NYU’s student government is making efforts to increase diversity through their Alternate Senator at-Large applications, which are due Monday.
The Student Senators Council is the largest body within the Student Government Assembly, made up of 23 school senators and 14 Senators at-Large. Unique to NYU, the Senators at-Large system allows for underrepresented groups to have a voice — each Senator at-Large represents a minority group such as LGBTQ students or students experiencing homelessness. There are also alternates for each Senator at-Large, who can represent different communities — still with a focus on underrepresented groups. Alternate Senators at-Large are not voting members, but they attend meetings and can use their positions to further their constituencies’ interests.
For example, current SSC Chairperson and Gallatin senior Jakiyah Bradley was formerly an Alternate Senator at-Large for students experiencing food insecurity. Bradley was able to speak with administrators to improve and further publicize the Courtesy Meals Program — which provides food-insecure students with 75 Dining Dollars, no questions asked, among other things.
This year, SSC Vice Chairperson and CAS senior Kosar Kosar said he hopes to increase diversity among alternate senators, mentioning Latine students and black women as two groups the SSC is looking to see represented.
“We have all these different communities that we see absent from student government,” Kosar said. “My biggest role as the Vice Chair of Student Senators Council [is] bringing as many voices as I can to the table.”
The SSC has reached out to various NYU clubs and organizations that represent minority groups — such as the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, the LGBTQ+ Center and the Governance Council of Minority and Marginalized Students — to send out the alternate senator application.
CAS junior Nicky Nenkov is applying to represent transgender and gender non-conforming students.
“I want to represent [transgender] and gender non-conforming students […] because there’s no one representing them, plain as that,” Nenkov said. “[I want to] raise awareness and some policy changes on the way pronouns and legal names are represented in the system.”
Applicant and Stern senior Nicole Reed wants to represent students with disabilities in NYU residential life and said she would help the community by increasing their awareness of resources.
“I would want to increase collaboration between NYU’s different departments, specifically between the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities and the Student Health Center,” Reed said. “So we can create programs and make students aware of the resources available to them.”
CAS junior Chris Sinsheimer said he wants to represent students struggling with mental health issues so as to represent a more specific group within the community of students with disabilities — which already has representatives in student government.
“Currently, SGA does a great job representing students with disabilities,” Sinsheimer said. “But students with mental health issues have unique, distinct needs which do need specific representation.”
Applications are due Monday, after which School Senators will vote to decide who will assume the 14 available positions.
Email Ishaan Parmar and Victor Porcelli at [email protected]