USG Elections Continue With Most Candidates Unopposed
Kimberly Devi Milner
Associate News Editor
Additional reporting by
Editor in Cheif
Voting for Hunter College’s Undergraduate Student Elections began earlier this week and will come to a close on Friday, April 27 at 11:59 p.m., determining the new Undergraduate Student Government representatives for the 2012 to 2013 academic year. All candidates are running unopposed except for the positions of Undergraduate Student Government President, Evening Affairs Commissioner, and junior senators.
Undergraduate Student Government (USG) currently consists of one political party, A Better Community for a United Hunter, which is the party of a majority of candidates. This year’s candidates for president are Benedict Josen running under A Better Community for a United Hunter, and independents Matthew Evanusa and Vincent Avigdor.
Other positions on the ballot include vice president, finance commissioner, student welfare and academic affairs commissioner, Brookdale commissioner, cultural affairs and Student Activities commissioner, evening affairs commissioner, College Association members (who review the budgets for organizations supported by student activity fees), Auxiliary Enterprise Corporation members (who approve contracts on campus businesses), Faculty Student Disciplinary Committee members and senatorial seats.
In addition to being available to hear student concerns, Hunter USG’s responsibilities include organizing cultural and community themed events, and allocating $650,000 for student services. The funds are distributed between student clubs, the USG, the Student Resource Center, Brookdale Residence Hall and emergency reserves, according to Hunter’s Student Services website. USG representatives are required to attend committee meetings regularly and have scheduled times to meet students in the USG office.
Presidential duties are largely administrative and require the president to work in tandem with administration, student clubs and the College Association and oversee every aspect of the USG.
Most students run their election campaign with the slated party or independently because forming another party requires “students to get together and form a slate,” said Teneia Wooten, assistant director of Student Activities and Leadership Development. It is suggested that prospective parties have at least 15 students to form a slate and party line and “at least have a full executive board along with students who are running for senate or committee positions [from the same party],” Wooten said.
“There used to be political drama [at Hunter College]” said Nicole White, who attended the college in 2004 and remembered when the USG had dueling parties. “There were scandals — but it felt nice to have people fighting over you,” said the alumna who double majored in Film and Sociology.
Matthew Evanusa, an independent, is running for USG President and said that if elected he will ensure that the USG organizes events that attract many students and waste little money. Evanusa founded the Chamber Music Society at Hunter College and has worked closely with administration creating the controversial CUNY initiative named Pathways that will unify General Education Requirements throughout CUNY institutions by Fall of 2013.
Vincent Avigdor, president of the Hunter’s Psychology Club, is also running for President. While Avigdor has never held a formal role in USG, he “believes there is an unharnessed potential for Hunter to be fun and dynamic.” If elected, he pledges to focus on re-organizing bulletin boards, and work with clubs to devise ad campaigns.
Benedict Josen, running for USG president under A Better Hunter for a United Hunter, has been active in USG since his arrival to Hunter College “to make a positive difference,” working to organize AIDS week and blood drives. Josen became senate chair his sophomore year. Although he believes that as president he needs to “empower all initiatives” Josen particularly wants to create a clubs council and improve student facilities like the fitness center and library by making stronger associations with Hunter directors.
Campaigning will continue in Hunter West’s third floor until the end of the week, however many students feel disconnected from the student government and its representatives.
“People know of USG, not the people in it, unless they’re forced to work with them because they hold administrative positions in clubs,” said junior Scott White. “They need to make themselves more public.”
Students can learn more about this year’s USG candidates at www.campus- vote.com/elections/univ/hunter/bios. Balloting is electronic and allows voters to write in optional candidates.