The Faculty-Student Association (FSA) re-elected faculty member Barbara Chernow for a third term as president of the executive board on Friday, October 7. The final vote was six to five, an unusually close margin considering Chernow’s opposing candidate was Stony Brook senior Moiz Khan Malik.
FSA runs several programs and services for Stony Brook including Campus Dining facilities and meal plans, the bookstore and student health insurance. FSA programs employ over 500 students around campus. For 2011, FSA’s assets totaled just over $47.5 million.
During Chernow’s last two terms as president, several large projects have taken place, the most costly being the renovation Kelly Dining, projected to be completed in 2013. The projected total cost for the project is $23 million, which will add approximately 11,000 sq. ft. to Kelly Dining. The board also passed the closing of Benedict Dining during Chernow’s last term.
Chernow, currently the vice president of facilities and services, has been a part of the faculty since 1998. The department oversees services areas, such as public safety, design and construction and environmental stewardship.
Eleven people vote for positions on the executive board: three faculty members who are elected by the University Senate, three undergraduate students and one graduate student, elected through student government and four administrators who are appointed by President Samuel Stanley.
Khan Malik, a senior history major, was the only other presidential candidate in the FSA election. Before that, Malik served as secretary for the board of executives. After losing to Chernow for the presidential election, Malik ran for vice president and was elected.
“It’s not a position that’s typically fought over,” Malik stated of the office of the vice president. He jokingly called it “the most useless position contrived to man,” in an attempt to quote John Adams. On a positive note, Malik said that the position is really what one makes of it.
The duties of the vice president include filling in for the president in the case of his or her absence and general housekeeping matters, including posting meeting minutes online. “It’s what others want or let you do,” Malik stated.
David Mazza, a senior computer science major, was one of the voting undergraduate students. Mazza said of the outcome of the presidential election, “I was very disappointed obviously. I was happy it was close. It almost made it harder to swallow.
“At the core of it, we just wanted a more fair and transparent process,” Mazza said. He added that along with the election of Moiz, he was hoping for FSA to become more student-focused, rather than administration-focused, citing the closing of Benedict Dining as an example. According to Mazza, the administration side of FSA proposed closing the dining hall as a way to save money. However, the ramifications for students were not fully thought out, and because the proposal was presented a week before the final meeting, there was not time to come up with a counterproposal, he said.
Mazza stated that over the last ten years FSA, an organization that he believes should serve the students primarily, has been controlled by the administration. Malik also pointed to this fact, citing the change in the amount of voting power students have compared to administrators; undergraduate students used to be given four votes in the election and graduate students two. Now undergraduates are given three, and graduate students are given one.
Chernow was not available for comment before publication.