Mike Brown elected 2017-18 UB Council student representative
Current SA Assembly speaker to serve as UB Council student representative
As UB Council student representative, Mike Brown doesn’t just want to advocate for students, he wants to advocate with them.
“[An] overarching goal is bringing more people into the fold of fighting for change because frankly I can’t do it alone, I need to work with others and ultimately what I’ll be trying to accomplish – to work with others and bring more student advocates to the table,” Brown said.
Brown, a sophomore political science and computer science major, has been elected UB Council student representative for the 2017-18 school year.
UB Council serves as the primary oversight and advisory body to the university, president and senior officers. Elections took place online on UBLinked from April 25 to April 27 from 12 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Brown received 318 votes. His opponent, Paul Ostrer, a second year law student, received 161 votes. Eighteen voters abstained.
Brown said he is “honored” to serve 30,000 students as their representative and thankful for all the support everyone has given him.
Brown believes his experience as SA Assembly speaker and an Orientation Leader make him a good fit for UB Council student representative.
“As SA Assembly speaker in the past year, I’ve advocated a lot in terms of student issues on campus and we’ve actually been able to turn that advocacy into results,” Brown said.
Brown feels working as an Orientation Leader helped him connect with the student experience. He believes understanding the student experience is an important part of being UB Council student representative.
“I’ve gone out of my way to talk with my fellow students about the issues we face on campus and what we can push for to try to address those issues,” Brown said.
Brown feels holding the election online made it easier for students to vote. He doesn’t think holding the election online makes much of a difference in terms of voter turnout.
He feels the low voter turnout for this election was due to the lack of visibility of the UB Council student representative. Even students in the Student Association do not know the position, Brown said.
Brown has several goals he hopes to achieve as UB Council student representative.
He said the biggest objective is making the university more transparent with an open data policy. He wants the university to follow the lead of all levels of the government that have been adopting open data policies and making their public information publically accessible rather than having to go through “lots of red tape.”
“Specifically for the students that would mean seeing exactly how and where their money is being spent,” Brown said.
He cited the city of Buffalo’s Open Book Buffalo website as an example of an open data policy that UB should model. The website provides the city’s budget breakdown down to the original vendor payments according to Brown, who is currently working with the city on the open data plan.
As UB Council student representative, Mike Brown’s looks to focus on transparency and advocacy for students through Campus Dining & Shops and Campus Living. Brown looks to address meal plan time gaps, facility hours and meal plan values.
SA Assembly has been negotiating with CDS about meal plan time gaps throughout the semester. They passed a resolution and circulated a petition advocating for the removal of these time gaps. As UB Council student representative, he specifically hopes to remove lunch to dinner meal gap.
Brown also plans to continue asking UB Foundation to divest from fossil fuels and also wants to address UB’s Breathe-Free campaign.
Dr. Philip Glick, Faculty Senate chair, said smoking is a “very challenging” problem to address, according to Brown. Brown feels the best way to address smoking on campus is through “affirmative intervention.” Smoking is especially a problem in and around Baldy Hall because the childcare center is located there, he said.
Brown also looks to improve safety on South Campus. He wants to implement a blue light system and work to improve Greek life organizations’ relationship with police by “starting a conversation, making connections and fostering respect.”
Maddy Fowler is the assistant news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.