USG spring 2023 candidate previews


Zachary Treseler, Staff Writer

With elections for officers of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) occurring April 14-15, The Observer is profiling all the candidates running for executive positions. Students can vote at


The President of USG is the most direct leader to undergraduates at CWRU. The president represents, at all times, the best interests of the students and works to ensure student representation to other administrative and governmental bodies at CWRU. They are responsible for guiding and directing all USG matters, including issues brought forth by undergraduate students, faculty, staff and USG representatives to the USG as a whole.

Basil Yaseen

Basil Yaseen is a third-year student studying economics and biology on the pre-med track. Beginning his tenure in University Student Government as a first-year representative, he served as a treasurer during his second year and the Vice President of Finance this academic year. In this role, Yaseen has rebuilt relationships with the Student Executive Council (SEC) and streamlined the process for club funding. Now he is proposing increasing requirements for new clubs in order to avoid non-active clubs from taking up USG time and funding. His platform is focused on fixing USG’s communication with the student body along with the administration through greater conversation with President Kaler and bimonthly emails to the students about progress in USG. Yaseen also aims to limit tuition costs through indexed tuition, wherein scholarships increase at the same rate tuition does. Such an idea, while “not a 100% fix” is still “a reasonable fix.”

Gauri Srikumar

Gauri Srikumar is a third-year biomedical engineering student at Case Western Reserve University. Her tenure in USG started as a General Assembly (GA) representative, before serving on the Academic Affairs committee as an engineering representative and then becoming VP of Academic Affairs, where she worked to change the Navigator program and increase peer mentorship on campus. She has “experience talking to admin[istration]” which can support the “bidirectional relationship between admin[istration] and USG.” Srikumar’s platform is to increase transparency between USG and the student body. For example, she hopes to host meetings where representatives can talk to their constituent students. She believes this will translate into greater communication between committees in USG. In all, her pitch is that “regardless of where or what the initiative is, the goal is for every student to feel like they belong here…and proud to be a [CWRU] student.”

VP of Academic Affairs

The VP of Academic Affairs is elected to gather the academic issues of the undergraduate student body and to resolve them by working with the appropriate CWRU administrators, deans and faculty. Additionally, the VP of Academic Affairs chairs the Academic Affairs committee. They are the sole undergraduate voice at the Faculty Senate.

Hayley Latta

Hayley Latta is a third-year classics and cognitive science student, currently studying abroad in Rome, but returning back to Cleveland next semester. She was previously a representative of the College of Arts and Science on the Academic Affairs committee, serving on the Faculty Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education, which was involved in the SAGES overhaul. She previously served as the VP of Academic Affairs in fall 2021, which is when she created a comprehensive list of humanities courses. She hopes to create a syllabus archive to increase transparency, especially regarding the Faculty Senate. Latta also hopes to oversee CWRU’s transition from SAGES to the Unified General Educational Requirements, and redevelop the relationship between Navigators, advisors and students.

Hyunjung Koo

Hyunjung Koo is a third-year nursing student at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. 

She started last year as a nursing representative on the Academic Affairs committee. Her platform is centered around improving “equity and inclusion in our campus [and] in our classrooms.” She wishes to include diversity, equity and inclusion segments in course evaluations, create safe spaces for students and allocate new accommodated testing spaces. Further, she believes “professors and staff and faculty have a responsibility to be held to a standard.” She is also worried about the increasing class sizes, and its impact on both lab and lecture space, as well as dining halls and study areas. 

Syed Sudman Zaman

Syed Sudman Zaman is a second-year psychology student. He has been in USG for the past two years, mostly involved in the Academic Affairs Committee and the Student Life Committee. He hopes to increase mental health resources on campus, the diversity of the student body and improve the Navigator program. He also wishes to increase communication between the administration and the student body.

VP of Communications

The VP of Communications is given the challenging responsibility of serving as the chief marketing and morale officer of the USG. The VP of Communications’ purpose is to bring transparent, relevant and up-to-date information to the student body, and to facilitate the receiving and processing of student body feedback. This individual must supervise the efforts of the Communications committee.

Tasfiqur Rob

Tasfiqur Rob is a second-year student majoring in computer science and political science. His previous experience in student government has been as a USG Engineering Representative on the Communications committee and sitting on the SEC Allocations Committee. His main platform is to bring back transparency, saying, “everyone and their grandmother says that I want to bring transparency,” and he seeks to achieve this by being more active on USG’s Instagram. He cited his own experience in digital marketing, saying, “I run a charity right now with 500 volunteers … I’ve done various things in the digital marketing space, including creating social media accounts to thousands of followers and managing digital marketing firms.” He also wants to increase cooperation between other board organizations, and also advocate for diversity, whether through administration or through initiatives like the USG Video Competition. He further promises “a working Public Access Drive” and “a way that people can stay up to date with the initiatives that these representatives and these committees are working on.” Rob believes in contacting students via social media, the USG website, email and through Feedback Fridays, which he is a big supporter of.

