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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Union holds elections

Students vie for 2 open positions

Published: February 8, 2008
Section: Front Page, News

Campaigns for the positions of Justice of the Union Judiciary and Off-Campus Senator began last Sunday, following a candidates’ meeting led by Nelson Rutrick ’09, Union secretary and Chief of Elections.

The elections will replace Chief Justice of the UJ, Jamie Ansorge ’09, who is studying abroad this semester, and fill the position of Off-Campus Senator, to which no one was elected last election.

“We have six people running for UJ, and two for senator, so it’s pretty exciting,” Rutrick remarked. Neal Ludevig ’08, Brandon Chu ’09, Evan Green-Lowe ’10, Sherry Seibel ’11, Danielle Shmuely ’10, and Jon Kane ’10 are running for Justice of the Union Judiciary. The off-campus senator candidates are Michelle Blanter ’10 and Neda Eid ’11.

“I’ve always wanted to be involved in the Union…especially since I’m very interested in the study of law,” explained Shmuely.

Chu also attributed his decision to run to “a deep appreciation for the rule of law” and a “wish to contribute to the Student Union as well as the Brandeis community.”

Seibel, the only first-year candidate running for the UJ, remarked, “this position especially appeals to me because…it’s more focused on calmly and rationally collecting information from both sides in order to understand the conflict and how it relates to the standards set forth in the constitution. And I like that.”

Ludevig, who was persuaded by Rutrick to run, said that he was interested in “resolving problems and issues in the Student Union in the best way possible.”

Kane commented on his plans for the Union Judiciary if elected. “My first task will be to assist in the election of a new Chief. I plan to select the best person for the job,” he explained. Kane continued, “afterward, I will work to ensure that the UJ remain out of frivolous and non-binding ‘opinion’ cases and reserve its judgment for the issues that really matter.”

Chu also noted several issues that needed to be addressed. “Policies on alcohol and party hours are too strict. Rather than attempt to eliminate parties everywhere, dormitories should be segmented where certain areas will be much more lenient while other dormitories can remain around the clock quiet hours.” He further expressed his concern over parking issues and campus appearance.

Ludevig noted other issues that might be addressed. “I have been hearing about creating a sort of list of the rights available to Brandeis students that would be in the Brandeis planner along with the rules…if elected, if there is anything I can do to help this get created, I will do it.”

Both Eid and Blanter showed concern over the problems faced by off-campus students. “I want to deal with issues like parking, the fact that so many students live off-campus when there is room in dorms, and the fact that transfer students aren’t given housing,” explained Blanter.

Eid, a commuter rather than a Waltham resident, called the commuters lounge a “locked joke” in a Facebook event she created to get out the vote. She continued, “a place commuter’s can put their books or belongings while on campus…will be my first project as senator.”

Some candidates noted the need for change within the Union itself. “My campaign message is ‘We Cannot be Silent,’” explained Eid in her Facebook event. She continued, “one of the reasons that compelled me to run for off-campus senator was the lack of representation in the Union. I was utterly shocked because silence can never be a productive solution.”

Her competitor, Blanter, noted the need for more transparency within the Union.

“After the fiasco of the Goldman impeachment trial, it is clear that an outside force is needed to restore confidence in our judiciary,” explained Kane, referring to the resignation of last semester’s Union secretary, Mike Goldman ’08. He was replaced by Rutrick in November.

Some justice candidates were more positive. Chu remarked, “I feel that the Union does a lot for our community but rarely gets the attention or recognition it deserves. Rather than seeing the Union as part of the administration, I want students to feel that the Student Union truly holds their interests at heart.”

Ludevig expressed similar concerns, stating, “I think the Union is doing what it should, but needs to focus more on connecting itself with the Brandeis community and hearing the issues that people talk about on campus.”

Shmuely said that she “would really like to see people on any committee in the Union who are hardworking, dedicated, and sensible.”

The winners of this election will only serve for the Spring 2008 semester. “Though the term for this position is short, I’m extremely excited about the possibility of getting involved,” Seibel explained. “Student Union is a fascinating organization in which I hope to participate in for semesters to come.”

Evan Green-Lowe did not respond to requests for comment.

Candidates for both positions will continue campaigns until primary rounds for elections, which open at 12 a.m. on Sunday. If necessary, the final round will take place on Tuesday.