Opinion | Staff Editorials

An endorsement for University senators, GSSC president and VP policy

  • Yue Ben / Senior Staff Photographer
    Electable | Ramis Wadood, CC ’16 speaking at the CC University senator debate on Sunday. Spectator endorses him for CC University senator.
  • Electable | Katharine Celentano, GS ’17, speaking at the GS debate on Tuesday. Spectator endorses her for GS University senator.

Voting for the Columbia College, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and General Studies student councils and their respective University senator positions starts today at 10 a.m.

On Monday, we endorsed candidates for the Columbia College Student Council executive board. Below are the rest of our endorsements. 

CC UNIVERSITY SENATOR 

We endorse Ramis Wadood, CC ’16, for CC University senator. This year featured an array of strong candidates, but ultimately, we feel that Wadood presents the strongest case. 

Michael MacKay, CC ’15, should be recognized for his prioritization of technology. However, University senators should be prepared to deal with the range of important issues that affect the University. Focus should come through specific initiatives, not a single-issue platform.

Daniel Stone, CC ’16, has a commanding grasp of the history of the senate, and a clear passion for reform. Stone has an entire section of his platform labeled “Secret Meetings are Suspicious!” and implies that a norm of confidential meetings indicates a conspiracy. While we are also concerned with accountability, we feel Stone’s muckraker tendencies would better serve the student body in his role of editor at The Lion.

Daniel Liss, CC ’16, is a strong choice for one main reason: his track record. On his platform page, there is a list of links to news coverage about his projects that spans an entire page. As alumni affairs representative, Liss has worked to connect hundreds of students with alumni and distributed frequent-flyer miles.

However, his platform appears to mostly be a continuation of his role as alumni affairs representative. His first-listed priorities are about careers, alumni, and funding, while important issues like sexual assault, space, and transparency from the University Senate are almost entirely absent from his platform. For that reason, we cannot endorse him.

Wadood is currently class president of his year. In this role, he has demonstrated leadership and the ability to reach out and gauge student needs—both of which we feel are vital to the position of University senator.

Moreover, he also has an entire year in the senate as research assistant to Sharyn O’Halloran, the chair of the Senate’s Executive Committee. This means that Wadood has already made strong working relationships in the senate that others would need at least months to make.

We have minor reservations about Wadood’s commitment to the Quality of Life survey. Although it has the potential to prove useful through its data, the survey has been a huge sap of time and effort, and there are more important issues to focus on. But we are encouraged by Wadood’s acceptance of criticism about the survey and particularly excited by his other project in the senate—his work with O’Halloran on implementing online education.

Wadood’s platform is a strong list of specific initiatives organized into general categories of senate transparency, student wellness, academics, and student life. They demonstrate ingenuity and an understanding of the breadth of topics that a University senator should be focused on. 

SEAS UNIVERSITY SENATOR

We do not endorse either candidate for SEAS University senator. 

Michelle Haines, SEAS ’15, does not have the necessary experience, and her platform demonstrates this. She will also graduate next spring, and so will be able to serve only one year of the two-year term, making her not a logical choice. 

We find that Jillian Ross, SEAS ’16, has experience and connections that would likely prove valuable. However, she similarly lacks a nuanced understanding of what it means to be a University senator, despite her current position as vice president of communications for the executive board of the Engineering Student Council. 

GS UNIVERSITY SENATOR

We endorse Katharine Celentano, GS ’17, for GS University senator. Throughout debates on Tuesday, Celentano demonstrated that she is the most experienced candidate both on and off campus, particularly with her experience as a legislative assistant in the University Senate, where she has already drafted and passed policies. 

Celentano demonstrates a clear understanding of issues and how they relate to GS. Notably, when asked about sexual assault policy, Celentano made several specific qualifications pertaining to GS students, rather than stating vague platitudes about generic policy. We are confident that if elected, Celentano would be able to work effectively to implement much of her platform.

GSSC PRESIDENT

We choose not to endorse either candidate for General Studies Student Council executive board president. 

Both Peter Nason, GS ’15, and Joshua Dominic, GS ’16, struck us as competent, qualified individuals. We are sure that either of them would serve well, but we could not differentiate between the two enough to come to a decision. 

GSSC VP POLICY

We endorse Elizabeth Heyman, GS/JTS ’16, for the position of GSSC vice president of policy.

Heyman’s focus on a holistic representation of student concerns is promising, and we found her concerns about improving the clarity and ease of registration to be on point. We have some concerns about a lack of specificity, but are encouraged by her genuine motivation to serve the student community in GS.

Peter Andrews dissented from this staff editorial. 

---

Staff editorial dissent

I respectfully dissent from the editorial board in its endorsement of the Columbia College University senator. In my opinion, Daniel Liss, CC ’16, is the best option for the college. Liss’ platform—a focus on technology and alumni issues—and accomplishments within Columbia College Student Council suggest that he will bring immense drive and a unique perspective to the position if elected.

