The nominations are in for the upcoming election of CUNY’s University Student Senate steering committee. In addition to the nominations for Chairperson of the senate, there is also a Brooklyn College student who has been nominated without opposition for an important Vice Chair position.
This year sees Dexter Roberts and Juvanie Piquant as the two nominations for Chairperson of the senate. The new chairperson, which has always served as a sort of guiding hand for the senate’s actions and efforts, and also votes on the CUNY board of trustees, will face one of the toughest academic years in some time.
With the pandemic still showing significant impact on CUNY and exposing more of its flaws and shortcomings with each passing week, the incoming senate will have their work laid out for them. Both of the people nominated for chairperson are already members of the cabinet and are well acquainted with student affairs.
Juvanie Piquant, from City Tech, currently serves as the Vice Chair of Legislative Affairs. An advocate for CUNY students, Piquant sees the funding of the university as being directly tied to larger issues of systematic racism.
“Right now New York State Lawmakers are proposing potential cuts to CUNY,” Piquant wrote in an Instagram post on June 29th. “While the NYPD has billions , they want to defund CUNY. The constant disinvestment into CUNY is systemic racism.”
The other nominee, Dexter Roberts, is currently the Vice Chair of Graduate Affairs. Currently enrolled in a masters program at Baruch, Roberts also earned a B.S. of Science in Business Administration in 2016 from Medgar Evans. Similar to Piquant, Roberts also has a long history of student advocacy which was on prominent display as the president of the Medgar Evers College’s Student Government Association.
The winner of this race will lead the USS and their advocacy work into 2021. Nominated without opposition for the Vice Chair for Technology Fee Affairs is Brooklyn College’s own, Aharon Grama.
“It feels great,” Grama told the Vanguard, regarding his nomination. “Finally, I can push for my agenda to go through and get stuff fast-tracked to benefit students.”
Grama currently serves in the Brooklyn College Undergraduate Student Government as the executive cabinet’s chief of staff. This new role for Grama will expand the influence of Brooklyn College’s student government deeper into the framework of CUNY.
As Vice Chair for Technology Fee Affairs, Grama would like to push for student websites CUNY wide.
“The websites would have all the resources and group chats for students,” Grama said. “I think this can be a game changer and pretty easy to accomplish.”
This sort of accessibility and student organizing is already a key platform of the USG at Brooklyn College.
With no opposing nominee, the victory will be handed to Grama without any of the heated debates that can often arise when running for high level student group positions.
With the relatable air of a student, Grama responded to running opposed by saying that while, “I always like competition, at this time I am actually a bit relieved since I am a bit overwhelmed in this COVID world.”