The Gavel has chosen to endorse Taraun Frontis, CSOM '19, and Aneeb Sheikh, MCAS '20, for UGBC President and Executive Vice President for the 2018-2019 election season.
The Gavel Editorial Board had the chance to sit down with both teams after the final round of debates moderated by the Elections Committee. While both candidate teams expressed a passionate commitment to progressive issues on Boston College’s campus, Frontis and Sheikh’s extensive experience advocating for marginalized communities, demonstrated spirit of activism and collaboration, and specific policy ideas for the future of the organization are what ultimately earned them our final endorsement.
Frontis’ extensive involvement on campus makes him uniquely qualified to represent the student body as President of UGBC. Throughout his time on the Heights, Frontis has served as Chair of the AHANA+ Leadership Council (ALC), a Bowman Advocate, an Orientation Leader, a Compass Mentor, and a member of United Front. He recognizes that these roles have allowed him to engage with a wide and diverse group of students. These experiences have enabled him to develop a more complete understanding of the needs of the student body, help queer students and students of color feel more welcome on campus, and engage in meaningful and authentic discussions about the realities of life at BC.
As a UGBC Senator, Sheikh has played an integral role in leveraging the power of the organization to advocate for marginalized communities and push for tangible change on campus. Following the Trump administration’s implementation of the Muslim ban last year, Sheikh worked with Dean Mogan and other administrators to create summer housing options on-campus for students affected by the ban. Since then, Sheikh has worked directly on a number of key UGBC initiatives, including the development of Bias Incident Report Technology and DiversityEDU, a cultural competency module.
The specificity of the team’s platform and policy ideas, as well as an active dedication to building upon established relationships with administrators, were well-conveyed both in their debates and in their meeting with The Gavel. While wide-reaching, their platform focused heavily on the importance of creating and expanding spaces for free speech on campus, in addition to demanding a more visible and public commitment from the administration regarding issues such as the student center construction and incidents of racial bias.
In our conversation with Frontis and Sheikh, they also specifically addressed their male identities, highlighting how important it was for them to include women—specifically women of color—in their campaign team and decision-making processes. They also noted that their platform was based primarily on comments derived directly from the student body through Google Form responses, and that it is continually evolving as they receive student feedback.
Reed Piercey, MCAS '19, and Ignacio Fletcher, MCAS '20, also demonstrated a commitment to advocacy, emphasizing the importance of widening UGBC's impact so that all students recognize the resources available to them on campus and can feel more at home at BC. Their platform was particularly strong in its mission to find renewed ways to engage existing organizations on campus and departments within UGBC.
As the progressive student publication of Boston College, The Gavel enthusiastically endorses Frontis and Sheikh as the prospective UGBC President and Executive Vice President, and wishes both candidate teams the best of luck on election day. Voting will take place on Feb. 15 from 12 a.m. to 5 p.m. through MyBC.