UGBC Senate Candidates Release Platforms Ahead of Thursday Election, Not All Seats Will Be Filled
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UGBC Senate Candidates Release Platforms Ahead of Thursday Election, Not All Seats Will Be Filled

Elections for the Undergraduate Government of Boston College’s Senate, previously known as the Student Assembly (SA), will be held on Thursday. While the elections for the Class of 2022 representatives, transfer student representative, and international student representative will be contested, the candidates for the Class of 2021 representatives will be running unopposed, and there are not enough candidates to fill all five Class of 2020 and at-large seats, according to documents released to The Heights by the UGBC Elections Committee (EC).

The remaining seats will be filled during special elections in September, which will take place at the same time incoming freshmen will run for office, according to the EC. As a part of restructuring measures passed by the Senate last week, the SA was renamed the Senate, according to Reed Piercey, president of UGBC and MCAS ’19.

In addition, UGBC president-elect and executive vice president-elect Michael Osaghae, MCAS ’20, and Tiffany Brooks, MCAS ’21, announced which students will fill a number of cabinet positions for the upcoming academic year at a Council for Students with Disabilities town hall held Sunday night.

Maddy McCullough, MCAS ’20, will serve as their chief of staff. Victoria Ang, MCAS ’20, will be the director of the AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC), and Cynthia Gonzalez, MCAS ’20, will take over as the director of the Undergraduate Leadership Academy (ULA). Alexis Sabbaghian, MCAS ’20, will be the director of communications, Lauren Schadt, MCAS ’20, will be the director of student initiatives, and Wendy Wang, CSOM ’20, will serve as director of finance.

Amaka Nnaeto, MCAS ’20, has already been selected as Osaghae and Brooks’ director of diversity and inclusion. Each of these positions used to be known as “vice presidents” of UGBC, but their titles have been renamed ahead of the 2019-20 academic year.

The two contested elections will be for the transfer student seat in the assembly and the international student seat, according to the EC.

Joseph Corsi, Lynch ’20, and Quinn O’Connor, MCAS ’21, are running for the sole transfer student seat.

Corsi plans to “facilitate discussions that address inclusivity and highlight additional efforts to integrate transfer students,” in order to make the adjustment to BC more manageable, according to his campaign platform released as part of the documents. He said he’s also hoping to adjust University policies regarding transfer students, with an emphasis on housing.

O’Connor likened the treatment of transfer students in the housing process to that of “second-class” citizens in her campaign platform. She said she would prioritize promoting programs that can ease transfer students’ transition into the BC community.

The race for the international students’ seat is between Anze Podlogar, MCAS ’22, and Jana Shakhashir, MCAS ’20, according to the EC.

Podlogar said in his campaign platform that he hopes to work with the International Assistant Program and encourage it to engage with the AHANA+ and GLBTQ+ communities. He’s also planning on promoting more non-Western art performances, speakers, and experts on campus to “boost cultural education.”

Shakhashir’s platform calls for increased investment with the International Outreach Program and the International Assistant Program. She said she plans to work on creating a more cohesive international student population, which she said often splits up into subgroups.

She also highlighted the visa restrictions that prevent international students from finding internships through the Career Center, which she said she believes is pushing potential applicants away.

Three fewer candidates than necessary are running to fill the five at-large seats in the Senate. Aidan Mallon, MCAS ’22, is running alone, while Laura Perrault, MCAS ’21, and John Gehman, MCAS ’21, are running as a team, according to the EC—both will be studying abroad next year and will serve as an at-large senator for the semester they are at BC.

Only four candidates are running for the five Class of 2020 seats: Alex Eishingdrelo, Mengru “Crystal” Pu, Ashley Stauber, and Michael Zuppone, according to the EC. Each candidate hails from the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences with the exception of Pu—a Lynch School of Education and Human Development student.

There are five sophomore candidates or teams of candidates running for the five allotted Class of 2021 seats, according to the EC. Six students who are studying abroad next year have paired off into three teams, each intending to hold the position for one semester: They are Alejandro Perez and Kate Canavan, Dorothy Nugent and Grace Hewitt, and Salvador Norton de Matos and Czar Sepe, all MCAS. Matthew Holcomb, CSOM, and Michael Lange, MCAS, are running by themselves.

Eight candidates—Kevork Atinizian, Douglas Baker, John Bracher, Ashton Carroll, Brendan Coccio, Leonardo Escobar, and Gabriel Oliss, all MCAS—are running for the five Class of 2022 seats in the SA, according to the EC.

Baker and Escobar are running to retain their seats, while all other candidates are newcomers.

Atinizian’s campaign focuses on affordability issues, promising to advocate for students who struggle to afford extracurricular activities such as retreats, according to his campaign platform. He said he would prioritize coordinating “with members of the administration and financial services to make education and the remarkable opportunities that Boston College has to offer available to all.”

Baker said he intends to improve the living situation for Newton residents by increasing service to bus stops on Newton and Main Campus, according to his campaign platform. He also expressed interest in making BC “a level playing field” and being clear in his decision making.

Bracher’s campaign platform said that UGBC is perceived as “an exclusive and unimportant organization.” In response, he plans to introduce an ambassador program that will give organizations on campus “direct advocacy” with UGBC.

Carroll said she plans to work with BC Dining to add more inclusive dining options for students with dietary or religious restrictions, according to her campaign platform. She explained that she is interested in working on environmental issues and advancing campus dialogue by hosting meetings with students and administrators.

Coccio noted he intends to promote diversity on campus by “increasing funding and awareness towards cultural and health (mental, physical, spiritual) programs,” per his campaign platform. Like Carroll, Coccio committed to supporting issues regarding the environment and sustainability.

Escobar did not discuss his intentions in his campaign platform, but he acknowledged that he has found his year on UGBC to be “rewarding” and that he has formed connections within UGBC and the AHANA+ community.

Oliss explained in his campaign platform that he will work to make students “feel valued in our community and welcome to all the events.” He said that he would also like to refine the events calendar, so that it is more clear about events’ times, locations, and intended audiences.

Featured image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff

April 8, 2019
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