Meet the three candidates for Illinois Student Government president


The Daily Illini File Photo

The Quad on Oct. 7, 2016.

By Gillian Dunlop, Staff Writer

Courtesy of Raneem Shamseldin
Raneem Shamseldin (left), a junior in Business, and her running mate Joey Domanski (right), a junior in LAS.

Candidate: Raneem Shamseldin, junior in Business

Running mate: Joey Domanski, junior in LAS

The student body presidential race is coming to a close. Candidate Raneem Shamseldin has spent the last month spreading her message of “accountability, safety and unity.”

Shamseldin, who currently serves as a senator in the Illinois Student Government, has focused her campaign on increasing diversity of perspective within the organization.

“A lot of (my campaign) has been reaching out to different RSOs and students that aren’t as involved as I wish they were in the student government and informing them what we do and asking them what they wish we did,” Shamseldin said.

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Shamseldin has reached out to groups such as the Student Alumni Ambassadors, Students Against Sexual Assault, the Greek community and Black Students for Revolution.

As a way to increase the accountability of senators, Shamseldin wants to create a liaison system where different senators are in charge of communicating with different groups on campus.

“A lot of people raised concerns that I was aware of and many that I was not aware of,” Shamseldin said. “I’m really glad with my campaigning I’ve learned about them, so whether I’m president or not, I can work on them.”

Shamseldin wants the safety aspect of her campaign to focus on mental health and sexual assault. She plans to do this by having meetings with the chief of police to better understand how assault situations are handled.

“I really want to increase conversations with people,” she said.

Shamseldin also hopes to increase campus unity by hosting “table talk” discussions with different groups, such as the Illini Republicans and Illini Democrats.

“This campaign has motivated me so much to make some serious changes to this University,” she said. “I want the student government to be representative of our students and to take more action.”

Courtesy of Bobby Knier
Bobby Knier on the left, a junior in LAS, and Laura Saldivar on the right, a first year Masters student in communications.

Candidate: Bobby Knier, junior in LAS

Running mate: Laura Saldivar, first-year master’s student in Communications

Candidate Bobby Knier’s priority during his campaign has been campus safety. As a current senator in the Illinois Student Government, Knier has been involved with multiple committees related to this issue.

“I’ve worked with the Department of Public Safety for the past two years and really enjoyed it,” Knier said.

Knier’s running mate, Laura Saldivar, served as the Illinois Student Government vice president during the spring semester of 2016.

“A lot of my experiences will make sure there’s zero learning curve,” Saldivar said. “I can jump right back in.”

Part of Knier’s plan to increase campus safety consists of expanding the University’s medical amnesty policy. As it currently stands, if a student calls campus safety because another student is suffering from an alcohol-related illness, neither student will receive disciplinary consequences.

“We want to expand (amnesty) to alcohol and drugs. If someone is dying, we don’t want people being concerned about the cops,” Knier said.

Additionally, Knier also wants to change the University’s policy on drug possession. Currently, the policy is guilty until proven innocent.

“(The policy) has caused a lot of people who have been in the proximity, but not been themselves drug users, a lot of stress on campus,” Knier said.

Knier and Saldivar also want to ease worries within the student government that most students on campus are not aware of what the organization does.

Knier and Saldivar have been reaching out to different Greek organizations and have emailed each cultural house to show support for the issues the houses are facing.

“We are getting a good, diverse student group to make sure, through this campaign, we’re representing everyone equally,” Knier said.

Knier also wants to hold a march on the state capital as a way to push Illinois’ government toward finding a solution to the budget crisis.

“There’s power in numbers,” Saldivar said.

Jesse Tabak (left) and Matt Carr (right), running for president and vice president of ISG. Jesse is a junior and undecided, Matt is a freshman in engineering.

Candidate: Jesse Tabak, first-year junior in DGS

Running mate: Matt Carr, freshman in Engineering

The only candidate running to have never been involved in the Illinois Student Government, Jesse Tabak is running on a platform of new perspectives and diversity.

Tabak, who at only 18 years-old has the credits to be considered a junior, is using his campaign to bring awareness to the sexual assault problem on campus and to diversify the perspectives in student government.

“Student senate gets the same perspective over and over again,” Tabak said. “I see the same issues but hear different voices.”

Tabak, who is a member of the Greek community, believes that students in Greek life need better representation within student government.

“It’s important to hear from people that don’t have as much as a voice,” Tabak said. “Even if they’re not the most popular opinion, it needs to be heard.”

As a part of his anti-sexual assault platform, Tabak hopes to meet with the sexual assault center in C-U.

“The single biggest issue on this campus is sexual assault,” Tabak said. “At the end of the day it’s as simple as this: the fact that my girlfriend could walk around campus and not feel safe at certain places or go someplace and order a drink and not feel safe, that’s the most messed up thing in the world.”

As a way to combat sexual assault, Tabak wants to implement straws that change color in the presence of drugs at fraternity parties as well as ‘angel drinks,’ where a person could order a certain drink and that drink would be code for trouble.

“We need to be fostering a community where everybody can feel comfortable and safe at every single part of this campus,” he said. “(Angel drink) is a very discreet way of letting someone else know you’re in trouble and giving someone the chance to be an active bystander.”

Despite Tabak’s ambitions, however, he is the most inexperienced out of the three candidates.

“I’m a fast learner,” Tabak said. “I want to be in a position that could make this campus better.”

Voting begins on Wednesday and ends on Thursday. Students can vote at

Editor’s note: This article was based on candidate response. The Daily Illini included information from the candidates that responded. 

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