Syed Saud, dental school graduate student, said he is running for Graduate Trustee to bring a new mentality of the board where members can step back and asses all aspects of issues like transitions in new political environments and fee increases.
One goal Saud said he has in mind is, if elected, to promote a smooth transition as Connecticut potentially sees changes in government to a Republican governor.
“I (want to) find a way to not only appeal to new government, but to have that transition be smooth and allow grad students to continue on the path they are going through,” Saud said. “I don’t want them to face higher spikes in tuition and fees because they are international students.”
Saud said all students deserve to have a steady educational path, lacking unexpected changes.
“If the transition changes things up it might not be a $20,000 increase, but even a $5,000 increase could really change how you live, your loans and you may need to take a semester off. That could change things in the long term.”
Saud has seen such changes, he said, since he was a UConn student in 2014. Last year Saud worked on a financial problem involving international students.
“One issue we were having a year ago was a lot of graduate students are international and have to pay an extra fee, and a lot of graduate students said they should help pay the national graduate students fees,” Saud said. “What that does is adds a fee for everyone else, so now everyone else is going to get a higher price. Does that benefit everyone?”
Saud said this mentality on issues involving UConn has to do with stepping back and assessing all sides of a situation.
“My biggest strength is my ability to step back and look at multiple views,” Saud said.
This ability, Saud said, came from his upbringing in a conservative Muslim family, along with his experiences with people of varying views, ethnicities and ideals.
“I'm an immigrant and I am very progressive. Over my life I've seen different perspectives,” Saud said. “A big problem today is polarization. ‘Are you left? Are you right?’ It has become a crucible, a lot of heat going on just because I'm this person in this race and I need to be on this side, it shouldn't be like that.”
If elected, Saud said, he will take into account all opinions on an issue and find the best of all propositions.
Lillian Whittaker is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.