I agree with the editorial board in its conclusion that Ramis Wadood, CC ’16, would be an effective senator, and I respect his past work in student government. However, CC’s delegation of three University senators should represent a broad range of issues and passions. I have serious reservations about electing a second senator in one academic year—following Marc Heinrich, CC ’16—who previously served as a senate staffer. Serving on senate staff should not become a de facto prerequisite for election.

If elected, Liss will bring a fresh voice and a record of accomplishment to the University Senate.

Peter Andrews is a Columbia College senior majoring in American studies. He is a member of Spectator’s editorial board. 

Meet the editorial board »

Clarification: The editorial board, with the exception of Peter Andrews, endorses Ramis Wadood for CC University senator.

To respond to this staff editorial, or to submit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com.

Comments

Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Your username will not be displayed if checked
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
cc15 posted on

Well said, Peter! Liss has proven he is an effective legislator and can see projects that students care about from beginning to end.

+1
-11
-1
Anonymous posted on

"projects that students care about" – which is exactly why he got zero endorsements from any student groups on this campus!

+1
+4
-1
so true posted on

exactly...daniel liss has zero endorsements. what is this article

+1
+7
-1
Anonymous posted on

Cute discussion. Can you both go ahead and just vote for Ramis now? Takes half a brain to know the election is already his. Kthxbai

+1
+11
-1
RAMISSSSSSSS habibi posted on

RAMIS RAMIS RAMIS RAMIS
(SEAS ppl- Vote Jillian. doesn't take a brain for that decision)

RAMIS for SENATE no questions asked. end of discussion.

+1
+18
-1
Anonymous posted on

"Effective Legislator and can see projects that students care about from beginning to end", which is exactly why he got zero endorsements from any student clubs on this campus!

+1
+5
-1
CC 2015 posted on

This article is a mess. Jill has a very detailed platform for Senate and Ramis is the clear winner, not Daniel Liss.

+1
+22
-1
lol at this posted on

"she similarly lacks a nuanced understanding of what it means to be a University senator, despite her current position as vice president of communications for the executive board of the Engineering Student Council."

This is the most vague and ridiculous comment ever. Jillian's entire platform is "issues like sexual assault, space, and transparency"...

also Daniel Liss doesn't have any endorsements so how is he an "Effective Legislator and can see projects that students care about from beginning to end". Ramis all the way.

+1
+15
-1
UI posted on

Couldn't agree more with Peter Andrews. Not only does Liss have a broader understanding of the role of a University Senator, but he also would break this questionable trend of electing only Senate staffers to become University Senators. His ideas are fresh, and his track record proves that he is innovative. Ramis is a great guy, but he's just not that different from the current Senators, so I question what else he can bring to the table.

+1
-18
-1
Lol seriously? posted on

haha you must be joking. Ramis is the clearcut winner of this and the sooner you stop comparing him to people who never had a chance the better. Who cares if he's not bringing anything to the table? He advertised SO much better than these other candidates. This is what I get going to spec and expecting people to be rational...

+1
+9
-1
Anonymous posted on

"Liss has a broader understanding of the role of a University Senator"

Ladies and gents, the role of a university Senator consists of: 30% Academic Affairs Rep + 70% Alumni Affairs Rep + 100% underwhelming communication and leadership skills, impressive. Truly. You convinced me. such deep understanding of the role of a University Senator!

+1
+9
-1
wait... posted on

spec also didn't endorse Marc Heinrich when he ran who has PROVEN to be an amazing senator for the student body. Daniel Liss has ZERO endorsements. FYI

+1
+14
-1
So much meaningless shit... posted on

If you don't vote for Ramis, all you're doing is endorsing your own unintelligence. Spec made the right move. Article could've been improved though by spending less time on candidates that never stood a chance.

+1
+7
-1
Anonymous posted on

They kinda did. Even though there was no official endorsement, they did praise him as one of the most outstanding candidates.

+1
0
-1
Quit Wasting Everyone's Time posted on

Lol at spec and other people acting like this endorsement/article matters when it's so clear that Ramis is winning this thing. He's the only that paid attention and ran a decent campaign and unlike these other well-meaning but clearly not as politically savvy people that got bogged down in the issues, Ramis has just focused on endorsing himself since day one. A better use of an article would just be announcing him winner now.

+1
+12
-1
truuuuuuu posted on

RAMIS IS ALL THAT MATTERS. honestly he is killing it
also go jill!

