With No Chairperson Elected, USS Concludes First Day of Election

CUNY’s University Student Senate elected delegates to all but three positions in its steering committee on Sunday. After three rounds of voting, none of the nominees for chairperson, vice chair for graduate affairs, or vice chair for community college affairs hit the 29-vote threshold to conclude elections.

USS, the student government of CUNY, represents the interests of students across the university’s senior colleges, community colleges and graduate schools. The steering committee is the senate’s leadership; they decide which policies to discuss and execute. The chairperson leads the steering committee and also serves as a trustee for the CUNY board of trustees. 

Salimatou Doumbouya and Aharon Grama are in the runoff election for chairperson. Doumbouya, a delegate from City Tech, would be the first Black Muslim woman chairperson if elected. In her nomination speech, she committed to using her experience in “creating spaces and creating conversations” to inform her tenure as chairperson. 

Grama, a delegate from Brooklyn College and the outgoing vice chair for technology fee affairs, pledged to reform the organization and workflow of USS. In his nomination speech, he listed the bureaucratic problems he faced as a student and a vice chair. “The USS, as much as it could be a body that has a lot of potential, is screwed,” Grama said. “We’re actually going to take action…It’s going to be a body that we can count on.”

City Tech delegate Abigail Thomas and Borough of Manhattan Community College delegate Rajvinder Kaur also ran for chairperson but were eliminated in the first round of voting.

Cory Provost, a delegate from the CUNY School of Law, ran unopposed for vice chair for legislative affairs and won. He is the acting chairperson until one is elected; City Tech’s Juvanie Piquant, the first Haitian-American woman to hold the position, ended her term on Sunday.

City Tech - Logo (48228038441).jpg
New York City College of Technology. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Here are the other positions and their election winners:

  • Vice chair for fiscal affairs: Oumou Sylla (York College)
  • Vice chair for senior college affairs: Tzvia Waronker (John Jay College)
  • Vice chair for evening and part-time affairs: Muslimah Abdul (Queens College)
  • Vice chair for disability affairs: Saaif Alam (John Jay College) 
  • Vice chair for international student affairs: Diane M. Lake (Kingsborough Community College)
  • Vice chair for technology fee affairs: Jonathan Hanon (CUNY Graduate Center)

Both races for vice chair for graduate affairs and vice chair of community college affairs remain inconclusive after three rounds of voting. A special election for these positions and chairperson will be held at a later date.

For the graduate affairs seat, the runoff election is between Nerdeen Kiswani from the CUNY School of Law and Jacklyn Tomlin from the School of Professional Studies. For the community college affairs seat, it is between Nana Wiafe Addae Owusu from BMCC and Jazmin Ramirez from Bronx Community College.

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