Student Senators at-Large, whose constituencies make up underrepresented communities of students, met on Monday with those who hope to take their places in the fall.
More than 20 candidates mingled with current senators at the second of two meet-and-greets held in the Colloquium Room of the Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life, the same place where Student Senators Council, the Student Government Assembly and the University Senate have their meetings. Aspiring Senators at-Large were required to attend one of the two meet-and-greets as part of the application process. Senators at-Large and School Senators make up the SGA, with Senators at-Large representing specific communities such as students of color, LGBTQ students and Muslim students.
School senators are elected by students in their respective schools while Senators at-Large are elected by sitting senators. SGA as a body has the power to pass resolutions that impact NYU policies if passed in the University Senate — which is made up of university staff and administrators as well — and approved by the Board of Trustees. Resolutions passed by SGA range from letters of support, such as the recent one in support of adding days off for Jewish holidays, to a policy that would have NYU divest from companies complicit in human rights violations, which still needs to be presented in the University Senate.
GLS sophomore Raj Kittusamy is a school senator for Liberal Studies and wants to apply for a Senator at-Large position representing study away students. After being abroad for his first year, Kittusamy noticed the obstacles students face at NYU’s global sites.
“Being abroad might bring on a feeling of isolation or just the fact that you’re away from your degree-granting site,” Kittusamy said. “If we were to just open more facets of communication between the degree-granting campuses and study away sites, that can make you feel a lot less alone.”
Senior and School Senator for Steinhardt Steven Ramdilal said he encourages first-years and sophomores to apply.
“I think they bring new energy, new life, and new ideas,” Ramdilal said. “When you don’t have experience, it’s about how much tenacity you have.”
The application deadline for the position is Thursday and elections occur one week later during an SGA meeting. Current senators vote to decide who will fill the positions. If an applicant is not selected, they would have a chance to become an Alternate Senator-at-Large. Alternate senators do not normally have voting power, but can sit in on meetings.
Gallatin junior Victor Markhoff is a current Senator at-Large representing the LGBTQ community, low-income students and students experiencing homelessness. Markhoff is reapplying for his position and said that his experience not only serves as an advantage in the application process but also as a resource to the SSC.
“I am very familiar with the structures of the university,” Markhoff said. “I know certain people within the university hierarchy, but there’s also the power of institutional knowledge. In a year where many members of SGA are graduating, it’s important to get that knowledge through.”
Email Alexandria Johnson at [email protected]