The Gavel editorial board endorses Michael Osaghae, MCAS '20, and Tiffany Brooks, MCAS '21, for UGBC President and Executive Vice President for the 2019-2020 school year.
After meeting with both teams, we found that all the candidates are passionate about creating a more welcoming and inclusive campus for every student, as well as committed to increasing transparency between UGBC and the student body.
However, the board feels that Osaghae and Brooks have a more fully formulated platform with concrete initiatives and plans to enact change. The pair is realistic about the limitations placed on the office of UGBC President and EVP by the administration. Nevertheless, they have laid out ways of breaking down the institutional divide between the students and administrators.
The platform proposes placing an elected student representative on the board of trustees, forming a faculty senate, and creating a collective “Your UGBC Fund” accessible to any member of the student body to hold advocacy events on campus.
Osaghae is involved in vast and diverse areas of campus life. Within UGBC, he chairs the AHANA+ Leadership Council, a role he came into after being mentored and inspired by former UGBC President Akosua Achampong. In addition, he sits on several committees, including both the Diversity and Inclusion and the Campus Climate Survey committees.
Outside of the student government, Osaghae is a resident assistant in CLXF, where he lived in the Multicultural Learning Experience his freshman year. He is also a Compass mentor for students of color on campus, plays club soccer, and served as an orientation leader for the class of 2022. All these involvements, reflective of his interests and experiences at Boston College, put him in touch with large parts of the student body on a regular basis.
Osaghae met his running mate while planning the POC Art Lab event held by UGBC last semester. Brooks is the senator for music, arts, and performance in the Student Assembly, and is heavily involved with theater on campus. She also promotes the arts off-campus with the Musical Theater Wing, sings in the University Chorale, and participates in the Student Admissions Program and BC Bigs.
Before announcing their candidacy, Osaghae and Brooks spent time going to different areas of the university—clubs, activist groups, professors, administrators, and friends—and asking people what they wanted to see from UGBC. They promise that this practice will not stop if they are elected; their plan for increased transparency and communication from UGBC requires a constant finger on the pulse of BC's wants and needs.
Osaghae and Brooks’ platform focuses on affecting both short-term pragmatic change and long-term institutional change. They recognize that many students discount UGBC because of a lack of visible action and want to amend this perception by making real, tangible changes, such as the Your UGBC Fund available to students in the immediate future if they are elected. The institutional change takes longer, but the pair talked about “drawing a line in the sand”—their term for not abandoning or watering down policies when they get shut down by administrators.
If they could only enact a single change on BC’s campus, they—without hesitation—would build a student center. Their campaign platform highlights the importance of space, specifically the importance of creating physical campus space for marginalized groups that may not feel welcome on the Heights as it stands. Within a student center, they envision an LGBTQ+ resource center with qualified staff that will guide students in processing their experiences and provide access health and educational resources.
The Gavel editorial board is impressed by Osaghae and Brooks’ ambitions and presence. As individuals, they bring unique perspectives to their platform and policy-making, but they are united by a common goal of making Boston College feel like home for every student.
Candidates Taylor Jackson, MCAS ‘21, and Alejandro Perez, MCAS ‘21, also emphasized the importance of bringing students together. Their platform priorities include an admissions outreach program to AHANA+ high school students in the greater Boston area, aiming to initiate mentorship programs to increase their chances of coming to BC and facilitate an easier transition into the BC community. Jackson also noted that they hoped to expand mental health resources on campus.
The election will take place on MyBC on Thursday, Feb. 14. Polling opens at 12 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. The ballot also includes a referendum question from Climate Justice at Boston College regarding whether students believe the university should divest from fossil fuels.