News’ View: Hassan Alkazemi ’13 for UOFC Chair

Both of this year’s candidates to chair the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee (UOFC), Hassan Alkazemi ’13 and Allen Granzberg ’13, are interested in improving transparency and accountability on the committee, and both have been on either side of the all-too-complicated process for requesting funds. But we believe that Alkazemi has the right ideas to make change happen.

Alkazemi will bring to the position experience handling finances for student organizations, experience with UOFC and, most importantly, effective ways to make the organization work better for students. He is thoughtful and knowledgeable about his proposed changes and the funding process in general, having experienced UOFC as a liaison and as a student trying to get funds. Those dual perspectives have shown Alkazemi the need to adjust the system and realistic ways to do so. He would make the website easier to navigate, improve orientation for organizations, better inform students of the funding opportunities available to them and increase technical support — all straightforward, doable ideas that add up to a UOFC that would be drastically more accessible and a easier source of help for organizations. Alkazemi is competent and passionate, and we are confident that he would have the leadership and drive to accomplish these changes and handle the UOFC overall as an effective organization.

This is no knock on the other candidate, Allen Granzberg ’13. He too has ample experience in UOFC and in other student organizations. And he too wants to make the UOFC more accessible to students. But he did not propose the same type of specific improvements or display the same passion to upgrade the UOFC as Alkazemi did. So while we are certain that Granzberg would make a generally competent chair, Alkazemi would combine that competence with change. He has has our endorsement and our vote.

Comments

  • Yalien13

    Good choice, YDN! Hassan will definitely make a huge difference in the UOFC.

  • user_name

    Surprised. Alkazemi needs to learn to speak within time constraints. Otherwise, not a bad choice.

  • yaleyale2012

    I’m really shocked by this. The endorsement doesn’t say anything concrete; Granzberg’s platform and proposals are just as good (if not better) than Alkazemi’s, and don’t get fair mention. Also, the difference in experience is completely glossed over. Granzberg has 2 years on the UOFC and experience in capital equipment. While I understand experience isn’t everything, it’s certainly worth considering, especially for a position that’s so specific in its responsibilities. Apparently Alkazemi has more “passion,” but what does that mean? Personally, I don’t think he’ll do as good a job making the UOFC more approachable. Based on the endorsement meeting, he doesn’t seem to communicate ideas well or have a clear idea of how the system works. Granzberg seems to have a better grasp on the position and better communication skills (important for improving “transparency and accountability”).

  • YaleMoney2012

    Excellent! Hassan will do great! Alkazemi’s platform is well thought-out and has more practical applications. I read it and I have to admit he has novel ideas such as the storage space one and the video on the website. I personally have had issues applying for funding this past year and I am glad that he has taken genuine points of concerns and found practical solutions to them. I believe Hassan’s year as treasurer not on the UOFC and one year on the UOFC has given him an insight to how troublesome it can be to get funding at Yale without prior knowledge (he has an unbiased point of view) . Go YDN!

  • SeniorYalie1

    I completely disagree. The endorsement makes perfect sense. More experience in a system that is clearly outdated and in dire need of reform, amidst inaction is not a plus (Joel Klein had no experience at ALL in education before doing amazing with work with the NY public school system) . After two years in the system Granzberg has done NOTHING. After being for only one year in the system AlKazemi has decided to step up and make some desperately needed changes, and yes with a lot of passion and enthusiasm which is MUCH needed to push reform efforts forward and motivate people to move a long with creativity and innovation.

    In addition, AlKazemi’s suggestion such as storage space for groups shows a clear understanding, not only of how UOFC can better serve Yale undergrads but a clever understanding of the importance of capital and physical space in institutionalizing organizations and ensuring their sustainability. I know that AlKazemi if elected will do a great job in making UOFC more transparent, helpful, and more customer-oriented.

  • AllenGranzberg

    In the interest of accurate information, I do not think it is fair to say that I have done NOTHING on the UOFC board for the past two years. I have worked extensively on the capital equipment program and the directors can attest to that. I have met with the Yale Business Office to understand the problems that face groups and make it easier for them to receive funding. Although experience is not everything, anyone on the board can tell you that I actively participate in meetings and am dedicated to this organization. If you have questions, I would be more than happy to talk to you; just shoot me an email at allen.granzberg@yale.edu. For voters, I urge you to read both platforms and make a decision; please contact me with suggestions or ideas. I am always interested in improvements.

