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Get Out the Vote

Voting for BU Student Union leaders ends Monday

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rhettvolution_buildbu_h.jpg

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.

Rhettvolution ticket:
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.”

BuildBU ticket:
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 tvellner@bu.edu.

6 Comments

6 Comments on Get Out the Vote

  • Anonymous on 04.22.2011 at 9:26 am

    Let's not vote for Marxists!

    Does anyone else know why Rhettvolution’s symbol is Rhett with a very distinctive hat? Some people I’ve talked to don’t notice it at first.

    This is the symbol of Che Guevara, a marxist revolutionary who was a ” ruthless executioner” and his contemporary followers “delude themselves by clinging to a myth”, while actually Guevara was a “Marxist Puritan operating as a cold-blooded killing machine.”

    So Rhettvolution, let me ask you this: you choose a man who is one of the most controversial and demented revolutionists who has negative connotations with all people of Latin America, and you thought this was a good idea when? Where i’m from, if you had had the audacity to put this picture as a symbol of your campaign, you would have been either laughed out of the school or people would have shouted from the rooftops against you.

    terrible choice, but a very special thank you for assuring me that BuildBU is a better choice.

    • ¡Viva Revolucion! on 05.21.2012 at 10:44 am

      …and what planet are you from? Florida? Which history are you reading? I’d suggest getting off the wingnut websites and cracking a book. Ernesto Guevara was a philosopher and humanitarian and in all capacities, a nobler human being than his overzealous capitalist detractors or the butchers who carved up Latin America.

      As for Marx, have you read him? Did you know he was a poet who wrote on love? I would start with the Economic and Philosophic manuscripts of 1844, where you’ll find that he espouses *exactly* the same principles as liberalism—freedom and equality—while proposing a more humane economic and “political” system…and without advocating the violence that historical communism has come to associate with his thought.

      How do you feel about Martin Luther King? Would you feel differently if he identified with either of these men’s revolutionary tendencies? More immediately, do you know anything about the individuals running under this banner, Rhettvolution, or are you content run GOP-style smear ads about the opposition’s links of socialism? If we can’t have it nationally, can we at least have substance over symbols, deceptions, and reactionary caricature in our elections?? Examine the words, not outward signs, you pharisee!

  • Anonymous on 04.22.2011 at 9:45 am

    BuildBU

  • David on 04.22.2011 at 1:25 pm

    "Let's not vote for Marxists!"

    Marxism is the light, you reactionary. Way to smear a logo that’s become so ubiquitous that it has lost all meaning, despite the fact that Che was someone who fought for self determinaton in latin america as opposed to say your american president who is responsible for the deaths of thousands.

  • Anonymous on 04.22.2011 at 1:26 pm

    I understand that BuildBU is a continuation of the current Student Union but the current Student Union hasn’t done much, now has it? I’ve talked to people about the Student Union and they have no idea what the organization does.

  • Anonymous on 04.25.2011 at 4:30 pm

    Person who quoted "Let's not vote for Marxists!"

    I, the author of the first comment, am of Latin American descent and I find the idolized view of Che as morally repugnant and insulting. Yeah, I see the pictures of him plastered on the walls or cars of the lower class in Latin America who identify with his challenge of the establishment, but to side with them is foolhardy.

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