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Undergraduate Council of Students, Undergraduate Finance Board candidates kick off election season

UCS election board held three information sessions this week for prospective candidates in March election

Senior Staff Writer
Friday, March 1, 2019

The Undergraduate Council of Students elections board held three information sessions this week for prospective candidates for UCS and Undergraduate Finance Board positions, marking the beginning of the UCS and UFB spring election process.

The information sessions were held to “give (prospective candidates) an opportunity to see what it’s like (to run) and get as much information as possible,” said Elections Board Co-Chair Katie Barry ’19.

Students considering running for a position must attend at least one information session in order to be eligible to collect signatures for their petition for candidacy. Students will not be officially confirmed as candidates until the end of the Candidates’ Meeting, which is scheduled to take place on March 10.

“We’ve definitely had an issue in the past with people who haven’t done this before, not knowing some of the rules and maybe overstepping some boundaries without knowing … so we just want to make sure that we’re all on baseline, same page on the things that are most important,” Barry said.

A student interested in running for UCS President or Vice President said that the information session was helpful, but they still had some remaining questions about specifics they “don’t think should or would be presented in a very general info session anyway.” The student could not be named due to eligibility requirements for potential UCS and UFB candidates.

“Overall this process has been done so many times so clearly it must work,” the student added. “It’s definitely pushed me closer to thinking that I do want to run.”

On why they are considering running, the student discussed a lack of representation of their identities in student leadership. 

“I don’t think I’m doing it just because I want to do it, but to represent stories and narratives and viewpoints that have historically never been represented at Brown or really anywhere,” they said.

In prior years, several races for UCS and UFB positions went uncontested, The Herald previously reported. The elections board is working on making elections more competitive and accessible this year, Barry said.

“We’ve been doing a lot of publicity. We’re doing our best to get the word out,” Barry said. “We want to make sure that as many people run as possible, the elections board is made up of as many people as we can get, and also that as many people vote as possible.”

The board is also reaching out to “groups of people who might be interested in running,” she added.

This year, UCS approved changes to the elections code so that candidates for UCS President, UCS Vice President, UFB Chair and UFB Vice Chair will be required to collect 200 signatures from their peers, while candidates for all other positions will now only need 100, The Herald previously reported. Last year, all candidates needed to receive 200 signatures from registered undergraduate students in order to run.

“We just want to make it a little bit more open to anyone who might feel intimidated by having to get that many signatures,” Barry said.

The elections process includes an open-to-the-public debate between candidates for UCS President, UCS Vice President, UFB Chair and UFB Vice Chair March 17. It will be moderated by Vice President for Campus Life Eric Estes, the current UCS President Shanzé Tahir ’19, the current UFB Chair Lisa Schold ’19 and a representative from The Herald. Online voting for all undergraduate students will occur from March 19-21. The successful candidates will begin their term after the end of the spring semester.

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