    Thank you for reading,
    Allen Granzberg

  • user_name2

    Being innovative does not mean being practical. Hassan’s ideas are impractical and lacks research. If you want a Chair that gives you false promises, then go ahead.

    1) Storage space is not innovative because UOFC already has 2. Allen knew that.

    2) Video on the website was not Hassan’s idea, it was somebody on the UOFC board, they were already going to do it from what I hear. Allen didn’t see the need to state the obvious

    3) “Allen has done NOTHING”, seriously? Have you ever been to the NOW dance? Guess who did that—Allen Granzberg, single-handedly. And he has been advising students for 2 years, guess how many groups that is

    Allen’s ideas are actually doable and he will get it done.

  • yaleyale2012

    In response to YaleMoney2012:

    While Alkazemi’s platform does have many great ideas, Granzberg’s does as well. I have them both open side-by-side right now. My major problem with this endorsement is that it praises Alkazemi’s platform without acknowledging that Granzberg’s platform is equally praiseworthy. Many of their points are the same: Granzberg also calls for more frequent training sessions (he calls them “meetings,” but if you read the platform, they’re essentially training sessions) and for “office hours.” Alkazemi wants to improve the website with a video, Granzberg wants to improve it with a discussion forum. Different solutions to the same website problem. Alkazemi wants to help groups cut costs by informing them of preexisting money-saving options. Granzberg wants to help groups cut costs by expanding successful Allegra discount the UOFC began this year and including eateries and other printing establishments. Again, both solutions to the same problem. I would argue that Granzberg’s is actually stronger, since he plans to gain new ways to save and to expand upon an already-successful initiative. While Alkazemi’s plan is well-intentioned, I don’t think it will help save very much money. I’ve spoken to friends in Dwight Hall groups and they already know about the free printing and cars they can get. I realize that’s one example, but I think it’s more worthwhile for a UOFC chair to focus on improving UOFC initiatives, not merely publicize preexisting discounts from other campus entities. Alkazemi plans to improve the Capital Equipment Program by making a student job to assist groups with equipment rentals. To my knowledge, there already is a student job associated with this task. While it could be improved or expanded, consider Granzberg’s plan to improve the equipment rental system: publicizing concise information about setup and operation for all the equipment, so that groups know what they are getting, what is available in the first place, and how to set it up. This could eliminate the need for student workers in most cases, and is a much simpler, less costly, and more practical solution. Granzberg also proposes to create a simpler interface for reserving equipment that, combined with his proposed meetings and office hours, will undoubtedly make the whole process simpler. l honestly find this approach to be much more practical than the hiring of student workers. Alkazemi’s plan is akin to treating symptoms of a confusing system, whereas Granzberg’s is akin to curing the confusing system altogether. Lastly, as much as you claim Alkazemi’s platform to be “practical,” I’ll point out the impracticality of his storage space proposal. Where will this space come from? How will it be kept secure and how will groups access it when it’s convenient for them? Why not utilize the spaces already available elsewhere on campus (ie within the residential colleges?) I agree storage space is an issue, but this solution is in no way practical.

  • yaleyale2012

    Why am I enumerating all these platform items? To point out that the endorsement and many of the comments above do NOT present a fair or thoughtful assessment of the candidates or issues. Alkazemi does have a good platform, but Granzberg’s is just as good, if not better. I urge voters to read the platforms and judge the merits and “practicality” themselves.

