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Baron selected as chief of staff

Michaels, Amanda | Thursday, March 18, 2004

Fresh from a semester in Angers, sophomore and former freshman class president David Baron wasted no time in immersing himself back into the waters of Notre Dame student government. After being the campaign manager for the Charlie Ebersol-James Leito ticket, he will take on the new role of chief of staff for student body president-elect Adam Istvan and vice president-elect Karla Bell.

Picking Baron was an easy decision Istvan said – so much so that he was the only candidate seriously considered for the job.

“I kind of had Dave in mind,” Istvan said. “He lived across the hall from me last year, so I’ve known him for awhile. He knows student government better than anyone I know, and I trust him to help us. He’s my first choice for the position, and the best choice.”

Though Baron’s previous affiliation with Ebersol-Leito might be seen a conflict of interest elsewhere, Baron insisted that it was not.

“Student government isn’t a two-party system,” Baron said. “It isn’t like there are sides standing in opposition to each other, and I want to help student government no matter who I’m working with. Adam recognized that I have experience, and that he needs to know the system … I did talk with Charlie and James about it, and they thought I’d do more for the school not sitting out the year.”

Istvan agreed, adding that Baron was too good of an asset to an administration to pass up.

Baron’s intimate knowledge of student government, his work ethic and agreeable nature were the qualities that made him attractive as a chief of staff explained Istvan.

“He’s a pretty cool guy, and someone I know I could work well with,” said Bell.

Baron also sees his knowledge of Ebersol-Leito’s platform as an advantage, and plans on bringing some of the ideas from that campaign into the new presidency. This includes the college readership effort to make three national newspapers available to students daily.

“Ideas that go to help student government are good no matter who proposes them,” Baron said.

He also plans on fulfilling goals independent of either campaign, like the creation of a polling committee that would determine student opinion – an effort he believes will help fight campus apathy.

The main duties of the chief of staff include coordinating the efforts of all members in the Office of the Student Body President, responding to constituency complaints and working with the committee heads of the Senate, who will be appointed by the Office of the President under the proposed constitution.

Baron will also be heavily involved in choosing the new staff – a task restricted by the fact that the new student government constitution will not be passed until March 28 at the earliest. Because of major restructuring, the Office of the President will have a smaller staff with different responsibilities, and will tentatively lack positions key under the current constitution. However, without knowing exactly what those positions will be, staff appointments cannot proceed.

“I’d consider us behind in picking our stuff, and there’s a chance many of the positions we need to fill will be created three days before we take office,” Istvan said. “But if everything works out, we should have a full staff by April 1.”

Applications for positions within the Office of the President will be made available in the next two days, and Istvan plans to conduct interviews with potential staffers at the end of March.

Though Baron admitted he was shocked by the job offer, he also said he was ready for the chance to make a difference.

“It’s make it or break it time for student government,” Baron said. “It’s not an easy situation for Adam and Karla to jump into with no experience, but I don’t think it’s an impossible task at all. We need a way to rally the students. If we want to make any progress with the Board of Trustees or [the Office of] Student Affairs or the Notre Dame administration, we need the total support of the students, and that’s what the job of student government should be.”