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Thursday, August 11, 2022
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Club Endorsement Meetings Finally Cool as Election Heats Up

In contrast with the heated arguments and intense conflicts that have characterized this year's Student Association club endorsement meetings, the atmosphere at the People of Color Council endorsement meeting Thursday evening was subdued. Barely any questions were posed to the incumbent Results Party, while the UB Students' Party made their strongest appearance yet.

Jason Litwak, the presidential candidate for the UB Students' Party, faced the most arduous inquisition.

Audience members asked Litwak about his support of collaborative events between SA and Greek organizations, his promise to bring a bar on campus and his criticisms of Visions and the alleged lack of condom distribution by this year's SA.

Litwak said SA and Greek organizations could be "good partners" in benefiting both UB and its home cities of Buffalo and Amherst. By coordinating Greek events on campus, he hopes to alleviate negative connotations associated with Greek life.

"There's a stigma associated with Greek organizations," said Litwak. "My idea was to let them have events on campus . (so) they can show people that they have the wrong idea about the Greeks."

One student asked if Litwak had researched and discussed the feasibility of opening a bar on campus, citing that John Grela, director of University Police, said such a plan was impossible at this time. Litwak responded that the bar would be "put into an already planned out project" such as a "TGI Fridays."

He said that the average age of UB students is 22 years old and an on-campus bar would "promote more responsibility amongst the UB students" because they would not have to rely on transporting themselves home. In addition, he said a bar would attract more alumni to campus events.

Litwak was asked to address his party's yellow campaign flier, which criticizes SA activities including Visions magazine and the organization's distribution of "$931 (of) 'Stickers for Condoms' which aren't readily available to students," and posits e-board members "have total control over bands hired to play Fall and Spring Fest and allow NO STUDENT INPUT."

The presidential candidate responded that "if there is something important going on on-campus, people are going to know about it" and if SA needed to publicize events or issues, he would utilize existing student publications.

"I have nothing against Visions, but I don't know anyone who reads it," he said.

With regard to the condoms, which the student said were widely available at events such as SA Day, Litwak said he was glad the student knew "so many people who have safe sex."

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"Nobody I've spoken to besides you has actually brought it up that they knew [the condoms] are available," Litwak told the questioner.

SA Vice President Joshua Korman asked Litwak why he filed a complaint against the SA Elections and Credentials Committee regarding Yesenia Diaz, a Results Party NYSSA candidate who failed to attend a meeting that was mandatory for candidates to be placed on the ballot.

"It was a question of the rules," Litwak responded. "We just wanted an explanation . now it's done and that's that."

SWJ ruled that Diaz had likely missed the meeting because of extenuating circumstances and would be allowed on the ballot.

The only Results Party candidate questioned was SA Treasurer Naazli Ahmed, who is running for re-election on the Results Party ticket. One student asked why the party had failed to fulfil their promise of making WRUB an FM radio station. According to Ahmed, the WRUB plan fell through because of "technical problems" regarding a lack of bandwidth available.

"We tried to implement that as hard as we could," said Ahmed.

Mark Leach, treasurer candidate for the UB Students' Party, had a much harder time facing up to Amelia Moller, a member of the SA Assembly, who asked him how he would subsidize making fundraising for clubs voluntary.

"We want the fundraising only to be done if [clubs] are seeking extra money outside of their budget," said Leach.

Leach added that the UB Students' Party NYSSA delegate would lobby in Albany to make fundraising for clubs voluntary, rather than mandatory. Korman noted that SUNY has no such mandate regarding student club fundraising.

The only NYSSA candidates who fielded questions were UB Students' Melinda Mulwaka and Gregory Haynes, an independent. Mulwaka held her own against SUNY Trustee George Pape, a current NYSSA delegate, who questioned her party's claim that this year's NYSSA delegates "did nothing."

Mulwaka said the only thing she heard about NYSSA was the two conferences and the Lobby Day they attended, but nothing more.

"I heard it was a building year and I think that you shouldn't have to have building years," said Mulwaka. "You should be strong when you go into it because there's a lot of things that could have been accomplished during a building year."

Pape was chastised by an E&C Committee member present at the meeting for attempting to debate with Mulwaka.

Haynes was asked what his top priority was as NYSSA delegate, which he answered with keeping students informed about legislation and issues that are important to them. He noted that most students at UB do not know what NYSSA does.

"At a board council meeting they said, 'If we elect you NYSSA delegate, what are you going to do for our club?'" said Haynes. "I had to actually look that person in the eye and say, 'NYSSA can't give your club money, we're a separate organization.'"

Haynes said he was against Gov. George Pataki's proposed cuts to the Tuition Assistance Program and the Educational Opportunity Program. One student asked if he planned on voting for Pataki next election, to which he replied yes.

"I don't support his TAP plan, but I like Pataki as a governor," said Haynes.



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