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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

SJ resolves dispute over Village senator

Published: October 1, 2010
Section: News

The new class of Student Union senators will include successful write-in candidate Missy Skolnik ’12 of the Village, after a constitutional limitation initially appeared to bar her from the seat because she, like most upperclassmen living in the quad, is going abroad in the spring.

The Constitution mandates that candidates, to be eligible to run for an elected Union office, must be “studying on the Waltham campus for the entire period in which s/he will hold office.”

“I realized that I would not officially be able to run as a candidate for the seat,” Skolnik wrote in an e-mail to The Hoot.

“To me this meant two things: that I wouldn’t be able to be on the ballot and that it would be up to Village residents to choose freely and duly to write my name in as an alternative candidate.”

While the Union Constitution does impose this barrier for those wishing to be on the online ballot, Skolnik and Herbie Rosen, the Union secretary, agreed that it curiously did not require constant on-campus residency for a write-in campaign.

The Student Judiciary “agreed on the suggestion that nothing was stated in the Constitution in relation to write-in campaigns, so there was no clear-cut answer as to what we must do,” Rosen, who as secretary is named by the Constitution as chief elections officer, wrote in an e-mail.

“I have decided that Missy will be taking the seat for Village Senator. My reasoning is [that] the Constitution does not directly state anything which would prevent her from taking the seat, as a write-in is not mentioned in its text.”

Rosen added that in any case, her “constituency also demonstrated that they want her for the seat, [even] with the knowledge that she will be going abroad next semester.”

That decision may reflect the fact that most Village residents go abroad for part of the year, but Skolnik said that she would “do everything in [her] power to [re]present immediate and long-term needs for all Village residents, including the sophomores in A House who will be there for the year’s entirety.”

She, while being successful in her write-in campaign, questioned the need or students to roundabout their own constitution.

“Why are we trying to limit the Senate to students who are not studying abroad?” Skolnik wrote.

“This system makes things very difficult, polarizing and disempowering.”