+1
+25
-1
Lisa posted on

I'm actually amazed at some of the comments on this piece and their smugness about Ramis. I understand that people are passionate about him winning but can we do so without being dismissive about everyone else? I actually watched the debate and listened to how much people like MacKay, Stone, and Liss care about our school and the ideas they put forward to make it better. In my opinion I actually though many of their ideas were better than Ramis' though I guess that's for everyone to decide for themselves. My point is we're not in highschool anymore so can we cut the crap about voting for people just because they are popular or put up more posters? Ramis, I don't know you particularly well but if this is the cocky attitude your campaign projects, then I'm afraid you've just lost a voter.

+1
0
-1
Rachel Ray posted on

hahahaha get out of here fool. I actually have tears in my eyes from reading this shit. Ramis is destroying. We don't need ur crappy vote. And btw your GS is showing :)

+1
-28
-1
CC14 posted on

Seriously? Your username is Rachel Ray? Glad you've made time to type up such a rude comment when you're not too busy teaching people how to make a casserole that will stop their partners from cheating on them.

Someone communicated an honest message about discourse and you completely shut them down and made fun of General Studies? I'm glad you guys are so popular and don't need my vote anyway, cause frankly you just los it.

+1
-1
-1
Hold that thought for a second posted on

You do realize that you cant hold Ramis accountable for the opinions of every single Columbia College Students. Never has Ramis or people involved in his campaign been "dismissive" about any of the other candidates. This is a public forum, you will be hearing many different opinions whether pro or against Ramis or any of the other competitors, and this has no bearing or reflection on the "Attitude" that Ramis' campaign projects, simply because neither he nor can anyone control the public opinion.

+1
+10
-1
Hold that thought for a second posted on

You do realize that you cant hold Ramis accountable for the opinions of every single Columbia College Student. Never has Ramis or people involved in his campaign been "dismissive" about any of the other candidates. This is a public forum, you will be hearing many different opinions whether pro or against Ramis or any of the other competitors, and this has no bearing or reflection on the "Attitude" that Ramis' campaign projects, simply because neither he nor can anyone control the public opinion.

+1
+11
-1
Anon Wadood Supporter posted on

Ramis is actually one of the most humble people I have ever met. It would be a mistake not to vote for him just because he has a few obnoxious supporters (the front runner often will).

I think Ramis cleanly won the debate last week, but I do agree that some of the other candidates had some good ideas and polished performances (MacKay comes to mind). Ramis showed that he has the connections, the political savvy, and the initiative to actually ACT on what he is presenting, and I don't think anyone else in the room can navigate the Senate as well as he can.

+1
+15
-1
what??! posted on

Spec this is a joke. Ramis AND Jillian hands down would destroy the Game. This discussion is kinda cute but silly. Daniel Liss has has absolutely no endorsements...and I'm appalled at this "discussion".

+1
+24
-1
Disappointed CC'14 posted on

As a senior in the college and former CCSC member, it really disappoints me that Spec attempted to endorse Daniel Liss and did not endorse Jillian Ross at all. Let me be very clear, Ramis and Jillian would both be fantastic and personable Senators working together to improve the student body with the experience to back it up.

+1
+20
-1
Anonymous posted on

Really confused by the Ramis Defense Force that's showing up in these comments. I get it - he's going to win...but isn't a newspaper supposed to be a place where people can discuss ideas without getting into shit-flinging or popularity contests? Hope this doesn't represent his main demographic.

+1
-13
-1
TEAM DANIEL LISS posted on

Daniel Liss does offer a different perspective!

+1
-18
-1
SEAS16 posted on

As a SEAS student, I actually really respect the fact that spec decided to endorse neither candidate. I am sad that students think having one year in the senate is a minus, such a slow moving body could use someone who has only one year to speed up stuff. However, I am glad spec was able to see through Jillian's facade of platform "ideas" see that the fruits of her work have not really prepared her for senate. While it is refreshing to see a 3-2 student run for senate, Michelle has not had a very strong campaign nor has she seemed to take an effort to understand the largest issue's that face columbia.

Finally, hats off to Peter. I think it was brave to endorse Daniel. Daniel is not the most popular student, but he is extremely passionate, hardworking, and effective. Spec has correctly pointed out his track record shows HE gets things done; he doesn't merely piggyback off of whatever is the hot issue at the time.

+1
-23
-1
lol posted on

k hi matt sheridan...

+1
+17
-1
Its "Matthew" Sheridan to you! posted on

Still very sad that these elections are boiling down to popularity contests. I wish more people would attend student council meetings or at least work with council members on something so they can get a true sense of who does work and who doesn't. It seems Ben Kornick's rant of a letter was probably the most honest public description of how student council actually works behind the scenes; I wish students in Council would share honest assessments of how other council students performed so those who don't put forth good work can't get away with running for re-election. I think publicly shared anonymous internal assessments would be a good idea.

And just to re-iterate, it really breaks my heart to see people downvoting any comment that supports Daniel Liss. All the candidates are promising, but you really can't take away the fact that Daniel followed up on all his campaign promises, and worked to see his ideas come to reality. People cited his lack endorsements as proof that he isn't fit for the role, but I only see that argument as proof that some people can't think for themselves.

