves as a member of the Executive Board, which has provided me with the opportunity to have monthly meetings with Jean Eddy, Senior VP for Students and Enrollment, weekly meetings with Rick Sawyer, Dean of Student Life, and interactions with number of the Deans in the Student Life department.
I've also served on SITAC (Student Information Technology Advisory Committee), which meets with LTS, and COWG (Campus Operations Working Group), which meets with administrators to advocate for facilities concerns.

As a Freshman, I was elected to the position of North Quad Senator. I served on the North Quad Council Executive Board in helping to plan events for my quad, the Social Justice Senate Committee, and the Ways and Means Senate Committee.

Why am I the best candidate?: I think I'm the best candidate because I have the experience and dedication to carry out my vision for next year's Senate. The Vice President's main constitutional role is to chair Senate meetings. While I think that running the meetings fairly, encouraging constructive debate, and ensuring efficiency are important, I think that a good Vice President can do so much more than simply manage meetings well. Vice President has the potential to turn the Senate into a community of advocates;

this vision extends outside Senate meetings alone.

As a member of the E-board this year, I've learned much about how the system works at Brandeis. I know which administrators can be helpful with particular issues, which departments are most receptive to specific concerns, and the best ways to effect positive change on this campus. I want to empower every single member of next year's Senate with this knowledge. I plan to guide the Senate, so that it acts as an effective force for Student concerns. A Vice President, or any Union official, can only do so much by him or herself;

an entire Senate with the knowledge and ability to truly represent the student body can be a powerful vehicle for change on this campus.

What is the primary issue I wish to address at Brandeis? How do I plan to fix it?: As a member of the Union, my issues are your issues. This year, I think we dropped the ball in terms of really making an effort to find out your issues, and that's something I really want to change for next year. I feel that this year we didn't do nearly as much outreach as we should have done, and that needs to change.

Internally, Senate meetings need to be more inviting and less threatening, so that students who come to address the Senate can really speak their minds. This can be done by making sure that, while parliamentary procedures are enforced, they are always subordinate to friendliness and efficiency. When constituents come to Senate meetings on Sunday nights, we should be catering to their needs, not making them cater to ours.

Externally, there's a lot of work to be done. As Vice President, I would encourage a larger number of dorm raps, which really provide the best opportunity for face-to-face interaction with student representatives. Also, why not have more town hall meetings? This year, they were limited to freshman quads, but I see the potential to expand the reach of these meetings. I think more opportunities to bring groups of Senators outside the 3rd floor of Shapiro Campus Center are necessary in ensuring an open student government and providing a better connection between Union officials and constituents.

A fun fact to share with my constituency?: I love writing for the Blowfish!

Name: Sridatta Mukherjee
Vice President

Past Leadership Experience: Finance Board Chair, Wein International Scholar, Leader- In- Training (ICC)

Why are you the best candidate?: I have the experience, the personality and the vision to be a great Vice President. Being the Finance Board Chair this year has given me the experience in moderating meetings. Under my Chairmanship, the Finance Board has been at its efficient best. For the first time in its recent history, Finance Board meetings have run ahead of schedule. I will extend this level of efficiency and professionalism to the Senate, which is absolutely essential for its smooth functioning.

My vision for the Senate is one that is open to all the Students' needs, is aware of its responsibilities to its constituents, and one with no drama or sensationalism. Also, a major part of the Senate's job is to charter/decharter clubs on campus. My insight on the financial aspect of the functioning of clubs will direct the Senate to make more financially and logically sound decisions.

As the VP, I want to extend my role outside the Senate. This year, I was right in the center of the SAF implementation. This is something that I want to continue working on. Having worked on the executive side of the issue, I know the discrepencies in the system, and I look to extend that knowledge into the administrative aspect of SAF implementaion. I have also met with almost all the clubleaders of this campus. As such, I know what the clubs, and hence the people in this campus, want and need for being satisfied with their college experience. My input will enable the EBoard to guide their efforts and attention towards the demands of this campus. Of course, being an international student, I am going to work towards making this campus and its community more aware and welcoming of its diveristy.

What is the primary issue you wish to address at Brandeis? How do you plan to fix it?: At Brandeis, especially as part of the Union, I want to acheive better representation of the work that people do. I feel that many times the good things that Senate does gets meshed with other things, whereas its faults are highlighted in bold characters. I want to improve this. Having spoken to Seniors during my campaign, a lot of the feedback I have received is that they hardly know, or perhaps remember clearly, what their Union has done for them. I think there should be better communication between the media and the Union, and I want to achieve this by making the Senate that I chair, an open and transparent one. One in which any student can come and air their views and suggestions and complaints. I want Senators to be responsible and answerable to their constituents.

A fun fact to share with your constituency?: Originally from Bombay, India, I now live in Tashkent, which is the capital of Uzbekistan.

Name:Christina Khemraj
Year: 2009
Vice President

As both the Senator for Racial Minorities and the Senate Chair of
the Diversity committee, I led the initiatives for Brandeis' first and very successful Identity Retreat. I participated in numerous ICC shows to better involve myself with my constituents. As a member of Dean Jaffe's advisory committee, I have advocated for a more diverse selection of classes, to keep the Pass/Fail option, as well as other academic concerns.

I have a vision for the senate and plan to work closely with the President in accomplishing the goals of the Student Body. The Vice President is essentially the President of the Senate, but that does not mean he/she is limited to that role. I want our senators to be better informed on the history/culture of each club that comes before them. I also want to utilize our university committees to their capacity so that we have a group of students dedicated to the issues of our campus, i.e, safety, an increase in political/social activism, environmental awareness, social life, club sports, etc.

The primary issue at Brandeis is campus life, which encompasses social life, political/social activism, etc.

1. Social life: More collaborative events between clubs. We need to utilize our club support committee to take clubs of similar interests, invite them to a meeting and then brainstorm an event that would appeal to the greater Brandeis community. Collaboration is key to communal integration.

2. Political/Social activism ? Brandeis was founded on social justice, yet our level of advocacy for the things we believe in is not as strong as it once was. We need to voice our opinions, create dialogue, and take ACTION on campus regarding international affairs, politics, and other issues facing our campus and the greater community.

3. Etc.: What are your concerns? I'm here to actively listen and address the concerns of your choice.

Fun fact: My car's name is Riley.