Baruch College’s Undergraduate Student Government faced another major shake-up with the resignation of Vice President of Academic Affairs Suleman Aleem and the installation of the recently elected Representative Sen. Mark Vilk. Aleem’s resignation from the table marks the seventh change in the administration and the fifth change this semester.
Vilk was elected to the table just before spring break to fill the seat vacated by former Representative Sen. Tarak Chowdhury.
Aleem declined to comment on his resignation for this article.
Vilk is a junior transfer student from Kingsborough Community College. He explained that the application process for the seat was done through in-house elections. He applied earlier in the semester for another vacated seat, and as he was not chosen the first time, he tried again.
“The value I really align myself with is being approachable,” Vilk said. He said that USG was approachable, which made it fairly simple to join the senate table despite taking on the position so late into the semester.
Vilk’s involvement in USG before becoming a representative senator included being part of USG’s Marketing Committee and the Constitutional Review Committee.
At Kingsborough, he served as the student government’s vice president of the Business Council and represented a group of majors.
Vilk said that Kingsborough differed from Baruch in that each council was assigned a budget and clubs were assigned separate budgets directly from the Office of Student Life.
At Baruch, club funding first goes through USG and then to the Board of Directors, a group of students and administrators who approve budgets funded through student activity fees.
At certain CUNY colleges, however, most of the budgeting of fees is decided by the student-led Budget Committee of the College Association — which Baruch does not have. This budgeting system introduces the problem of transparency because assigned funding can seem arbitrary.
As a representative senator, Vilk plans to continue the efforts on being transparent to the student body.
“When I talk about transparency, I’m mostly referring to some of the conversations the administration [has] with some of the student government leaders,” he said. “And some of that conversation doesn’t get dispersed back to the general student body.”
Vilk mentioned that the Board of Directors meeting minutes are in the process of becoming public, which he feels would be helpful in increasing transparency.
“Not everyone is used to that format expect for other clubs that might have to take minutes and as government leaders we should think about the approach we are taking to deliver that information,” he said.
Vilk is also running for two positions in this year’s USG elections: a seat on the Board of Directors and University Student Senate Alternate Delegate.
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