Zeynep Bastas

Zeynep Bastas is a second-year student majoring in electrical engineering and computer science. As a member of the Communications committee, she has been highly involved in creating the current email newsletters and tabling at Feedback Fridays. She aims to increase transparency through increased feedback surveys, events engaging the student body and a more detailed newsletter. She also wishes to have more USG clubs have “social media takeovers” so people learn about all the great student organizations here. Bastas also plans to revive the USG Facebook account, increase the organization of Feedback Fridays and use Instagram filters to engage the student body in new ways.

VP of Diversity and Inclusion

The Diversity and Inclusion committee serves to seek, advocate for and resolve concerns of marginalized students and promote an inclusive campus. They work closely with the administration, campus offices and student organizations. The VP of Diversity and Inclusion leads the committee in pursuing this advocacy and facilitates the collaboration between all mentioned entities. The VP’s role centers around gathering feedback from the student body and pursuing advocacy as it relates to this feedback.

Chize Ogbogu

Chize Ogbogu is a first-year representative serving on the USG Diversity and Inclusion (DNI) committee. She got involved in the DNI committee at the first few USG GA committees, where she spoke passionately about keeping the DNI committee as a committee, against proposals that would give all duties to a single Chief of DNI Officer. During her year at USG, Ogbogu worked on creating a “Student Advocacy Group,” working on greater “community standards” and an initiative to create a thrift store on campus known as the “Swap Shop.” She aims to use her voice as the VP of DNI to advocate for greater accessibility for physically impaired students and to urge the university to increase hiring of minority faculty. Further, Ogbogu is in favor of adding a residential community aimed at housing students of color. Ogbogu enourges “having more ways where people can learn about other people’s cultures … and also having the administration be a part of going to those types of events” as ways to increase awareness of other people’s backgrounds. 

Fatima Sagier

Fatima Sagier is a first-year student hoping to join USG for the first time. She aims to increase the diversity of organizations such as sororities on campus, have more inclusive cultural celebrations on campus and create greater connections between CWRU and Cleveland. As a Cleveland resident herself, she especially hopes to create a pamphlet of great Cleveland neighborhoods for students to go to in order to break CWRU’s image of the city it resides in.

Aizah Kamal

Aizah Kamal is a first-year student running for her first position in USG. She previously was the president of her high school’s Student Diversity Leadership Club. She hopes to increase accessibility for disabled students and promote a more inclusive campus culture.

VP of Finance

The VP of Finance is given the responsibility of serving as liaison to the USG-recognized student organizations. They serve as the chief financial officer of the USG. This individual supervises the efforts of the USG treasurers and corresponds with the department assistant in the Student Activities and Leadership Office to ensure club funding.

Marlee Yancey

Marlee Yancey is a second-year student in the College of Arts and Sciences, currently serving as a representative on the Finance Committee. Yancey is running because she feels it will be “really enjoyable to lead the committee” under the platform of increasing efficiency of the club funding process. She also hopes to continue improving USG’s relationship with the Allocations Committee and increasing the size of the Finance Committee to speed up the reimbursement process, while also “pruning out” clubs that are no longer active or holding major events. When asked about the increased amount of the Student Activity Fee that USG will be receiving, she aims to split it between rolling and mass funding, with a little allocated to co-sponsorships, though that is not the primary focus of her position. 

VP of Student Life

The Vice President of Student Life serves as one of the primary liaisons between students and administration on all matters related to campus life. This VP is the head of the Student Life committee, which works to ensure that all students on campus have the best possible experience at CWRU. Examples of Student Life initiatives include campus safety and security, student health and wellness, campus transportation, school spirit and campus food, among many other topics.

Mikhail Goldenberg

Mikhail Goldenberg is a second-year student and the incumbent VP of student life on USG, where he championed greater information about on-campus transportation, adjusting hours and menus of dining facilities and adding more vendors that accept CaseCash. As to why he is running for the same position, he is hoping to serve as a resource for new representatives joining, as “there’s such a big learning curve in the beginning, because there are so many administrators you need to meet.” He hopes that this will mean he can update the “onboarding and new membership orientation.” In addition, he hopes to keep USG at the forefront of student life discussions, especially as CWRU gets a new VP of Student Affairs, replacing the retiring Lou Stark. In terms of vital issues for student life, he identified food and health and counseling services. Through the legislative process he emphasized the importance of USG seeking “out students who are struggling and to hear them out,” especially regarding issues related to accessibility and disability resources on campus.