Student Senate Elections are Upon us: Know Your Candidates
Printed below are the candidate statements for the Spring Student Senate Elections. Voting ends at 6 p.m. today if enough ballots have been cast to decide which of these eighteen nominees will snag the six open seats — a quorum of 20% of the student body is needed. If you have yet to make your final decision, we hope these statements will put your mind at ease before the deadline dawns. Note that some have been ever-so-slightly abridged for space.
Matt Adler — Of all the student senators that were newly elected a year ago in Spring 2005 I am the only one running again. I feel there is a lot left for me to accomplish. A short list of my aspirations include the creation of a student committee (hopefully alumni-funded) that will help students cover expenses of unpaid internships; the creation of a policy to help students with financial need pay for health insurance without making it mandatory for all other students; and the expansion of student involvement on faculty committees like student financial aid and admissions. Hopefully the fact that I am endorsed by current senators Lindsay Baruffa, Colin Jones, Matthew Kaplan, Brendan Morris, Anthony Osei, and Ezra Temko will assure you of my ability to be a good student representative and to fulfilling these goals.
Jessica Barber — No statement available.
Mary Liz Critchlow — Hi, I’m Mary Liz. I hail from Brooklyn, NY. Over the past two and half years that I’ve spent in Oberlin I have been involved in OSCA (shout out to Pyle Inn), WOBC, Student Union Program Board, ResLife, The Cat in the Cream, writing horoscopes for the Review, and this semester I’m co-teaching The Strangers with Candy Exco. Additionally, I’m not shy about talking to the administration. Last semester my WOBC co-host and I brought Nancy Dye on our radio show to answer questions regarding her favorite Disney Movie and hair stylist. I enjoy working closely with other students, and I feel that it’s important for us all to work together to make our college experience the best it can be.
Katherine Gluck — If elected a member of our student senate, I will do my best to contribute my diverse perspectives of student life, developed through my experiences as a double degree student and a member of the track team. At Oberlin, we pursue diverse interests and passions, creating an atmosphere that makes our institution unique. I will work to negotiate this variety while also increasing the face to face contact the senate has with the student body. The senate could, for example, initiate a school wide community service challenge, an activity that would unify the student body while also working toward a common goal. With these ideas, I hope to create a stronger sense of school pride while also facilitating a more effective agenda for the student senate. Vote for me!
Janine Heiser — I will be diligent in working for you and other various groups of students at Oberlin. You should vote for me because you probably know me in one way or another; you may not know the other candidates that are on the student senate ballot.
Callum Ingram — When transferring to Oberlin, I had little faith in a student’s ability to affect college policy. I had seen what happens when a school’s economic, social and academic decisions are made behind doors closed by secrecy and red tape. Coming from that environment, I was surprised and relieved to see the role students can and do play on this campus. Thus, in the past year and a half, I have worked with the Sweatshop-Free Purchasing Committee to keep unethical products off our campus, the Bike Co-op to help keep your gears greased, and the Student Labor Action Coalition and Oberlin Peace Activist League to show that Oberlin has not forgotten its ability and obligation to affect greater social change. Beyond continuing to build Oberlin’s reputation as a model community, I hope to make this legend a reality by seeking answers and accountability from the senate and administrators of our college.
Matthew A. Kaplan —
Evan “Bear” Kittay — Hi, I’m Bear. I’m a junior and have just returned from studying and traveling in Argentina last semester. Before going abroad, I served as President of my class. Last year I helped run Program-Board, ’SCO, and Folk-Committee and was an integral part of bringing Bela Fleck, The Slip, Talib Kweli and several other orgasmic performances to this campus. I’d like to expand this precedent of bringing fantastic events to Oberlin. I feel that what I have to offer are characteristics unique amongst the types who usually assume positions of power here. I am extremely committed to Oberlin and its dream: a one-of-a-kind fiesta of understanding in this ever-changing world. Oberlin can be bettered if we put our minds and hearts together and allow brightness to defeat the cynicism that creeps its way onto our campus in the cold of winter. I want to bring people together and celebrate this Oberlin Community that has inspired us all!!!
Benjamin Klebanoff — There are things Oberlin could do to make life more manageable. Take for example, bureaucracy. It takes five people to turn down a thermostat, two separate forms to allocate funds for an event the college knows will occur, and formal meetings to try to bring back a service Oberlin used to supply. This is ridiculous; I will work to reduce the amount of bureaucracy at Oberlin. Furthermore, the lack of communication between the administration/bureaucracy and the student body is troublesome. Residential Education is supposedly the organization responsible for maintaining a safe living environment. Yet a school-wide protest was needed to motivate them to remove a puddle of raw sewage from the common space of a residence hall. This is ridiculous, if not outrageous. If elected to Student Senate, I will work to reduce bureaucracy and increase communication. Thank you for your time, and best of luck to my fellow candidates.
