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Editorial: Srinivasan ’15 and Gourley ’16 for Brown

Today marks the beginning of Undergraduate Council of Students and Undergraduate Finance Board elections, and above any single endorsement, we would very much like to emphasize that all candidates would make great leaders. We seek to inform the student body of the positive qualities of each.

For UCS president, we are thrilled to endorse Maahika Srinivasan ’15. Srinivasan currently serves as chair of the UCS Academic and Administrative Affairs Committee, experience we believe would be integral to her goal of improving the advising system. In both the debate and an interview with The Herald’s editorial page board, she chose to emphasize improving the advising system through measures like comprehensive institutional review, working on expanding mental health resources, enacting policy change through the Code of Student Conduct review and bringing diverse perspectives to the table at UCS. She also emphasized maintaining the relationships she has already developed with administrators involved in effecting such changes. Srinivasan stands out as the candidate with the most concrete goals and experience for implementing change across the board.

All the presidential candidates were personable and professional, favored student representation on the Corporation and believed transparency in UCS to be a key issue in the upcoming year. Asia Nelson ’15 in particular had an outstanding idea for increasing student input through social media with the “Brown See It Say It” hashtag. She stood out among the other candidates as being involved with a great variety of student groups on campus, including but far from limited to the Black Student Union and Brown University Women in Business. Jonathan Vu ’15 is the candidate most interested in working on institutional changes in, for example, dining services and advising. He cited informative conversations with medical and graduate students about advising undergrads. His most notable campaign platform was improving financial aid and becoming fully need-blind, though we are unconvinced the UCS president has a great deal of power in this regard.

For UCS vice president, we endorse Sazzy Gourley ’16. While Gourley’s performance in the debate was decidedly underwhelming, he won us over in an interview with his campaign for student wellness, which involves fostering relationships to create peer support groups outside professional mental health services and expanding sexual assault training to student athletes. Gourley further emphasized the need for UCS to actively seek out student voices that may not be as loud as others, citing his recent meeting with the student veteran community. He has played an integral role in moving projects forward through UCS, such as implementing a campus-wide bike share program. Gourley believes his project-oriented experience will allow him to be an effective vice president, since the position largely involves assisting students and committees with advancing such projects. Alex Drechsler ’15 serves as the chair of Student Activities and emphasizes student representation on the Corporation, service group funding and active engagement with the Minority Peer Counselor and Women Peer Counselor programs. His enthusiasm for student voice in representation is heartening, and we are confident Drechsler would consistently value student opinion over his own. We appreciate Drechsler’s emphasis on student representation on the Corporation, but we feel that UCS will address this issue in any event, given that all three presidential candidates enthusiastically endorse this effort.

Both the UFB chair and vice chair positions are uncontested. For UFB chair, we endorse Alex Sherry ’15, who seeks to improve communication with groups by, for example, creating a handout that includes basic questions groups will be asked. For UFB vice chair, we endorse Dakotah Rice ’16, an enthusiastic candidate who values increasing student understanding of the UFB process.

We would like to stress once again that this year included a particularly strong pool of candidates and that any of these candidates would make outstanding leaders. We recommend that voters carefully review candidate platforms online to see what issues the candidates will emphasize most in the upcoming academic year.

 

Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board: its editors, Matt Brundage ’15 and Rachel Occhiogrosso ’14, and its members, Hannah Loewentheil ’14 and Thomas Nath ’16. Send comments to editorials@browndailyherald.com.



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