Junior Mohammed Hassan is the presidential nominee of Independent Alliance, which was formed last April by students and former members and officials of Students for Change and United People, to create major changes on campus.
“We want students to feel comfortable to be involved with student government,” Hassan said.
Hassan will be running against Students For Change’s nominee Christopher Labial and independent candidates Andrew Millan and Luis Cuadros.
IA, Hassan said, is not a centralized party, but one where many people can work with one another with no “low or high members.”
“The party stands for an independent group of people. Each group of leaders thinks for themselves and we sit as a board of group leaders. Everyone is being encompassed in the decision-making process,” Hassan said.
Hassan said, should he be elected as president, he would focus on numerous issues, improving Wi-Fi in the Student Union basement and election reform.
“The election process, as we see it now, must be changed,” Hassan said.
One big factor for the party is their campaign strategy. Their opponent SFC, the incumbent party, is “very confident of winning.”
“They don’t take any other party or any candidate seriously. That may also may be a bad thing for them because if you underestimate candidates or the power of students, then it may not work in your favor,” Hassan said.
While IA is running without a vice president, Hassan said this is not a setback. Rather, it provides an opportunity to work with SFC, he said.
“I see it as a peace process with the other party. If the election goes the way we think it’s going to go, then it’ll be a mixed government,” Hassan said.
In addition, Hassan addressed the documents posted on Queens College Secrets last spring, which highlighted questionable purchases by SFC.
In a discussion with The Knight News last November, SA President Raj Maheshwari said the money needed to be spent and there was no real controversy over the matter.
However, Hassan did not believe it was an appropriate response to the spending issue.
“’The money has to be spent’ is such a vague answer. Yes, the money has to be spent properly and that’s the key here,” Hassan said.
The documents released last April revealed spending on a large quantity of goods for both the Glow Party and the Persian Formal, which some students believed to be unnecessary.
Moreover, Hassan stressed spending is part of the job, but it’s important to do so properly.
“It’s really grey when you look at the constitution and see the senators are supposed to vote and approve the budget.
I wasn’t a part of that meeting and I asked fellow senators, who said they weren’t a part of that meeting,” Hassan said.
Hassan said it was important to create a system where there cannot be too power for the presidency. By doing so, it would eventually create issues and downplay the roles of other student government members.
“There’s a process to everything,” Hassan said. “What the president says shouldn’t go. There needs to be checks and balances.”
Hassan said IA would implement grassroots efforts such as getting thousands of student signatures demanding an end to harassment during election season.
“We have an ideal of what can we do for the students that will last after we graduate,” Hassan said. “The number one thing student government should do for students is give them accountability. You need to give them power of accountability,” Hassan said.