Get Out the Vote
Voting for BU Student Union leaders ends Monday
The polls remain open for the Student Union election, but not for long. Undergraduates have until noon Monday, April 25, to cast their vote for next year’s executive board.
The election initially had three slates of candidates, but is now down to two: Rhettvolution and BuildBU. The third slate, Rhett Offensive, decided to withdraw from the race and publicly endorse BuildBU following a debate among the three on April 14. Rhett Offensive’s statement cited the similarity between its platform and BuildBU’s and not wanting to risk splitting votes between the two groups.
This year’s election has been heated. Earlier this week, the Student Election Commission, which oversees Student Union elections, asked current Student Union executive board members to stop endorsing the BuildBU slate. That move has sparked a great deal of controversy.
The Rhettvolution and BuildBU slates offer distinctive agendas. BU Today spoke with representatives from both organizations about their goals and platforms for the upcoming 2011–2012 school year.
The Rhettvolution slate, whose motto is “Every generation needs a revolution,” promises to promote empowering students, spurring dialogue, and breaking down the barriers that hinder progress.
“We want to increase the Student Union’s connection to the student body,” says Rhettvolution presidential candidate Demarius Walker (CAS’13). Walker believes that forging a closer relationship between students and the Student Union will give it more power to advocate for things like 24-hour study spaces, gender-neutral housing, a better medical amnesty policy, a real sustainability plan, and a socially responsible investment committee.
Rhettvolution promises to work to encourage student art by holding a variety of competitions, providing more practice spaces, and improving access to instruments.
Those on the slate also say that if elected they will more actively promote student groups and provide more student unity by improving lines of communication between the Student Union and the student body and creating enhanced dialogue between students and administrators.
Walker says that the most notable difference between his platform and BuildBU’s would be the composition of the Student Union itself. Rhettvolution proposes to expand the Student Union to include members of clubs and organizations on campus, ranging from artists and activists to members of Greek life and religious organizations.
“Our opponents actively oppose this idea, preferring to continue with a union that engages about 50 senators pretending to represent 16,000 students,” Walker says. “We want to expand the union to include more voices so that a wider range of students are included in the important conversations that are being had.”
Vice presidential candidate Matthew Bae (COM’12) says that central to the Rhettvolution platform is creating an ongoing dialogue between students and the administration.
“We truly believe that students and administration should have a mutual respect for each other and that once that is achieved, progress and change can finally come,” Bae says.
Check out Rhettvolution’s flash mob at the GSU here.
President: Demarius “DJ” Walker (CAS’13)
Vice president: Matthew Kevin Bae (COM’12)
Treasurer: Gabriel Rivas (SMG’12)
Secretary: Maria Sinatra (SMG’13)
BuildBUsays that its slate boasts the experience, dedication, leadership, andcontinuity to enable an effective Student Union. The slate’s fourmembers have 12 semesters of Student Union experience among them,experience they say will allow them to build on this year’s momentum.
As an example of the kind of effectiveness his team will provide,Male points to the recent success of two students on BuildBU’s slate—Jen DePiero (CAS’14) and Sophie Miller (CAS’14)—in getting Mugar Memorial Library to extend its 24-hour study period during finals by four days.
BuildBU wants to work with the administration on its One BU initiative, incorporating new aspects of community-building to bridge the gap between on- and off-campus students.
“One of the historic problems I’ve seen during my time in the union isthat there is a lack of continuity between executive boards eachyear—work gets repeated, initiatives are dropped,” says Howard Male(SHA’12, SMG’12), who is running for president. “BuildBU has no startuptime, because we’ve been intimately involved with various aspects ofthe union throughout the year.”
Additionally, Male says that the platform will fight to increase student voices in decision-making, create a 24/7 study space on campus—accessible to all undergraduates regardless of where they live—and make changes to create a more reliable BU Shuttle (BUS).
The slate advocates combining the Programming Council, Allocations Board, Residence Hall Associations, College Governments, and Student Union as one body, elected by students, not administrators. “Only then,” BuildBU argues, “can we stop the ‘divide and conquer’ method of squashing student voices.”
“BuildBU, as members of the current union, has fostered relationships with administrators and has opened two-way channels of communication to bring the student voice to decision-makers,” Male says. “We know that the best way to approach problems is to start the conversation with a tone of negotiation, with a problem-solving attitude.”
President: Howard Male (SHA’12, SMG ’12)
Vice president: Alex Staikos (SMG’14)
Treasurer: Jen DePiero (CAS’14))
Secretary: Sophie Miller (CAS’14)
Cast your vote here for the slate of your choice.
Tom Vellner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments