Student Union elects Adler and Nahra to speakerships
Junior Brian Adler and sophomore Alia Nahra were elected speakers of Senate and Treasury, respectively, in an internal Student Union election held Tuesday. They will preside in office until next semester’s elections in March.
In addition, committee chairs were elected as follows: sophomore Shelly Gupta to Treasury budget, sophomore Andrew Kocins to Treasury activities, sophomore Jeff Berkowitz to Senate projects, sophomore Olivia Williams to Senate outreach and junior Joey Vettiankal to Senate resolutions.
The internal election process is organized such that junior Tess Mandoli, vice president of administration, oversees the initial election process by asking for nominations for each position. Nominees then either accept or reject their nominations, and those who accept have five minutes of presentation time with an additional five minutes for questions. Other nominations for that position are required to leave the room during this time. Once the speaker of the body is elected, that individual runs the rest of the election process.
Most nominations are for candidates who are already running in the election; however, in Tuesday night’s election, a write-in candidate—Berkowitz—won the position of projects committee chair.
According to Adler, the write-in was unanticipated.
“He wasn’t necessarily planning on running,” Adler said, “Usually, you have a lot of prepared statements, and everybody knows what’s going to happen going in. So, it was just more interesting and surprising than most internal elections I’ve been a part of, and I’ve been a part of a lot.”
Speakers represent the Senate and Treasury in SU Exec meetings, have votes in SU Exec meetings and oversee the chairs of their individual bodies. Their most tangible function is in Senate or Treasury meeting where they conduct conversation, have agenda setting power and mediate conflicts.
As newly elected speaker of the senate, Adler believes that SU should be more involved with the student body, and he hopes to make the body more accessible to the public and respond more quickly to events.
“I know that there was a lot of frustration last term, and rightfully so, when we respond late to things like the Stockley verdict or other national or local events that really involve the student body,” Adler said. “one of my main goals is to make us all more accessible and more aware of things going on around us and not only reacting to them but anticipating that things are coming.”
In addition to this, Adler plans to use his role in Senate to shed more light on issues he cares about.
“I am extremely passionate about mental health and also sexual violence prevention,” Adler said. “Being the speaker allows me to help prioritize these, help provide oversight to both these initiatives.”
Newly elected Treasury activities committee chair Kochins believes that his position could benefit from working with the budget committee to help student groups better understand SU resources.
“I am hoping to grow us a little bit more into a role of being a resource for student groups because a lot of the times student groups are a little confused with how to use SU resources or how to best use SU, and I think that’s something that we and the budget committee can really [work on],” Kochins said.
Adler believes that he will work well with the other elected chairs and Nahra as they are working towards a common goal.
“They actually share a similar vision that I do, and we have the same sort of goals for making senate a more issue-based body, and responding more quickly to events and making sure that we are initiative-focused,” Adler said.
With new senators recently elected, Adler anticipates an exciting term.
“I am looking forward to seeing where we are later in the semester,” Adler said. “We have a lot of new senators, especially first-years, and it will be exciting to see the projects that they take [and] the leadership roles that they serve in.”
Additional reporting by Sam Seekings.