+1
-4
-1
k bye posted on

"SEAS16"

it's TEAM RAMIS

+1
+4
-1
Anon Jill & Ramis Supporter posted on

Hi SEAS16, this comment "However, I am glad spec was able to see through Jillian's facade of platform "ideas" see that the fruits of her work have not really prepared her for senate." is petty and ridiculous. I think your opinion is misdirected. Jill really cares about this school and I think majority of people can agree. She has endorsements that include multicultural, preprofessional, greek, and campus media so this "facade" you speak of is absurd.

Ramis does NOT "merely piggyback off of whatever is the hot issue at the time" and I think your opinion is not merited. I work with him on CCSC. Ramis is extremely passionate, hardworking, and effective. Plus he virtually got every endorsement possible...

+1
+22
-1
SEAS16 posted on

There is no doubt that Jill genuinely cares about students SEAS, I just don't think she is effective.

You misread the piggybacking comment as it was not directed at Ramis. It was directed to the councils in general. Ramis is a fantastic guy and I would be pleased to see him in the Senate, though I am certain Liss would great things.

+1
-15
-1
CC15 posted on

But if you think Jillian is running for Senate because she genuinely cares for crafting and assisting with reforms for the SEAS community, then you don't really know her. I was initially going to support her until I found out why she really wants the position. The fact that she let it be known to me so blatantly to me why she was running for Senate truly shocked me for two reasons: (1) that she would take advantage of such an important position for something so pathetic, and (2) that she would reveal it so easily to friends. But hey, if she wins, I hope she actually does a good job. If she doesn't, I hope she learns her lesson. Seriously so disappointed with her. :(

+1
-17
-1
k stop posted on

Dear CC15, I am one of Jillian's best friends since NSOP and all she does is talk about reform and helping the community. I'm sorry but YOU don't know her.

+1
+12
-1
And most inaccurate comment goes to posted on

this one.

+1
+6
-1
And most inaccurate comment goes to posted on

(referring to CC15 comment!)

+1
+9
-1
CC15 posted on

Listen, I have PLENTY of text messages that prove my point; don't get it twisted. Perhaps she cares somewhat about SEAS student life, but there are other motives, and they're pathetic ones. Look, I want her to be a good Senator just as much as the next person, but I wouldn't pick someone to be a Senator if his or her other motives for wanting the position involved the things that Jillian told me she was gunning for. Simple.

+1
-12
-1
Anonymous posted on

I understand the hesitancy to endorse Joshua Dominic, who just barely entered the race. But I think it speaks to the quality of Peter Nason and the GSSC clique in general that no one will give him an endorsement even though he's the overwhelming frontrunner.

+1
+4
-1
Clarification posted on

Nason being the frontrunner and still not getting an endorsement, that is

+1
-4
-1
Anonymous posted on

I like Nason, but his campaign has been... modest. I think this reflects some of his general attitude that he'll work hard, but isn't all about the presentation. IMO this is probably for the best, but it makes it hard to get excited about his election if he doesn't even seem excited himself.

(vs, say, Celentano, whose supporters have completely taken over Facebook...)

+1
-1
-1
Anonymous posted on

To be fair, if I was taking over a GSSC with 3/5 vacant e-board positions, I too would be horrified lol

+1
-8
-1
Anonymous posted on

Let's be honest. Nason can barely hide that he thinks he's smarter than you went he talks and argues with you when you try to explain to him why people don't like working with him.

He's generally a good guy and such a bro that he will get many of the veteran bros (the most active constituency in GS) to vote for him. Yet, people that have worked with him can attest how difficult he can be. He is just cocky that he will win to the point of taking the elections for granted based on his popularity. Thinking that way, why would he try to present a coherent platform during the debate. No coherent platform=no endorsement.

+1
+5
-1
Sick of this posted on

Ramis is all popularity and no substance. Daniel Liss is the best pick and it's so sad that Ramis and his supporters are bullying the system.

+1
+2
-1
to be honest posted on

i'm just glad Uche did not run.
We would have all gotten emails begging for votes

+1
+17
-1
Uche posted on

I'm glad I didn't run, too. And, no, you wouldn't have gotten an email; I know the elections board guidelines. There are other ways to impact the quality of student life, and I hope to see you trying to do the same.

+1
-19
-1
Anonymous posted on

As if all the people running right now haven't been doing that; let's be fair. If I get one more Facebook message/door knock/email...

+1
-4
-1
Anonymous posted on

I went to the G.S.S.C. elections and Richard Thompson VP of Policy delivered his platform clearly. He was coherent and demonstrated a firm grasp on the G.S.S.C constitution and the general plight of the average General Studies student. He had some fantastic ideas and I was blown away by his audacity and humility. Richard has my vote.

+1
-5
-1