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Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Meet the candidates for this year’s UB Council Student Representative election

Although candidates cannot have a platform, they are allowed to have a biography

<p>The election for UB Council Student Representative runs from April 22-24, 2024.</p>

The election for UB Council Student Representative runs from April 22-24, 2024.

Voting is ongoing for UB Council Student Representative, after polls in the three-way race between Alika Turton, Jack Walsh and Cameron Kiner opened Monday morning. 

The Student Representative is the only elected member of the UB Council — the others are appointed by the governor of New York — and they serve as head of the Council of Advocacy and Leadership (COAL), a coalition of UB’s student government leaders. 

While a new UB policy prohibits candidates from having a platform or promoting advocacy initiatives, candidates can have biographies to inform voters of their qualifications. Students can vote on UBLinked until 11:59 p.m. on April 24. 

Here are this year’s candidates:

Jack Walsh

Walsh, a freshman computer science major, has made a name for himself on UB’s subreddit forum as “u/Ill_Muscle_6259,” with his same-day recaps of Student Association (SA) Senate meetings.

If elected, he says he will report on UB Council meetings in much the same way. Increased transparency is among his chief goals: he aims to pressure the UB Foundation to disclose its investments and push for improved accessibility on UB’s campuses. and address other issues at UB.

 “I will not let the administration walk all over us,” Walsh wrote in his platform.

Walsh criticized the UB policy change prohibiting advocacy.

“It seems that they’ve decided to change the rules this semester and say that there’s no advocacy allowed, which is very strange because in every year past this hasn’t been an issue, and so they seem to set a rule switch this year,” Walsh told The Spectrum

Walsh’s platform can be found here.

Cameron Kiner

Kiner, a sophomore public health student, became president of the Residence Hall Association (RHA) in a special election this year. That position also gave him a non-voting seat on COAL  — the body he will head if he is elected Student Representative. He says that position gives him the experience necessary to be Student Representative.

“I really enjoyed having that experience. I feel like that prepared me for the role, because the UB Council rep ultimately is able to spearhead that meeting,” Kiner said. “It’s kind of the culmination of all my experiences at UB.”  

He cites his understanding of what undergraduate students experience on campus, an understanding he’ll bring with him as an incoming graduate student this fall.

“I have a lot of great experiences that prepare me very well for being able to represent the 32,000 students that are here at UB to the University Council,” he said.

Kiner’s candidate statement can be found here.

Alika Turton

Turton, a junior political science major, is the incumbent. She won the position last year in a special election after the winner of the original election declined the position

This year, Turton will continue her motto from her last candidacy: “Lead. Empower. Innovate.” She aims to use her second term to “ensure that the student body can continue to see more expanded communication from University leaders!” according to an Instagram post promoting her candidacy from April 21.

 Last year, before UB’s Student Engagement office instructed candidates not to promote themselves as student advocates, Turton’s goals included improving disability student services, creating a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) celebration week, and creating a food delivery program for ill students. 

In her platform this year, Turton touts her advocacy work.

“I have been able to address/begin starting conversations on many of the issues that I originally ran on last year,” Turton wrote. “Many of which have resulted in petitions that COAL members have supported and equally advocated alongside me for such as – bettering campus transportation and enhancing UB’s accessibility protocols.”

In an Instagram post published April 21, acknowledged the new rule prohibiting advocacy.

“This position is NOT an advocacy position as of this year so I adjusted what I want to focus on for next year,” Turton wrote in the caption of her post. “This year in the position has taught me a lot about UB’s governing structure and I want to make sure that I have the ability to refine some of the projects that COAL and I worked on this year to ensure that students can get better communication from University leaders.”

Turton did not respond to two requests for interviews from The Spectrum

Turton’s candidate statement can be found here.

Alisha Allison is an assistant news editor and can be reached at alisha.allison@ubspectrum.com

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