OUSC special election: how to vote, meet the candidates


Noora Neiroukh

Presidential and vice presidential candidates Andrew Romano and Murryum Farooqi.

For the first time since 1982, Oakland University Student Congress (OUSC) is having a special election to elect a new president and vice president. Voting opened Thursday, Oct. 7 and will continue until Thursday, Oct. 14. Students who want to vote can do so at this link.

While there is an option to write in candidates, with two candidates dropping out before the tickets were finalized, current OUSC Judicial chair Andrew Romano and Director of Diversity & Inclusion Murryum Farrooqi are running unopposed for president and vice president. Their ticket also features current Interim President and Steering Chair of the Legislature Jeremy Johnson running for Speaker of the Legislature, as well as Nayah Pitts and Amir Richards both running for positions as Legislators.

Specifics of Romano/Farooqi’s platform can be found here, but generally they’re running on the goal of making college more affordable for students. With goals like increased sustainability, raising the wages of student workers and fighting for transparency from the administration — if elected, they plan to use their influence to redirect tuition dollars in a way that benefits students. Their vision for the organization is to move it away from hosting events, and move toward being a real governing body that represents students.

“We want [OUSC] to function like a student congress, not just to do events,” Farooqi said. “We’re trying to advocate for the students and we don’t want to stop at, ‘oh [the] administration said this.’ We want to really try to push the administration.”

They see communication currently between OU administration and the students as a “deteriorating” relationship. If elected, they plan to use their positions to give students a voice and to advocate for more direct action from the university about student concerns.

“It’s not deteriorating on a personal level, but on a level of action, yeah, there’s a lot less action being done,” Romano said. ‘There’s a million committees, and [the administration] just keeps adding committees for things. I see committees as inaction at this point … On Earth Day [President Pescovitz] announced this Grizzlies healthy planet initiative and made a bunch of committees. But we still don’t have an office for sustainability on campus. We’re one of the few universities in Michigan that doesn’t have a dedicated office for sustainability. So we’re not actually paying people to focus on sustainability … It’s like, where are we putting our money? … We usually don’t see … much action taking place [about] student concerns.”

Romano and Farooqi are both relative newcomers to OUSC, having joined the organization last May. They see fresh voices and ideas as a vital part of transforming OUSC. The candidates for Legislators on their ticket, Pitts and Richards, reflect that vision.

“They’re both brand new. They’ve never been in student Congress,” Romano said. “… Mainly they want to come in and they want to see change. So it very much fits our platform [and] our vision pursuit [of OUSC], which is a new leaf, we’re turning over a new page.”

Those who cast a ballot, will also have the option to vote on two different referendums — C.B. 22-22 which aims to edit Article I of OUSC’s Constitution and C.B. 22-23 which aims to assimilate the language in OUSC’s Constitution with language in their Bylaws pertaining to committees. For more information on those referendums, you can visit this link.

Following a Legislator strike over unpaid wages, all but one member of the E-Board have resigned since the beginning of the fall semester. Whoever wins the election will be tasked with rebuilding the organization mid-fall semester. OUSC’s validations hearing will take place Friday, Oct. 15 and the tentative date for inauguration is Monday, Oct. 18.