the canditate
of authenticity.

a vote for brian is
a vote for anarchy.

who is brian?

Brian Cordero is a Philosophy Major with Honors, and a Mellon Mays and CUNY Pipeline Fellow whose research focuses on psychiatric treatment within marginalized communities. As a member of the Puerto Rican Alliance's E-Board, Brian has experienced the failings and frustrations of Brooklyn College's bureaucracy and its negative influence on student-led and student-focused initiatives. As President, Brian is dedicated to making necessary changes to how CLAS operates for future generations of Brooklyn College students.

what will brian do?

Streamline the budget process to make it easier for students to access and utilize club resources and finances.

Making CLAS an organization that works for students, instead of operating as a student-lead administrative branch.

Emphasize real and authentic student-to-student interactions that does not require layers of bureaucracy.

Overtly protecting the safety and interests of Black students and students of color, LGBT+, women, and other marginalized groups and their activities.

Read Brian's response to Ethan (and his friends) below.

I’d like to preface this by saying I think that Ethan seems to represent a completely common voice among people inside CLAS government. They don’t know who I am, and as a result they are skeptical of someone who has not learned the complete rules of the CLAS government. Ethan asked me many questions which I will refer to as “quiz” questions. I'll give an example:

“Are you familiar with the student activity fee? The tech fee?”

This question is a dead end. There’s really nothing I can do with this except for a “yes”. These quiz questions have nothing to do with my candiancy, really, they are just attempts to prove that I don’t know anything about CLAS government. Some of these questions I know the answer to and many of them I just honestly don’t. Ethan literally told me he’s doing the presidency training! So I’m not going to waste my time trying to prove that I have the ins and outs of CLAS government mastered, but I don’t think this is something I have to be ashamed of. I don’t understand what kind of president-of-anything would feign knowledge over all things when I could just say, if I’m elected president, I'll take it as an opportunity to carefully listen and learn from anyone who has come before me. This is also why I picked Zaid as my VP. While he has not officially been in student government, he has a superior understanding of its more specific functions, which I can rely on when faced with issues I don’t understand. Hopefully one day that circle can include Ethan.

Another type of question Ethan asked me are more accusatory for lack of a better word. For example:

“Would you try to compromise the many initiatives we’ve already started by pushing for your own agenda?”

This is what I mean when I say Ethan is not only asking questions representing himself, but is representing a wider audience of people who are skeptical of a relative stranger stepping into the shoes of presidency. I'll just say this to answer all the questions that fit into the category of “accusatory”: Why would I do that? Why would I become president and put myself through all this trouble just to ruin things other students worked hard for? For example, the first question of his that I answered before I was barraged was about the government transition, which I’m aware that Nissim is currently working on. I have not seen the new government plan yet, but if it’s honestly better for the students, why would I stop it? Why would I go out of my way just to make life worse for other people? Frankly, it makes no sense, and as much I love to break useless bureaucratic rules I’m not in the business of stopping what helps students.

Now there’s also a third type of question Ethan asked of me. These are questions about what CLAS government did this year, and questions where there's no way anyone outside of CLAS can give a meaningful answer to. I'll call these “insider” questions. For example:

“What are a few of the internal struggles we’ve had to deal with within CLAS this year?”

I was not a part of CLAS government this year. I can’t talk about the internal struggles of CLAS government because they were internal by definition. Ethan’s use of the term “we” here also lends me to my original point that he’s speaking on behalf of the fears and suspicions of many people. Not just himself.

Now when I put aside the quiz questions, the accusations, and the insider questions it's impossible for me to have a meaningful answer, though there are still completely valid questions left. And I'll be answering them in Q and A format below:

“Your main proposal is that you will work harder to advocate and be a stronger voice for students. Can you give me examples of how the current leaders have failed in that regard?”

I'll give a personal example for this one. Dean Jackson of Student affairs had a meeting with the student clubs of the W.E.B building. This meeting was meant to voice student’s concerns about a series of renovations being done to their club rooms. During that meeting the current VP showed up and I honestly had no idea who she was. She was just...there. The meeting ended with basically none of the concerns being addressed and the entire group of students from many clubs feeling like they had wasted their time. I’m not going to say that the current leaders “failed”. They simply put their limited resource, which is time, in a certain direction. I know, for example, Nissim works intensively on guides for student government, and as mentioned before, he is overseeing a government transition. Also, there was participatory budgeting, which CLAS government took control of, despite many student’s wishes. So I’m sure all of these things overtook CLAS resources. What I’m simply saying is that this will be one of my top priorities and uses of my time, whereas different leaders put their energy in certain directions. I'll put my energy in the direction of the students.

“What are the top three things you wish to advocate for and what are biggest factors preventing to solution of those problems?”

I think this question misunderstands what I mean by advocating. I’m not going to pick my own agenda and put it in student’s mouths on my behalf, which is what I’ve seen previous CLAS leaders do on a regular basis. I’m going to advocate. I want more CLAS resources to be spent listening to students and their complaints and uplifting them. I can’t predict the complaints of every student and predict what will prevent us from finding solutions. If I could I’d, be a god.

“Most of the failure of transparency and communication can be blamed on the lack of manpower CLAS can sustain throughout the year. The workload becomes to large for a few student leaders to manage. What are the ways in which you would alleviate the pressure on student leaders and allow them to help students without getting negative feedback from the student body?”

I find this question to be very strange. It paints a picture of student leaders being separate from the student body. The question should not be “how do we get people to stop hurting CLAS students feelings,” but should be “why are students complaining? Can we be making better uses of our time and resources to more adequately address these complaints? If no students are joining CLAS to help, why is that?” I think the questions you’re posing, which paint CLAS government and the student body as being antagonistic towards each other, need to be challenged.

Now, I feel like directly or indirectly, I addressed the root issue of all the questions put forward by Ethan, but that’s not all! Ethan’s friend from his party ‘The Bulldog Alliance’ had a follow up:

“I'd be curious to hear the answers to this line of questioning. If Brian wants to be a more effective advocate for students, especially in regards to funding, he needs to know where and how to advocate. Who's responsible for funding CUNY, who's responsible for deciding how that money is spent, how to change those peoples' minds. Brian, if you are to be point on avocation for our campus, what is your plan for doing so”

Now here I believe David wants me to blame Governor Cuomo for all of Brooklyn College’s problems. Now, as much as Governor Cuomo sucks for his inadequate funding of the CUNY system, I find it to be a rather easy cop out to blame a man in a city far, far away, instead of asking tough questions like, “what do we do when faced with limited resources? What is the best way to deal with the fact that students are not being given adequate access to advisers? How can students help each other and create a sense of community despite these problems?” Because for every student we send to Albany to harass Governor Cuomo, there’s 50 Brooklyn College students whose needs aren’t being addressed right now.

Now as far as the current thread is concerned, everything has been addressed. I’ll of course be keeping up with it as the week goes on, but I wanted to make sure I at least addressed these initial concerns, so that they are out of the way before the election starts.

Vote well!


Brian Cordero and Zaid Nakadar