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New President Isn’t Aloof, He’s Maloof

In a heated and highly contested election that had people on both sides scrambling for votes, the candidate that some saw as the underdog and others as the students’ last chance came out on top by more than 400 votes.

Mark Maloof, a one-time ballroom dancer and Resident Assistant, can now add President of the Undergraduate Student Government to his resume. When he takes office in the fall, Maloof plans on reshaping USG into a friendlier place and working towards running a more efficient student government.

“I was packing for alternative spring break and I got a text message that said ‘Congrats,’ so I didn’t really believe it,” Maloof said. “I tried to stay really calm but that didn’t last very long.”

When the phone calls and texts continued to pour in, Maloof ran upstairs to tell his Residence Hall Director that he would need to find a different place to live next year because he couldn’t be an RA anymore, saying he wants to dedicate all of his free time to USG and that being an RA would interfere too much.

The highly contested election ended with Maloof receiving 1173 votes and Khan receiving 768. Khan believes a lot played into this.

“It’s much easier to run a campaign on promises than it is to run a campaign pragmatism, its easier to say we want hope and change and we want love and peace and all of this stuff,” Khan said. “It’s harder to argue to people that we are actually doing a fairly decent job in comparison to previous years, let us stay for another year.”

He also says that unpopular decisions and actions he took during he tenure in USG probably had a lot to do with the outcome.

“There was probably many people who went in specifically to vote against me because of things I have done,” he added.

Maloof, unlike his opponent, is a fresh face in USG, but feels that will only work in his advantage. His thought process behind running came from a need to bring what he had learned from being an RA to USG.

“I wanted to bring that res [residential]  life feel to USG: that you can always come to the office if you have any questions, that you will always find a friendly face,” Maloof said. “The senators and the council are expected to do what they can in your best interest because at the end of the day they work for you.”

With plans to have the first Senate meeting in the fall to be on the Staller steps, Maloof is hoping to create a much more transparent and open USG.  However, some believe Maloof will have a harder time doing so than he thinks.

“My initiatives, to a large extent, have been very simple in philosophy and I don’t think Mark deviates from that,” Khan said. “I think his main point of contention has been how to communicate with the student body and how to hold a dialog with the student body. And I think he will find it’s much harder than he thinks.”

Deborah Machalow, the current and newly elected Executive Vice President, was in an Honors College town hall meeting when she found out that the United Student Party took the Executive Council and the Senate.

“I ended up taking out my netbook and I sat there pressing refresh, refresh, refresh, and when I saw that Mark won this huge smile came on my face,” Machalow said.

Machalow said she has a plan for a new constitution that she hopes to work on next semester.  As it currently stands, USG’s current constitution is virtually unamendable as it currently stands. To be ratified, an amendment needs a two-thirds vote from the entire student body, and when about 2,000 people make up the highest voter turnout in years, it is unlikely that such a vote is possible.

“We did feel like we were the underdogs because we did have fewer incumbents running,” Machalow said. “But as it turns out, that worked to out benefit because the student body was not happy with the way things were.”

According to Machalow, a rewrite of the financial bylaws is in the works for next fall. Currently, clubs ask for a larger budget than they need, with the hopes that they will get an amount closer to what they actually want. The goal is to provide a set of bylaws that will fairly distribute the budget and accurately let clubs know what they will be getting.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are academic issues that Maloof and his party want to take on. USG has seats on various academic boards including the University Senate and Undergraduate Council, which have never been filled.

“The voice of the students are not heard at those committees because no one ever goes,” Maloof said.

A major hole some feel will be left is the Student Programing Board Director, the position now held by Khan, who has been largely responsible for bringing big-name acts to campus such as Bruno Mars.

Though he is not promising anyone positions, Maloof has his ideas of who he wants in the position. Though it is a presidential appointment, he wants to consult the people that have been organizing events and the SPA director. He also said he wanted people with varying tastes in music, so that there won’t just be one group represented, when it comes to booking musical acts.

“You can’t just pick and choose who you want and just force two people into a position and say battle it out,” Maloof said. “To me, that’s not fair. I think it decreased the work ethic, and then people fight and blur the line of what their roll is and what the role of the other person is.”

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