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APRIL 16, 2002
Sometimes I take humor seriously.
So who am I, and why am I qualified to represent you, the Class of 2005, in long, tedious, and boring meetings about such impressive school policy decisions as whether to sign a resolution calling for a halt to Mideast violence? That is the question you would ask, if you wanted to ask a question, were given an opportunity to, and decided to ask that one.
Sometimes I take seriousness humorously.
Either way it is irrelevant. - Malaclapse the Younger
My name is Danny Silverman, better known as Zeno, operator of Boogle, the most popular campus search tool, developer on myBrandeis, President of Mock Trial, founder of the Brandeis Discordian Society, and all around fun guy. Get this - someone who understands TECHNOLOGY and POLITICS! Weird, huh?
Brandeis has two dozen Senators who are dedicated to making this school a better place. For justice and for the safety of puppies and such. We hope. So, why am I different? In short, who cares who gets elected? Well, look through this list, and if any of this stuff makes a bit of sense, then you've perhaps found your guy:
(Yeah, unlike other candidates I actually have a platform. Its an amazing new idea called telling people what you stand for).
- Cut the Bull
I don't like long, tedious resolutions that disguise their true intent. I don't like pointless resolutions that don't resolve anything, but simply serve to make people feel warm and fuzzy. I don't like biased campaigns and half-truths (even when the issues are very valid, we don't have the right to use the same unfair propaganda practices as those with whom we disagree). I like the cold, hard truth, in an easy-to-understand way, accessible to all. The first goal of my platform is to increase transparancy.
- Cut Out the Middle Man
There is lots of interesting stuff that the Student Union is doing, you just don't know about it. They charter and decharter clubs. They shape school policy, including majors. They have a role in hiring and firing of professors. Yeah, the Union does a lot, but no one knows about it, so my goal is to put ALL UNION BUSINESS online using the myBrandeis portal system. This includes all union finances, decisions, resolutions, and the like. So you can know what YOUR government is doing in YOUR name. So let's put the "people" back in dem...uh....peopleocracy!
- It's the Community, Stupid!
Brandeis thrives when we have a rich public sphere in which to meet, greet, disuss, and shape social policy. But we're missing some important elements of this interaction. Luckily, fixes are not very difficult. Want to sell your used textbook to another student? Reimburse a friend for groceries? Support an on-campus band with a donation? WhoCash is a great program, but it should be substantially expanded. We need a WhoCash deposit station, where you can put in cash and make it WhoCash, and a WhoCash ATM, where you can withdraw money. You should be able to check your balances online, to buy and sell your stuff in WhoCash, and to use WhoCash throughout Waltham. All of this is possible, and its not incredibly expensive. So let's DO IT!
How does the Senate know what popular opinion is on issues? Well, we don't, not really. But again, look at our new community system, two years in the making: myBrandeis. Its a discussion board, a club center, a finance manager, a calendar, and, a great method for posting polls and surveys. To find out what YOU want. Okay, maybe I'm biased cause I work on it, but I say let's take advantage of it. It's there, it's free, let's use it! All senators should be on the message boards. All policy issues should have discussion threads. And this, combined with dorm raps, quad parties, social events, and the like will increase communication between YOUR Senate and you.
- Get Them the Darn Ambulance
BEMCo works their tail off making sure that we are safe on campus. They respond to emergencies over twice as fast as the normal paramedics, and they are all fully trained and qualified EMTs. So what are they missing? An ambulance. And one has been offered to BEMCo, but they've been forced to refuse because they do not have an adequate garage in which to house the vehicle. So let's build one. Cost of an ambulance: $120,000 (but we can get it FREE), cost of a specially equipped garage: $20,000. Cost of a human life: PRICELESS! There is no excuse for ignoring this great opportunity to expand BEMCo's reach and life-saving abilities. So let's go for it!
- The Student Activities Fee Needs To Change
Each school year, one percent of your tuition goes to something called the Student Activity Fee. Of this, a portion goes to the Union, a portion to Student Events, and chunks to six groups that fall under a special status called Secured Allocations Groups. So what is up with this SAG? I certainly agree that groups like WBRS, the Justice, and Waltham Group deserve money. However, with the current system there is no oversight. For instance, Archon (the yearbook) currently has over $115,000 in their bank account. This is money that they've gotten over the years and have not spent. With any other club, this money would roll back into the general pool, giving other people the opportunity to access it. But with SA groups, the money stays put and, worse, they have no obligation to report on what they are using the money for. This is your money. We immediately need an ad hoc committee to investigate the SAF, to educate the students about SA groups, and to recommend any needed changes. I admit that I do not know what changes would be best. I simply think that this important issue needs to be brought to light so that we, as a union, can all decide what the best course of action is. Maybe we'll want to keep SA groups as they are, maybe we'll want to reform the whole SAF system. But we won't know until we understand the system. Let's bring the SAF out of hiding!
This is just a small sampling of my platform.
But its all in the same veign - transparancy, openness, community building, and campus improvement. Some candidates like to talk about how cool they are, others like to talk about the things they hope to accomplish. Hopefully you find the contrast as important as I do. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions, comments, etc. Thanks for reading, and regardless of who you vote for, BE SURE TO VOTE.
Make your voice heard! Remember, I'm Danny "Zeno" Silverman for class of '05 senator.
(Danny Silverman - Weird, a guy who actually cares...)