News, University News

UCS, UFB candidates commence campaigns

Presidential candidates focus on greater ideological diversity, implementing Consent bill

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Shanzé Tahir ’19 and Fabrice Guyot-Sionnest ’20 will compete to become the next president of the Undergraduate Council of Students in next week’s elections, UCS announced yesterday.

Camila Pelsinger ’20 and William Zhou ’20 will vie for the UCS vice presidency, and Lisa Schold ’19 and Drew To ’19 will contend for chair of the Undergraduate Finance Board. Julian De Georgia ’20 will run unopposed for UFB vice chair.

Neither presidential candidate currently holds a position with UCS. Tahir noted her experiences as president of Brown Lecture Board and as an executive board member of the Brown Muslim Students Association in her platform. Guyot-Sionnest listed his experiences as a captain of a Brown Mock Trial team and as a graduate of the Innovation Dojo on his platform posted on the UCS website.

Tahir pledges to “push for the Campus of Consent Bill and follow through on its effective implementation.” UCS passed amendments to the Campus of Consent bill Wednesday and plans to implement its provisions beginning in the fall, The Herald previously reported. Her platform also outlines goals in areas such as student support, campus life and academics.

Guyot-Sionnest’s platform focuses exclusively on “diversity of thought.”

“Brown is an echo chamber. I didn’t come to Brown to have my own opinions repeated back to me. I came to hear diverse perspectives,” Guyot-Sionnest wrote in his platform. “I am running because I want every voice to be heard.”

While neither presidential candidate is currently involved with UCS, each of the two vice presidential candidates currently chairs one of UCS’s four primary committees. Pelsinger is the chair of the campus life committee and Zhou is the chair of the student activities committee.

Zhou lists increasing on-campus employment opportunities and expanding the Campus of Consent Bill to include trainings on “sexual violence, diversity and crisis response” as two of his primary goals.

“I’m running to help support and further champion student voices and initiatives,” he wrote in his platform.

Among other objectives, Pelsinger aims to develop “resources for communities to prevent and heal from interpersonal harm” and increase student group attendance at UCS meetings with administrators, according to her platform.

“The deans and the administrators and faculty are genuinely there to support the student community, but people don’t have access to those resources,” Pelsinger said. “UCS is supposed to help facilitate that.”

Both candidates for UFB chair have extensive UFB experience. To currently serves as UFB’s vice chair, and his platform highlights topics including efficiency and transparency. To also pledges not to propose an increase to the student activities fee, which currently stands at $274 for each student and comprises UFB’s budget. The fee will rise to $286 next year, as The Herald previously reported.

Schold is currently studying abroad, but she served two years as the liaison between UCS and UFB. Schold would work as UFB chair to increase transparency and improve communication between student groups and UFB, according to her platform.

Four students are running for the eight available positions as at-large members of UFB — Phillip Champagne ’21, Nimo Ismail ’21, Daryl Polk ’19 and Alesandro Walker ’20. Walker and Polk both are UFB representatives this year.

Several current UCS general body and executive board members are running for UCS chair positions.

Two candidates — Rainy Duan ’21 and Alex Song ’20 — will compete for the chair of the student activities committee. Duan serves on the student activities committee and Song is the UCS treasurer.

The current chair of academic affairs, Mar Weiss ’20, will run for re-election against Claudia Liu ’21, a UCS general body member.

Sharon Zeldin ’20 is running for re-election as the chair of student wellness against Cole Hansen ’19 and Shivani Nishar ’20. Neither Hansen nor Nishar currently holds a position in UCS.

Sara Kutscher ’20, Claire Heiden ’21 and Melissa Lee ’20 will contend for chair of campus life. Kutscher and Heiden are members of the campus life committee, and Lee is a member of the Class Coordinating Board.

Austin Lessin ’19, the UCS parliamentarian, runs unopposed for UCS treasurer.

This year, candidates for all UCS and UFB positions were required to gather only 200 student signatures in order to officially declare their candidacy. In previous years, UCS election policy mandated that candidates for UCS president, vice president and UFB chair and vice chair collect 400 signatures while candidates for other positions obtain 250.

Members of the general body voted to implement this change at a dinner with President Christina Paxson P ’19 last Thursday night, said Katie Barry ’19, co-chair of the UCS elections board. The change was announced only to those who had already attended one of three required candidate information sessions, and Barry said the signature change “probably wouldn’t get more people to run this year, but hopefully it just made it less stressful for the people who already had decided to run.”

Pelsinger agreed that the change made it easier to become a candidate. It “really helped because I don’t think I would have had time to collect” 400 signatures, she said, though “changes should be made in the future just to make the campaign process a little less overwhelming.”

Prospective candidates submitted their signatures at a candidates meeting Wednesday evening and received approval of their candidacies from the elections board later that night.

Candidates for UCS president and vice president and UFB chair and vice chair will participate in a public debate Sunday evening. All student groups who plan to endorse candidates must have a representative attend the debate. Voting for all positions will occur from March 20 to 22 through an online survey that will be sent to all undergraduates.