The Undergraduate Student Government voted in Suleman Aleem, a junior majoring in finance, as the newest representative senator.
In the 13th senate meeting held on Tuesday, Nov. 29, eight candidates competed for a seat at the table, giving brief speeches and participating in a Q&A in front of the USG Senate.
USG President Daniel Dornbaum explained that in a General Faculty Meeting held on Oct. 27, Mary Gorman, vice president for enrollment management and strategic academic initiatives, announced that the Fall 2016 total student enrollment stood at 18,287, with approximately 15,000 undergraduate students. Since each representative senator represents 1,000 undergraduate students, an additional senator needed to be elected to meet the quota.
USG announced and opened the application for the representative senator position on Monday, Nov. 14. The application closed two weeks later on Nov. 28.
“The reason why we waited [to announce the representative senator position] is because we had to double check that the numbers were correct,” said Dornbaum.
“We ran it by the Student Life office and also Gorman. We didn’t understand if we had 15,000 undergraduate students last year, why we weren’t notified to run with 15 [senators].”
Ryan Powers, executive vice president and chairperson of the senate, was in charge of recruitment of candidates for representative senator.
Of the 14 candidates who applied, he said only eight met the requirements of availability for the senate meetings on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., taking at least six credits worth of classes, maintaining a 2.5 GPA and not holding an executive board position in a club or organization.
Aleem, who joined USG this semester as vice chair of the legislative affairs committee, said that before this semester he was not very involved in club life.
“This semester I got involved in USG and I was able to help out our vice president of legislative affairs and get exposed to an environment where everyone’s connecting to the whole campus rather than a certain niche of people,” said Aleem in his speech to the senate table.
“As representative senator I hope to use my power to help respond to the needs of Baruch College students. We are all different and unique in our own ways but in the end, we are all Bearcats that make up Baruch College,” said Aleem in an email interview.
Although there is “no formal training process,” Powers believes that Aleem’s previous experience in USG will make for an easy transition.
“It is a learning curve to understand how we allocate budgets, appeals, decide whether to charter clubs. All the business that goes on at the table—we have to catch him up to speed on. But he’s also been at meetings, so he has seen how that works,” Powers said.
Ehtasham Bhatti, the vice presidential senator of legislative affairs, has worked with Aleem on committee events such as the Voter Registration Rally and the planning for the upcoming annual New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Inc.’s Annual Legislative Conference.
Bhatti believes that Aleem is a great fit for the representative senator position.
“I am very sure that Suleman will be an excellent senator. He's very hard-working and diligent when it comes to planning and executing events, he's creative in proposing initiatives and ideas, he's passionate about assisting students, he's friendly and sociable with all kinds of people, and in general, he's just a fun guy to be around,” said Bhatti.
“The Undergraduate Student Government spent about three hours in executive session during their senate meeting to discuss eight candidates wanting to be representative senators. After a long and thoughtful process, we arrived at Suleman,” added Bhatti.
“We want the student body to rest assured that we will work closely with Suleman to mold him into the best asset for the student body, both short term and long term.”
The last USG senate meeting of the Fall semester takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 6.