    In response to SeniorYalie1:

    It is completely unfair and untrue to say that Granzberg “has done NOTHING” on the UOFC. I know many people he has consulted about funding and know he has pushed for more flexible funding decisions in cases where it was appropriate and fair. Unless you’re on the UOFC yourself and have witnessed some sort of inaction, I don’t think you can make that kind of claim. Furthermore, while I agree that experience is not everything, it is not a bad thing (as you imply.) The UOFC does need to be improved, but in order to do so, a UOFC Chair must understand the system and its problems to begin with. Otherwise, any attempted improvements or changes may end up misinformed, inefficient, impossible to complete. I have read platforms, spoken to people who know both candidates personally, and attended the endorsement meeting. By all accounts, while Alkazemi is definitely well-intentioned and has good ideas, he simply does not display the same understanding of the current UOFC system. At the endorsement meeting, he had a harder time answering questions about why he planned certain initiatives or how he planned to implement them, whereas Granzberg was able to articulate the reasoning behind his platform and to explain exactly how he would see them through. I confirmed this impression with several other spectators. My point here is that Granzberg has the knowledge and communication skills necessary to identify problems, propose practical solutions, and see them through. To claim that knowledge and experience inhibits positive change seems misinformed and biased. Lastly, while I’m sure Alkazemi does have a lot of “passion and enthusiasm,” Granzberg does as well. Every person I talk to thinks so. Perfectly valid to claim those important qualities for Alkazemi, but I wonder why the endorsement ignored that Granzberg has them, too, without any reasoning or proof.

  • YaleMoney2012

    I think everyone is being too dramatic here. No one cares what you think. Yes it was wrong to say Allen did nothing, but at the same time, that does not justify his friends attacking Alkazemi because of something a random person said. None of you gives a clear argument – and clearly none of you has read either candidates statements but just glossed over briefly. If I were one of you, and as the consensus seems to be that both candidates are good, I think that supporting Alkazemi is justified. You guys should just chill and be proud that there are Yalies willing to do the funding work for you.

    Regards.

  • yalie13

    The YDN should not be allowed to endorse. That’s just stupid.

  • EliYale13

    YaleMoney2012, I would just like to point out that nobody was attacking Alkazemi. Rather, a couple people actually presented a logical argument for their opinion based on a presented comparision of the platforms and personal experience. Their arguments were clear and supported by the evidence. The only person “glossing” over the platform information and not backing up their opinions is you. Are both platforms strong? Yes. Do they address the same problems? Yes. In yaleyale2012’s opinion was Granzberg’s platform stronger? It appears so.

    My criticism comes in the YDN’s presentation of this article. To base an endorsement on “passion” is fine and dandy, but it would have more on an effect if specific examples were presented where Alkazemi’s platform was superior to Granzberg’s. This was not presented in a clear manner, and that is the YDN’s fault.

    We all know there are people on either side who will support Alkazemi or Granzberg based on personal friendships etc. but I encourage people to do what yaleyale2012 has done. Thoroughly read the platforms, think through how you would handle the situation, the pros and cons of each plan, and use that information, not necessarily other people’s (including the YDN’s) personal opinions, to inform your decision.

  • YaleMoney2012

    In response to EliYale13 and yaleyale2012:

    “Where will this space come from?” – Read the platform. “I will push for the introduction of a designated storage space for student organizations to be used over the summer after the meticulous evaluation of the current analogous YCC initiative.” – i.e. West Campus.

    “Why not utilize the spaces already available elsewhere on campus?” – My organization couldn’t find storage space on campus. We had to distribute equipment among ourselves and take that home with us over the summer. Impractical much? Needless to say, some equipment never made it back to campus or made it back in more than one piece. Alkazemi’s adresses this issue eloquently.

    “Alkazemi plans to improve the Capital Equipment Program by making a student job to assist groups with equipment rentals. To my knowledge, there already is a student job associated with this task.” – Have you worked with the Capital Equipment program dear? There is only one person who works there right now – and our organization had issues scheduling the transport of that equipment because of this. We had to set it up ourselves as well, and let me tell you, that was no fun job.

    “Alkazemi’s plan is akin to treating symptoms of a confusing system, whereas Granzberg’s is akin to curing the confusing system altogether” – oh, so Granzberg’s is more efficient because he adds MORE stuff to the already confusing website. Nice. Alkazemi – practical solution. Clear and effective.

    The YDN bases their endorsement on the interiew they have with the candidates each year. There is no doubt in my mind that they picked the candidate who got his/her ideas across clearly and effectively to them. Alkazemi seems to have done a better job at his interview. All the best to both candidates.

  • EliYale13

    YaleMoney2012, all I was asking was that you presented your evidence for your opinion. Thank you.

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