Elections for the Binghamton University Council close Friday at 11:59 p.m. The Council is composed of ten members, nine of which are prominent business and community leaders selected by the New York state governor. The last member is an elected student representative. That student is intended to voice the concerns of the entire student body in discussions of issues that affect us all. Most notably, the Council discusses and votes upon the Code of Student Conduct, housing, student safety and campus construction projects.
Most students do not have the time or interest to understand the inner workings of University policy, but many of us have opinions about how these polices can be changed for the better. We all have a friend who suffered from a seemingly arbitrary student conduct procedure or unsuitable living situation. We see the ways University policy could become more student-friendly, but we lack the means of communicating these concerns directly. Furthermore, it’s difficult for a normal student to arrange a meeting with top administrators and be taken seriously. The BU Council Representative is a credible go-between because he or she has the endorsement of the larger student body through the electoral process.
It’s therefore important that the student BU Council Representative understands the concerns of students. It’s equally important that this representative can properly communicate these concerns to fellow Council members and the administration. Finally, it’s important that we vote today in order to ensure that the BU Council Representative shares our values and interests.
There are four candidates running for this position: Andrew Henry, Louis Meringolo, Ravi Prakriya and Sarah Glose.
Based on an understanding of the duties of the position, and the responses of the candidates, the Editorial Board examined the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate and decided to endorse Sarah Glose.
Andrew Henry, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, brings past experience to the table. Before transferring to BU, Henry served on the Board of Trustees at Finger Lakes Community College. In addition to his experience, Henry is passionate about changing University policy to better reflect the interests of students, but seems to understand little of what the BU Rep position entails. He spoke to us a lot about hiring decisions and tenure as well as approving capital projects. Most of these things, while they may have been up to the Board of Trustees at his last school, fall beyond the purview of the BU Council. While we commend his enthusiasm, he doesn’t seem to fully grasp the nature of the job for which he’s running.
Louis Meringolo, a junior majoring in management, understands little about the Council and has a platform with little substance. Though we were unable to speak to him in person, based on his vague responses to our emails, we do not think he would be suitable for the position. While he seems genuinely interested in improving students’ lives by trying to fix transportation and parking issues or helping graduate students have more of a voice on campus, his proposals were not specific or well laid out.
Ravi Prakriya, a junior majoring in finance, is charismatic, knowledgeable about the position and a good speaker. Because he is the vice president for finance (VPF) and highly involved with the Student Association, he’s in tune with what the student body wants from the administration. Furthermore, he’s studied and has suggestions for revising the Code of Student Conduct, which is under the jurisdiction of the council. He hasn’t shown a strong work ethic as VPF, but the commitment for this job is much smaller. Though we believe that Prakriya would be an effective representative based on these qualifications, we simply think Glose has an advantage that puts her ahead.
As a two-year board member on the Student Conduct Board, Glose, a student graduating after three years with a degree in English, is fluent in the Code’s contents. Most importantly, Glose will be entering an accelerated Masters in Public Administration program, meaning that, in fall 2014, she will be a matriculated graduate student. There are nearly 3,000 graduate students enrolled at Binghamton University, and yet their concerns are essentially forgotten to a representative who cannot easily understand them. Sarah is unique in that she is able to represent the interests of both the graduate and undergraduate constituencies. She has been heavily involved in undergraduate student affairs as well. She is the president of Taste Buds, a Resident Assistant and a student assistant for the BU Scholars Program. Due to Glose’s undergraduate involvement, unique understanding of graduate life and overall personable character, we believe that she is the most viable candidate for BU Council Representative.
You have a few hours left to vote, and it will take you only a minute or two to log onto B-Engaged and fill out your ballot. Even if you’re not voting for Glose, you owe it to your school and community to vote for someone. The president of the University has no choice but to sit with this person in a council meeting every few weeks and listen to what he or she has to say about our lives and concerns. It’s time to start paying attention to how the important decisions get made at this University, and it is time to start making them ourselves.