Spectrum endorses Peter Pranata as SA treasurer, torn between three presidents and vice presidents

This is the first year many Spectrum editors have seen a competitive Student Association e-board election. 

This year, our editorial board had a difficult time coming to a conclusion on who we will endorse. That’s because we feel multiple students are experienced and well-qualified for the president and vice president positions.

However, our editorial board came to a unanimous decision on the treasurer position and we are endorsing Peter Pranata. Our reason is simple – Pranata has the most experience with finances.

The treasurer is responsible for the disbursement of the SA budget and revenue. The treasurer oversees all financial transactions and must be sure money is handled accordingly. Yes, the treasurer must have a working relationship with SA clubs, but his or her main objective is to properly handle $4 million.

Pranata is a SA bookkeeper and has worked as secretary and president of Indonesian SA. He’s been a part of SA long enough to understand the recurring problems in the office. He is extremely well-spoken and exudes confidence.

Here is how we feel about the other candidates for treasurer: Janet Austin, who is a part of the Initiative party, said she wasn’t the typical finance candidate. She has experience with clubs and is no stranger to student advocacy. We respect that Austin says she is still learning, but her speech was not very compelling.

Aishat Keshiro, who is a part of the VOC party, didn’t mention her experience dealing with finances, even though she is the activities coordinator for the African Student Association. She said she has “done research,” but did not discuss her experience dealing with money specifically.

Ali Kaba, who is running alone in the AK party, also has little experience with finances and spent most of his speech talking about his childhood in Africa. When our reporters asked him why he wanted to be a treasurer, he told them that they can trust him and he will fulfill his duties.

Overall, we feel most confident in Pranata’s experience and knowledge of SA finances.

We found that it was much more difficult to endorse a single party for president and vice president. Our editorial board came to the conclusion that we all will be voting for different parties. We’ve discussed why we are confident/not confident in each party and will leave it up to the readers to make a decision.

Integrity Party - Riley Oates (President), Angie Quilla (Vice President)

Our editorial board agreed we have little confidence in the Integrity Party.

Quilla has the least amount of SA experience compared to the other vice president candidates. She stressed the importance of putting tampons and sanitary napkins in women’s bathroom, but didn’t say how much money would go into these products and how feasible it would be. She said she hasn’t given any thought into changing the Fall Fest and Spring Fest ticket policy and said she has thought about holding town hall meetings for students to voice their concerns, but did not say how she plans to encourage students to come.

Our biggest concern with Oates is that he admitted he didn’t know what the SA president’s responsibilities are. He has experience working with SA Senate, but since he ran alone, we aren’t sure how he will work with other people. He said he wants to help administer the “No Smoking” policy, but only offered putting out more ashtrays as a solution. He has good ideas, such as changing the ticket policies and giving clubs grants, but we are unsure of the execution.

As a side note, Oates showed up to the Spectrum office 45 minutes late to give his speech. When his partner, Quilla, had to give her speech first, she looked extremely nervous and told us she did not want to continue in the campaign. After recollecting herself for 10 minutes, she came back in to speak.

Overall, Oates and Quilla don’t seem to be the most communicative duo.

Action Party - Alexis Ogra (President), Alicia Stepniewski (Vice President)

The action party, which Pranata is a part of, seems like the go-to choice for this election. All three members have a lot of SA experience and our staff feels their speech was informative. Ogra announced her plan to cut down SA spending – something our entire staff agrees with. She said SA’s $8,000 spending on apparel and camping trips is unnecessary. She mentioned wanting to solve parking and commuter problems, but did not give any specifics as to how her e-board will work with the university in doing do.

Our editorial board also felt Ogra lacked presence. Although she is experienced, she might not have the personality to appeal to most students. However, what Ogra lacks, Stepniewski has.

Stepniewski is extremely welcoming and friendly. She has been involved in SA for years and we can see why her party is the “Action” party. She has already written a letter of dissent regarding UB’s decision to increase the Academic Excellence and Success fee and has held meetings with athletic and recreation directors to discuss the limited access for recreational sports. We are confident that she will be a voice for students and take action.

VOC Party - Leslie Veloz (President), Jamersin Redfern (Vice President)

Many students will gravitate toward the VOC candidates. Veloz is the vice president of the Black Student Union and Redfern is the president of the Latin American Student Association – two prominent clubs on campus. They are welcoming and sincere in their words, and we are confident that they know how to connect to students.

As vice president of BSU, Veloz has had to manage the largest SA club budget on campus. She has advocated for inclusion and more women and people of color in leadership positions at UB. Redfern is heavily involved in the Buffalo community and emphasizes creating the American experience for students of different ethnicities.

However, some people on our editorial board question how Veloz and Redfern will manage a $4 million budget and how they will handle allocating funds in different areas such as sports and other, more niche clubs.

Initiative Party - Devashish Agarwal (President), Peter Jowdy (Vice President)

Our editorial board was impressed with Agarwal’s speech. He is very involved and extremely experienced. We are confident that he will make an impact diversifying SA. He organized UB’s first ever Tedx talk and has already taken action and met with UB officials to solve parking problems. Since Agarwal is an international student who once felt isolated, he is a perfect example of how to become integrated into SA.

When asked about the relationship between SA and The Spectrum, Agarwal was the only presidential candidate to say that a student newspaper is needed on campus to critique the student government and “keep them in check.”

As for Jowdy, he compliments Agarwal. He is knowledgeable of the vice president role and emphasized the needed relationship between the vice president and SA clubs. However, Jowdy left little impact on our staff once he left.

We hope students take the opportunity to hear from each candidate and think carefully about who they will elect to administer $4 million of student money.

The editorial board can be reached at eic@ubspectrum.com