Mike Kerns speaks out

Mike Kerns, outgoing VP of the Brandeis University Student Union, just made a powerful endorsement of Adam Hughes for the same position. Read it for yourself:


I wholeheartedly endorse Adam Hughes to succeed me as Vice President. He is a candidate who can truly represent the ‘deis student body and help to guide our Student Union in progressive, truly constructive directions. I have come to know Adam as a selfless individual who has within him all that a true leader requires. While we often find the work of the Student Union to be distant from us, there are a great many impactful issues that need be addressed, and we need Adam to stand for student rights, we need Adam to stand up to the administration when students are barred from campus unduly with their academic careers on the line…we need Adam. There is no question in my mind that he is up to the job, and I respectfully urge you to VOTE NOW (http://union.brandeis.edu/elections/FA08-3/vp#) for Adam. He is simply the candidate I trust to carry on as guardian of our values, our interests, and our community’s priorities as Brandeis’ next Student Union Vice President!

If you’re looking for the candidate whose platform represents who he truly is and what he truly stands for, Adam Hughes is your only choice. He is the activist who actually does more than pay lip service to our community’s concerns at election time. He portrays himself as the individual he actually is as opposed to the candidate painting himself over and pandering at election time. Adam is the candidate who has actually worked hard on the issues touted now by his primary opponent at election time.

I know because I pioneered many of these issues through the Union last year, including gender-neutral housing, tolerance for individual identity, an environmentally friendly campus-wide initiative, a resolution calling for endowment transparency, etc. And I have experienced our candidates in action. Adam is the one for us.

Respectfully, there is a reason Andrew Brooks was voted out of his senate seat last spring, and there is a reason he was so unsuccessful in his previous bid for VP.

That’s how it’s done y’all.

One and a half hours left before the polls close.


10 thoughts on “Mike Kerns speaks out”

  1. Eric,

    I totally value your judgement, but I think you’re way off on this one. Mike did not attack Andrew’s character except in its relation to how he conducted himself as a Senator. His examples were numerous – and all related to how Brooks would do his job. Andrew actually went to the freshmen quads two days ago, gathered a gang of people together, and stood outside Carrie’s door for a full half-hour and “demanded an apology” while his friends yelled insults at her. All because she wrote here on IP that she didn’t support him. The CA on duty described them all as an “angry mob.” That’s scary and intimidating, and in my opinion enough to disqualify him from the race outright. Brooks is no diplomat who builds bridges – he claims to desire reconciliation, but nothing he’s done so far has proven that.

    Yeah, Mike was a little vicious for a few lines…

    …his ego is unjustifiably selfish and his judgment in interpersonal affairs is nauseatingly poor.

    But he did give reasons for why he says that. Especially considering the actual baseless personal attacks in the comments against Mike dealing with his resignation, I don’t blame him for letting out what he really – and with good reason – thinks of Brooks. Some of us may have to be diplomatic, but Mike is telling it like it unfortunately is.

  2. I want to make it clear that Mike’s statements represent his personal feelings and do not represent my views in any way. I consider myself a friend of Andrew’s, and I think that he will make a very good vice president if he is elected. I obviously feel that I have certain qualifications and experiences that ultimately make me the most suitable candidate for the position, but I think Andrew Brooks’ record in the Senate shows an incredible passion and commitment to the Brandeis student body. He is a genuinely good and talented person, and if I am elected Vice President, I hope he and his supporters have a large role to play in shaping the agenda for the Student Union.

    The chief benefit of an open forum like Innermost Parts is that everyone has an opportunity to state their opinions in a public way. This can also be its biggest drawback. Mike Kerns is also a friend of mine, but he is not a campaign surrogate. I deeply appreciate his endorsement and his support, but his comment should be read as a personal statement rather than any reflection of my views.

  3. Mike,

    It is one thing to criticize Brooks on a political level, but your hyperbole directed against the PERSON of Andrew Brooks is uncalled for in a Student Union election. I’m sure your portrayal of Brooks as a selfish egotist and Hughes as a selfless saint is in no way WHATSOEVER a simplification. Maybe you feel that you are a better person than Brooks. From my experiences with him, I know that he expresses great passion about Union issues to those he disagrees with, but I have never known him to make an intentionally hurtful attack as you have done here.

    I was really questioning myself whether I should even respond to this. If you were some anonymous poster, I wouldn’t have. But you are a former VP (or at least VP elect), and this kind of trash hurts the Student Union, which I am still invested in as you know. I don’t believe anyone thinks we need this kind of hurtful discourse in our student life, whether someone is running for “public office” or not.

    Adam – considering you are running for one of the biggest leadership roles in the Student Union, I sincerely hope you distance yourself from these kind of attacks. If you win, you’ll find yourself leading a group of people composed of many friends of Andrew Brooks, including myself. Your activist cause certainly won’t be helped by promoting this kind of divisiveness. I’m sure you are a nice guy, and I’ll look forward to working with you if you do win.


