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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Leaders must use student’s voices, be heard

Published: April 16, 2010
Section: Editorials

This week’s Student Union election pleased members of this board for several reasons and could go a great deal toward future success of the currently dysfunctional organization.

Each candidate for the post of president, especially, brought a unique story to the race in ways that may have been the causes of the extremely high and possibly record-breaking turnout. Forty-seven percent is not perfect, and while we would like to see much greater numbers of student go through the trouble of loading a Web page to vote, it is still encouraging. This is especially true in light of this winter’s election turnout for Judiciary and some Senate posts, where turnout was simply abysmal.

We congratulate not only President-elect Daniel Acheampong, but also other competitors Sahar Massachi, Associate Justice Matt Kriegsman and Racial Minorities Senator J.V. Souffrant. While each brought a unique element to the race, from Union experience, grassroots media activism or a younger candidate, all obviously inspired enthusiasm and the level of voting reflects that.

We were glad to see that most positions had at least one candidate. The representative to the Alumni Association should have had more takers, as well as the Treasurer, of course. And we sincerely hope that someone is up to being for the powerful voting representative to the University Curriculum Committee, which directly approves all major or minor academic requirements and other academic changes, at the next round of elections this month.

But all told, the race was clean and well run. It also showcased the success of the new instant-runoff voting system, which could be said to have helped turnout because it eliminates “wasted” votes by turning all losing votes to secondary candidates. More importantly it gives some much-needed legitimacy to the Student Union. With such a turnout, the new leaders must use the voice students gave them to speak to the administration. Students need answers on overcrowding, dining and the university’s budget—open forums are a nice first step, butwe have quite a way to go.