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USG senate table left with 3 vacant seats as Spring semester begins

Undergraduate Student Government Representative Sens. Zakari Abubakar, Molly Bhuiyan, and Michael Cherry all announced their resignations from their postions between the end of the Fall 2017 semester and the start of the Spring 2018 semester, leaving three open seats at the table.

Abubakar resigned due to obtaining an internship in the Spring semester that would make USG “impossible for [him to juggle].” He claimed the internship was not a standard schedule and could fluctuate from 40 to 100 hours per week.

For the Fall semester, Abubakar did not feel it went well for him.

“It could have been a lot better. I didn’t get the agenda I wanted to get across.  … I was interested in helping revamp club atmosphere, particular with cultural and honor societies. But it’s abstract, and cultural clubs are safe havens, which fine and makes sense, but I felt it was creating exclusivity that alienated other groups and I did not like that. Baruch is diverse and I prefer that, so maybe it’s something we should push a little firmer,” said Abubakar.

He recommended that anyone who is interested in USG should find out what it is about.

“It taught me a lot [and] gave me the opportunity to learn how to work with different-minded people. We are all coming from different places and experiences and outlooks. You might have thought a certain way for a certain way for a long time, and meet people with the same experiences but with completely different angles. It was a beautiful experience,” said Abubakar.

Cherry resigned due to a scheduling conflict between the 5:30 p.m. Senate meetings and a 6 p.m. class on Tuesdays. Cherry, a junior who won reelection as representative senator under the Rise Baruch platform in April 2017, registered for a test prep course over the winter break, albeit too late. His late entry left him with the only class available — right in the middle of his mandated senate meetings.

Faced with the choice of dropping his class or resigning to continue with his academic future, Cherry chose the latter, but
not lightly.

“Being a representative senator is much more than just a position, it’s a lifestyle … I was able to plug in kids to events and whatnot by just walking around campus, being involved in all the club events, and I think it stretches far more than just sitting at a Tuesday 5:30 meeting.”

Cherry was a familiar face on a newly elected table, having been a representative senator in two student governments.

He was ecstatic to see Representative Sen. Brandon Paillere revive former Representative Sen. Chen Lin’s Arts Committee from last year, adding that Paillere has improved it immensely, boasting nearly 70 members. He complimented last year’s strength and unity, but added that seeing this year’s growth as leaders was a great
accomplishment.

Cherry ends his year and a half tenure on the senate table looking back at the good he and his teams were able to do and the meaning it has had to him. His future plans to remain involved have not changed as he said that scheduling conflicts would not stop him from being a representative senator because it was never about the title, it was about representing the students.

Bhuiyan, meanwhile, described the decision to leave USG as “a very difficult, difficult decision.”

She recently changed her major from actuarial science to mathematics, and realized in order to graduate on time, she would need to take a math class that would occur during the time USG meets on Tuesday nights. Though she applied to e-permits to take classes at different CUNY colleges, she was unable to find another option.

Bhuiyan plans on staying on as an extra hand on USG committees. “I feel terrible,” she said of her resignation, and described it as akin to breaking a vow.

Of her time in USG, Bhuiyan said her biggest goal was to always make herself seem welcoming and approachable to the Baruch community, something that she felt she accomplished by taking time to introduce herself around campus to various clubs and students.

She looks fondly on the Greek life forum USG held last semester as a highlight of her tenure, saying that the forum is what student government is “supposed to be.”

When asked about the rumors of miscommunication happening within the table — first claimed by former Representative Sen. Josue Mendez — Bhuiyan said that she feels like there can always be room for growth and every team has communication issues, but her reasons for resigning are purely academic.

The three vacated seats are open to anyone in the Baruch student population who is taking six credits, is not on the executive board of another club, has at least a 2.5 GPA and is available for the Tuesday senate meeting. Apply with USG by Feb. 12 for a chance to be elected to a seat.

Reporting by: Andrew Windsor, Bianca Monteiro, Victoria Merlino

February 4, 2018

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