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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Two candidates run for open Union Secretary spot

Published: November 16, 2007
Section: News

Candidates Nelson Rutrick 09 and Tia Chatterjee 09 began campaigns for the position of Student Union Secretary on Monday. The special elections, called in response to the former Union Secretarys resignation, will open for its primary round on Nov. 18. If necessary, a final round will open Tuesday Nov. 20.

Former secretary Michael Goldman 08 resigned Nov. 1 citing irreconcilable differences with the Executive Board over policies regarding arming campus police and the apparent illegality of the Racial Minority Senator position, as published in the Nov. 2 issue of The Hoot. Special elections for the position of secretary were announced in an email sent out Nov. 6 to the entire student body.

Student Union president Shreeya Sinha 09 will be acting as Chief of Elections, a responsibility usually falling to the Union secretary. Also serving as elections commissioners are Justin Sulsky 09, Zach Pyle 09, Sridatta Mukherjee 09, Darren Gallant 08, and Alex Braver 09. All members of the elections committee were present at the candidates meeting held Monday before campaigning officially began.

Id say that I have the time to give to help the Union get back on track after whats happened in the past, and Im interested in getting involved, explained Rutrick when asked why he had decided to run for the position.

When asked this question, Chatterjee said, One of my friends is in Senate and knew Goldman was resigning. She knows Im really organized and thought I would be good for the job. After emailing a few people to find out more, I realized that its not just about being a secretary, but being able to talk to the Dean and deal with important issues.

Chatterjee went on to discuss her own goals for the job, if elected. I know there are a lot of students who are not happy with the role the Student Union has had this semester, but also a lot of students…are not aware of everything going on around campus. Because of this, I would like to listen to the opinions of the students who are not happy with the Student Union and try to work with them as well as make students more aware.

Rutrick expressed his plans to act as a representative for the student body during a Democracy for America meeting held Wednesday. Rutrick assured the DFA members that, if my constituents care enough about it, then I will care enough to do something about it.

Both candidates have not served in a Student Union position to date. Chatterjee is involved in the DFA, gymnastics club, and womens ultimate Frisbee. Rutrick is a member of the swing-dancing club, mens rugby, and writes for the Justice.

Chatterjee expressed that her involvement should help her fulfill duties as Union secretary. She explained, Im on DFA, and while our main focus is elections, we also deal with a lot of issue campaigns that are related to the Brandeis campus. Because of this, I think I have a pretty good sense of whats going on around campus and what students feel strongly about.

Rutrick also shared what he believes will make him fit for the position. Where I live in my suite, Im sort of the one who gets things in order, he said. Rutrick continued, it seemed like a good fit for me. People who know me know that I have a funny and serious side.

At the DFA meeting, the candidates were also able to share their views on campus issues, specifically the arming of campus police. Rutrick, while expressing no personal opinion on the matter, stated that students should have had far more of a say.

On the same topic, Chatterjee told The Hoot, I feel there should be more measures taken to ensure that the Public Safety officers are fully trained in all issues that might relate to the Brandeis campus outside of the full training that they will already go through. Thats why I think its really great that a committee is being established, and hopefully it will keep in mind the views of the students and do everything possible to ensure that the police officers are being held accountable to the ideals of Brandeis.

Rachel Berman-Vaporis 11, who was present at the DFA meeting at which both candidates spoke, seemed unimpressed with what Chatterjee and Rutrick had to say. She commented, while the candidates had some great ideas, I felt that they really lacked not only experience, but a clear plan of what they were going to do on their first day on the job.

She continued, the Union will be able to move forward, but slowly, as neither candidate showed interest or the resolve to make any changes or push for a certain issue like the guns on campusI really had hoped that at least one of the candidates would make a firm stance on this to give us a little better picture of how they would address future issues.

On the Union website, Chatterjee is listed as having club endorsements from Adagio Dance Company, DFA, Peers Educating about Responsible Choices, the Italian Club, Voices of Soul, and Womens Ultimate. Fully updated profiles of both candidates will be posted once primary rounds open.