Colin Koffel — I am proud of Oberlin’s progressive reputation but the college is not yet fulfilling its potential. I want Oberlin to be a leader in sustainability. Ecologically, Oberlin must commit itself to environmentally-friendly LEED standards. As our world faces devastating environmental problems, conservation and preservation must emerge as overriding goals. Economically, Oberlin’s financial management must be sound, ensuring its commitment to students, academics, and employees. I want Oberlin to be a leader in the arts. We must provide students with rehearsal, exhibition, and performance space worthy of the talent and effort of our artists, actors, directors, performers, and techies. I want Oberlin to be a leader in diversity of socioeconomic status, race, and nationality. I want Oberlin to be a leader in engaging and helping its broader community. The potential to be better, more diverse, and transparent exists in Oberlin. As a student senator, I will aggressively pursue these goals.
Molly Lidz — Right now, Oberlin’s administrators are attempting to keep its core intact while making it financially viable and attracting students. In the midst of its building projects, restructurings, teaching position cuts, decisions about the curriculum, and major environmental needs, I hope to help Oberlin avoid a path of academically conservative homogeneity. I’d like to advocate for LEEDS environmental standards in any new housing or academic buildings and examine ways to make Oberlin more sustainable. Also, I feel strongly that students and community members require greater financial and governmental transparency. I wish to assist in making information more available by researching and compiling educational materials, and by promoting a more open budget. As a senator, I’d work to support students in advocacy and enhance our role in decision-making at Oberlin.
Alex Muchnick — My name is Alex Muchnick and I want to be your Student Senator. This semester I have been co-chair for OFS, one of the most active student organizations on campus. This has provided me with valuable experience working with the college bureaucracy. Additionally, having worked for Illinois Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, I have real-world knowledge of the time and research it takes to make informed policy decisions. I am running for Student Senate because it has squandered opportunities to increase student awareness and involvement in decisions that affect students’ lives. As Senator Marshall Duer-Balkind wrote in the Review last week, “when Senate only talks to itself, it ends up only representing itself.”
Andrew Pike — Andrew Pike. Easy going, easily accessible, just plain easy.
Joshua Rood-Ojalvo — Why vote Josh? Well, first, I am not just your typical Politics major running for Senate. Well, I am a Politics major and I am running. However, I don’t care about Student Senate. Honestly. What I care about is student rights and student action. I want to give students a voice, but also see our visions manifest themselves. I want to make forums, referendums, and student opinion have a real impact in tangibly shaping college policy. I think Senate should be less about internal process, bureaucracy, and status and more about doing good hard work to make a real difference. Let’s ensure Phase II is environmentally sustainable, that the conservatory has later practice room hours, that faculty reductions are made with student interests at heart, that our dining experience is a good one. If elected, I believe I can live up to and perhaps surpass your expectations.
Seth Schneer — I think being on the senate would be a wonderful opportunity to learn how the school works and to give back to the student community. It’s important to me that the senate spends more time working on issues that the students really care about and I would like to be a part of that. The biggest issue for me is the health insurance problem. Last semester I was supposed to work on senate-created health committee only to find out that the senate never had a final vote to create the committee. Other than that, I’m concerned with student privacy rights and other issues like town-gown relations and 24 hour computer labs. I’m a member of the Oberlin ACLU, OhioPIRG, and OSCA.
Kantara Souffrant — My mission is simple: to provide a voice for the communities that I feel are consistently underrepresented within Student Senate, and therefore the student body that Senate represents. I respect the power of Student Senate as unit of student activism, and the premise under which it was established, to “advocate for the interest of the student body as a whole to the Oberlin administration and faculty.” However, how can the Senate speak for the student body as a whole when it as a whole has not sufficiently tackled the issues pertaining to communities of color, LBTQ students, women and students from low-income households? I will not be a token voice, but medium through which these communities can be made audible. I guarantee an unwillingness to let the issues that affect marginalized students to go unnoticed, and a commitment to remaining an accessible tool for all members of the Oberlin community.
John Weil — I am currently a junior in the East Asian studies
program (Japanese concentration). My earlier duties as a leader in the community
include having taught two ExCos and having served as President of Asia House
dormitory for two years. I intend to bring greater transparency to college
proceedings and as well, to foster a greater sense of faith in the works of the