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Current and Shah Pledge to Return to Legislative Structure, Emphasize Mental Health

Bobby F. Current '24 and Rohan C. Shah '24 are promising structural change to the HUA if elected as co-presidents.
Bobby F. Current '24 and Rohan C. Shah '24 are promising structural change to the HUA if elected as co-presidents. By Addison Y. Liu
By J. Sellers Hill, Crimson Staff Writer

Bobby F. Current ’24 and Rohan C. Shah ’24 see themselves as a big tent ticket with the ambition to bring lasting structural change to the young Harvard Undergraduate Association.

Current and Shah — who hail from Olive Branch, Mississippi, and Westchester County, New York, respectively — say their involvement in a variety of student organizations and distance from the HUA make them desirable outsider candidates.

“I think one of the biggest things that sets us apart is the fact that we’re not already entrenched in the HUA and IOP drama,” said Current. “We’re more connected, I think, with the vast majority of Harvard students.”

Current and Shah’s platform is centered around increasing student engagement with the HUA via the introduction of a legislature, not unlike that of the Undergraduate Council — Harvard’s recently dissolved student government structure.

Current, who briefly served as an Eliot House Representative on the UC, said his experience in the Council left him with a better understanding of how to avoid gridlock and improve on the legislature model.

“It showed me where it can go wrong, and that’s always in the back of my mind,” said Current of the UC. “A legislature is good for representation, but we need processes that are streamlined.”

Currently, the student body elects nine officers to the HUA in a popular vote. The officers head teams that oversee different student life issues, like the Academic Team and the Extracurricular Team. All other students serving on these teams are unelected volunteers.
Current and Shah said they believe there is a lack of buy-in to the HUA due to this volunteer-based system.

“I just feel like people are too generally apathetic for a system based on volunteerism to actually be able to do what it needs to do,” Current said.

The move to a legislature would require a significant constitutional rewrite, which can only occur at the beginning of the semester, per the HUA constitution. This restriction means Current and Shah’s legislature model could be implemented at the start of this fall, at the earliest.

“The meat and potatoes of my campaign would have to wait until next semester,” Current said, adding that he is confident there will be sufficient political will for the change.

“I like to think that an appeal to reason would do a lot of it,” Current said. “The HUA has had trouble getting people to show up, and it’s probably not going to get better.”

The duo said they aim to bolster campus mental health resources — specifically citing long wait times for student appointments at Harvard’s Counseling and Mental Health Service — by any means necessary.

“We’re interested in exploring any creative solution, whether it is from the school administration or the University administration or from sources we haven’t even thought to look at yet,” Shah said.

The pair said their “great synergy” also differentiates them from the other four pairs of candidates.

“I’d love to see any of the other tickets rival the focus and grittiness and energy that we bring to the problems that we’re facing here,” Shah said.

—Staff writer J. Sellers Hill can be reached at sellers.hill@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @SellersHill.

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