We Asked, Y(O)U Answered: What Should the Role of Student Government Be?
Yeshiva University is run by a myriad of student government organizations. Some of these organizations include governments responsible for religious and spiritual programming, such as Torah Activities Committee (TAC) and Student Organization of Yeshiva (SOY), while others, such as Yeshiva Student Union (YSU), Stern College for Women Student Council (SCWSC) and Sy Syms School of Business Student Council (SYMSSC), govern the entire student body of their respective schools. Although the Office of Student Life (OSL) is ultimately in charge of overseeing the student experience, student leaders have the power to make student life on campus successful. The Commentator asked students if they think the elected student leaders and OSL run a successful government and if the current system helps foster student life.
Yaffa Goldkin (SCW ‘24)
“As a Resident Advisor on the Beren Campus, I know that the role of student leaders is vital to how the university runs. We are there for any thoughts, issues, and general questions of our residents. Other student leaders, such as elected student leaders on campus are also necessary to the body. Without even realizing it, the student body relies on the student leaders for answers, for their voices and for help. We know a lot about things before other students do. Our role is to be someone that people can trust and someone that can help other students, in whatever way our role requires us to. We strive to be a safe space for everyone around us. The most important thing to me personally is to be able to help. I want everyone to feel like they can rely on me and on any of us for anything they may need. The system works well, yet can be improved if residents and students are able to know their student leaders better. I feel like the fault in the system is that not everyone knows who all the RAs are, and who all the people in office are. There needs to be more meet and greets, more town halls with student leaders to hear what the students want as a collective and more communications between all of the student leaders to work together to make these things happen for the students.”
Dovid Price (SSSB ‘24)
“The issue as I see it is that there are two groups of student leaders: those who work hard and those who just exist. Winning an uncontested race to be VP of Sophomore class events and doing nothing all year except a day in the life Instagram takeover doesn't mean you're a student leader and it's a useless position. However many student leaders do a fantastic job. I know in Syms we have a great student government this year that works hard and has done a great job this year.”
Amira Isenberg (SCW ‘24)
“Student leaders mainly serve as a connection between the student body and the administration, giving us a more accessible way of communicating. I think the current system could be improved by making it more clear who the student leaders actually are and what each of their specific roles/areas of influence are.”
Eli Saperstein (SSSB ‘23)
“Student government needs to be given more independence, more funding and more power to advocate on behalf of the student body they represent in order to be independent of the YU administration and actualize what students need and want to accomplish for our campus, our community and our Yeshiva University.”
Yitzy Warren (SSSB ‘24)
“Two biggest problems with the current system are OSL and the student body. I would say OSL is 20% and the student body is 80%. OSL will prohibit events that don’t align with yeshiva values even though the vast majority of students on campus would be more than willing to participate in the activities. And we have a student body that never wants to be on campus. People leave early Thursday and don’t come back until late Sunday. Which means there are only 3 nights a week to schedule an event. Which means lots of conflicts. In addition, they refuse to allow comedy open mics unless all comedians submit routines in advance for approval. OSL has refused to provide me with a list of rules for appropriate content and hasn’t responded to multiple emails in which I offered to help draft the rules.”
Gaby Rahmanfar (SCW ‘24)
Biology and Judaic Studies
“A student leader at YU should ensure that s/he is representing the voice of the student body and see that the needs and concerns of every type of student are addressed. Within the current system, there's a gap between the religious programming and the secular programming. There needs to be a cohesive synthesis between all programming that goes on in YU, both religious and secular.”
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Photo Caption: Wilf Campus
Photo Credit: The Commentator