  4. Michael

    I sincerely feel that you are chronically overstating things and making gross exaggerations of matters of not such extreme significance. Whatever your views on Brooks role in the senate and in power, your word choice and tone display a personal hatred for him that go above and beyond what anyone should see in something as overall small as an elected student government position. Using such words as harassment and grossly attributing destructive ends to Brook’s actions is almost comic and moreover extremely petty.

    To deny any student the ability to call themselves an agent of change based on our very limited resumes at college is silly. Both Brooks and Huges are extremely involved on this campus and active in their own ways. They both have a right to call themselves leaders for this campus. Aside from showing a penchant for dogmatic adherence to the rules and sense of formalism, Brooks has done nothing to harm the Brandeis community and probably quite a bit to its benefit. Despite my own personal, ad very clearly stated in Justice opinion pieces of yore, objections to some of Brooks actions as a senator, none of your examples above have really shown otherwise.

  5. 1. It is entirely appropriate to question my failure to keep my commitment to serve out my term as Vice President. I should like to hope that this question’s answer exists within the vicinity of the same judgment and trust afforded me on election day last spring.

    2. Andrew Brooks has expended great effort and acquired certain institutional knowledge throughout his several years serving as a member of our Student Union.

    3. I have experienced Andrew. His ego is unjustifiably selfish and his judgment in interpersonal affairs is nauseatingly poor, for either his ability or willingness to appreciate divers diverse perspectives is yet underutilized. He is, in my experiential opinion, often inauthentic, myopic, and incorrigible.

    I expect explicit enumeration will be helpful to the skeptical some to enunciate my sentiments and demonstrate the substantive nature of my impression summarized above, and so I have offered an enumerated list at the bottom of my post here.

    4. I have experienced Adam. His ego is admirably selfless and his judgment in interpersonal affairs is notable, for his ability and willingness to appreciate divers diverse perspectives is well-exercised and fundamental. He is, in my experiential opinion, always authentic, open-minded, and cooperative.

    5. Union membership is to be a ready and educational opportunity in collaborative advancement, not a prohibitively impenetrable incumbent right.

    **Andrew Brooks can contribute his institutional knowledge through selfless advising and participation in Senate committees. He has his merits, as does every individual, however he is not-by my standards-a demonstrated leader in the significant sense. I sincerely regret this feature of his present accumulated circumstance. I simply cannot sign on to his desire to represent the Brandeis community through a central leadership role at this time.

    Further, I find it interesting and frustrating that Andrew’s platform mimics mine, emphasizing ACTIVISM & COMMUNITY. That WAS my campaign, and while I approve of his adoption of values I hold nearest, I cannot help but question his campaign strategy and choose to support instead Adam Hughes, whose campaign platform, message, and strategy I know to be a genuine and direct extension of who he is and what he stands for, and which I know to be lacking an exceedingly pandering spirit.


    – The time Andrew vehemently opposed penalty for his good friend and then Student Union Secretary Michael Goldman, who, in his capacity as Chief of Elections directly violated the Union Constitution in multiple and every election he had overseen to that point. The violation was a serious one, and is directly enumerated as a contradiction of his duty: not to disclose vote tallies to individuals not serving on the election commission during ongoing elections. For clarification of why this is significant, consider running in an election and knowing prior to poll closings exactly how many more votes you need to earn to secure a victory.

    – The time Andrew passionately denied charter of a club I was involved in supporting fair elections in government (incidentally coming for charter the week after the Michael Goldman debacle was settled, with Andrew and I at vehement opposition). Not only did he vote and speak excessively opposing charter, but he quashed discussion with more than half a dozen speakers in favor yet to speak. He later expressed contrition, and it was the general sentiment that the wrong decision had been made at the time.

    – The time Andrew heightened tensions to a destructive end when there was a private issue of racism being discussed among Senate members. After a long discussion with another Senator and Jamele Adams at which the issue was all but resolved, he could not help but feel compelled to re-open the issue in a public setting, in my opinion, for no other reason and to no greater end than to “get his rocks off.” In this same instance, he became so caught up in his own interpretation and self-righteous tirade that he denounced interpretations other than his calling them “impossible.” Andrew denies the voice and perspective of others, whether because he does not know any better or for some other reason, I cannot say.

    – The time he lost his senate seat because he harassed a student and she became disgusted upon learning that he was her representative. In this instance, Andrew inappropriately pressed the student, who was seeking to have her club chartered, because he was unable to keep his personal views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict out of his Senate work. He sought to deny the club charter because it used the word “Palestine” in it’s name and he does not believe such a place exists and that therefor it would be misleading and engaging in the spread of “misinformation” to condone the creation of a club including that word in it’s name. In this instance, two Union Presidents and two Union Vice Presidents (if I am to be included, though I was a Senator at the time) sat Andrew down in a room and attempted to talk through the issue and explain why it was that his actions were viewed as extremely inappropriate.

