The power to tax is the power to destroy.
The power of the purse is the power to create.
I am committed to creating and cultivating a stronger activist culture, a stronger progressive culture on campus. I want Brandeis University to conform to the ideals of the great Justice Louis Brandeis: values of activism, empowerment, true democracy, honest government. Brandeis valued the public good, the freedom of speech, and the rights and dignity of the individual. Justice Louis Brandeis was famous for his staunch opposition to concentrated power, his strong defense of individual liberty, and his dedication as a public advocate.
We are straying off that path.
The power of the purse is the power to create and to cultivate, to energize and engage.
Whenever I talk to leaders of activist groups on campus, the complaint is the same: “f-board fucked with us.” “f-board won’t fund our projects”. “f-boad really shortchanges activist groups”
Over at the Student Union, funding for “social justice” is 40% of the funding for E-board “outreach”, and less than 15% of the funding for the nebulous category of “services”.
At a time of low confidence in the Student Union, at a time following the Mike Goldman disgrace, at a time when the Student Union feels the need to spend seven times as much money on public relations than on social justice, we need more transparency in government, not less. The Student Body deserves to know what its elected officials are up to.
And yet, the Finance Board refuses to disclose its recusals. Essentially, the F-Board assures us: “Don’t worry, we’ll handle all conflict-of-interest cases ethically. Trust us. And also we refuse to let you check up on us as well”. I’m sorry, but after Mike Goldman, blind trust (which is never good enough) must clearly become a thing of the past. As they say in the industry, “Trust, but Verify”. Without the latter, we cannot have the former.
The power of the purse is the power to create. That great power cannot operate in the dark.
“Sunlight is the best disenfectant” –Justice Louis Brandeis
For all these reasons, it is time to announce that I, Sahar Massachi, am running to become a member of the Finance Board of the Student Union of Brandeis University for the 2008-2009 term. I run on the principles of openness, integrity, and transparency. I run to re-nurture the activist spirit on campus. I run because I am a patriotic Brandesian: I may not agree with current policy and trends, but I love the founding principles of this University and will fight deeply to defend them.
I have no great wish to work long hours throughout the year. The idea of cutting my vacation early due to F-Board responsibilities is not a pleasant one. I have no love of finances or long meetings. Yet I am no armchair general, asking others to run for office while I do not. I am not very good at getting elected for things; I believe in my cause, so I will try regardless. If you also believe in the cause of F-board transparency and a more perfect Union, won’t you please lend me a hand?