Independent journalism about VU Amsterdam | Since 1953
21 June 2024

& Culture

Berfin Baran

‘For 10 minutes, I thought I was in the council’

Due to an error made by the election committee, Berfin Baran mistakenly thought she was elected to the university student council. “We’re all humans, everyone makes mistakes.”

How did you react when you heard you weren’t elected after all?
“It was a bit disappointing, of course. But I was actually surprised that I was on the list because I was assuming that my fellow candidates had more votes. So when I heard my name and the election committee said I was on the list, I was shocked and happy. After ten minutes, they said that there was a problem with the list. I didn’t know how to feel. Should I be shocked, should I be happy? I couldn’t process it with everything happening.”

I can imagine you were pretty upset.
“Well, I was the candidate with the least votes on the list, so I was preparing to be the person that could be eliminated. But still, it was sad to see that I wasn’t on the corrected list.”

Do you know what went wrong?
“If you’re the only candidate of a faculty, you automatically get a seat in the university student council. And somehow, the committee overlooked the only candidate of the law faculty, Sarah Kasd-Alla. They didn’t put her on the list, even though she deserved the seat because of this rule. When they noticed this, I was taken off the list in favor of her.”   

Are you blaming the election committee for screwing up?
“To be honest, at the beginning of the election week, there were a lot of problems with the voting software. Some names were misspelt, not every candidate had the right faculty mentioned, and some had no picture. So maybe that was the reason the committee got confused. But at the end of the day, we’re all humans and we all make mistakes. I don’t really blame them, as long as they don’t repeat their mistakes next year.”

You’re not going to be in the council now, how do you deal with this?
“For ten minutes, I thought I was in the council. But it’s not the end of the world, life goes on. Of course, it would have been a great opportunity to join the council. Like I said before, I didn’t expect to be on the list. I was convinced that my fellow candidates would receive more votes, as I heard people say that they voted for them. Honestly, I’m not that disappointed, because it has brought me some valuable experience and friendships. I also have anxiety issues, so running for the student council really helped me to challenge that and put myself out there. It was a great experience.”