    – The time Andrew harassed a freshman girl (this past Monday night) in her dorm subsequent her posting her opinions regarding the the current election on this very website! Disciplinary action is currently under consideration.

    I could go on, and on, and on, and on (sadly). But hopefully these instances may suffice to help convey how it is that I have come to feel as I feel, reason as I reason, and own the perspective I do regarding Andrew Brooks. This is election time, this is my time to speak up, and it is not I who have made this personal, it is Andrew whose personal carriage, which hugely impacts his Union work, has been greatly disappointing and, in my opinion, often harmful.

  6. Welcome, Vice-President David, to Innermost Parts! We’re happy to have your words of wisdom regarding the position that you know so well. It’s certainly better than that last guy who just happened to leave for his own reasons.

    Oh wait…

  7. Stop trying to prop up Mike Kerns as some sort of “authority” on VP related issues. To say Mike Kerns “has a better sense than anyone of the requirements for the position” is extremely mistaken. After being elected VP near end of the spring semester, Kerns chaired only 1 full senate meeting before summer break. Eric Alterman has already chaired 3 such meetings. Eric has been doing the VP’s work much longer than Kerns, giving Eric a much better sense of what is required of the job than Kerns. The most notable thing Kerns ever did as VP was resign after barely starting his term. Pathetic.

  8. Eric,

    I think you and I define “experience” in different ways. For you, experience is rigid, and the only way to satisfy your requirement is to have held a seat on the Union Senate. For me, experience is expressed in a proven ability to lead, to bring people together, and to create positive change on campus, regardless of the forum. I don’t presume to be the most experienced candidate by your definition, but I hope I have proven an ability to serve as a leader under mine, and I think that mine is the one that Brandeis students truly care about.

    I have been involved with leadership roles in a variety of different campus groups. I have experience leading performance groups (as a director for Brandeis Ensemble Theater), culture groups (as an E-Board member of the Mixed Heritage Club and an ICC representative), publications (as an editor with the Brandeis Hoot), activist groups (as a policy group leader with Students for Environmental Action), and athletic groups (as a vice president for the Squash Club). This gives me the unique ability to be an advocate on the Student Union for the huge Brandeis population each of these categories of clubs represent.

    As a former Student Union Vice President, Mike Kerns has a better sense than anyone of the requirements of the position, and I am honored by the fact that he considers me capable of filling the role. Kerns was elected by the Brandeis students for his judgment and activist passion, and I intend to serve as a natural continuation of this.

    The Brandeis Student Union can be a broken, divided organization at its worst, and many students feel that the Union has not done enough to respond to their actual problems. I’m not sure why you assume that the solution to this is to promote from within. I think the Union would benefit far more from a fresh sense of leadership and experience, and I look forward to providing that change.


  9. As the person who has assumed the work of the Vice-President since the year began, I would like to offer my thoughts.

    Of course there is no position on Union that a first-timer cannot handle. That being said, some positions benefit from experience more than others, and the Vice President is certainly one of those positions. Additionally, the new VP will be required to step into this important leadership role much faster than other have in the past.

    I would not rule out the possibility that Adam could be a natural at Senate leadership and take to the role quickly — I would certainly do my best to catch him up and get him acquainted. However, I also see a decent chance that Adam would not take to the role so well or so quickly. Personally, I do not know of a VP who did not have any Union experience. Nothing against Adam, as I do not know him, but I would be skeptical of anyone who wanted to step into a major leadership role in an organization in which he had no experience, much less to step in later than usual.

    Andrew Brooks is a great candidate. Maybe he doesn’t share all the interests of the Activist community (however you define that), but I have known him personally over the past few years and he does care deeply about making Brandeis a better place. He has shown that he can work effectively with people with whom he disagrees. It was something I didn’t see from Adam Hughes based on the limited impression I received last year during the mean spirited campaign directed against Brooks.

    Mike, we have a lot of people on Union right now who are pursuing the issues you describe and plenty of very active clubs working on them. Of course you know I have a ton of respect for you and do not question your motives for taking of leave of absence. Regardless, your absence has affected the Union’s needs. What we need more than a strong advocate for your project interests (which will be pursued by the Union regardless of the VP-elect) is someone who is comfortable and experienced in the Union, and can step into a leadership role immediately. The Senate is going to grow enormously very soon when the remaining positions are filled, and Brooks’s experience will prove more valuable to the role than Adam’s activist interests.

    With that being said — Adam, I will look forward to working with you if you do win. If you don’t, you might wish to explore the Social Justice Committee of the Senate, where I believe you can help lead the Union in the activist goals you seek to promote.

    Best to Adam, Brooks and Mike,

    Eric Alterman
    Senator for Class of 2009
    Executive Senator

    All the best to Mike and the candidates,

    Eric Alterman
    Senator for Class of 2009
    Executive Senator

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