ASCMC Elects New Executive Board, Emphasizes Student Input

Claremont McKenna College students voted in the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) Executive Board election on Feb. 25, selecting Ben Tillotson CM '15 as president and Will Su CM '16 as vice president. Students also voted to fill three social chair positions and three class president positions. 

According to the election results, 817 students, about 64 percent of the student body, participated in the elections. 

Election campaigns focused largely on the importance of student voices in administrative and Executive Board decisions. Jessie Thomas CM ’16, who was elected social activities chair (SAC) on Feb. 25, said that getting feedback from students is a priority for her.

"One of my first plans is to implement a polling and a feedback system to get ideas from the student body, just so the Executive Board and the SAC can be more informed on student opinions regarding the social scene," she said.

Tillotson said in an interview with TSL before the elections that his main focus will be to expand ASCMC's reach on campus, and in particular to be more involved with creating and revising policies.

“ASCMC has a really big focus on social life, and I think it’s very important, but as a student government, it can do a much better job addressing campus policy, which we haven’t done a lot of," he said. "As president, I would stay involved in the social scene, but really make [expanding what ASCMC does] my focus."

Thomas said that she, Dorm Affairs Council Chair-elect Elaine Sohng CM '17, and Student Life Council Chair-elect Chloe Zadrozky CM '17 are planning to collaborate to organize events and create an inclusive social scene for CMC students. 

One issue they wish to address is a division that many students perceive between events that involve alcohol and "dry" events, which do not, she said. They are considering offering additional activities at Saturday parties for those who are not interested in dancing. ASCMC should offer events that appeal to a broader audience, Thomas said. 

"I think that’s really important because I think sometimes the social scene doesn’t cater to every single student on campus," she said. 

Thomas also hopes that as SAC she can help address the problem of sexual assault at parties by initiating more conversations about the issue. 

Apart from concerns about the social scene, a topic that was prominent during the campaign was a proposed increase to student fees by $15. Tillotson argued against the increase during the presidential and vice presidential candidate debate held Feb. 22. In the article “Holding Ourselves to a Higher Standard” published in the Forum on Feb. 23, he wrote that vetoing the proposed student fee increase would make a symbolic statement to the CMC Board of Trustees that rising tuition rates are not sustainable. However, the Executive Board passed the proposal that night.

The candidate debates also emphasized the importance of student input on various issues.

Julian Mackie CM '15, who ran for president, collected ideas from students through a Twitter campaign that used the hashtag #CMCidea, as well as through handwritten index cards he placed around campus.

Su also emphasized the importance of listening to students during his campaign.

"Communication and reaching out to individual students is key," he wrote in an email to TSL. "I really thought what helped me pull ahead was the one on one conversations that I had with students about their frustrations and visions for CMC.”

Su added that he is excited about the new Executive Board.

“I want to make ASCMC more efficient and to empower/reform Senate as to make change here at CMC," he wrote. "I think ASCMC will have a lot to unveil in these upcoming weeks and I'm excited to see where this new board goes."

According to an email from the ASCMC Elections Committee, Tillotson and Su, who each had two opponents, won by 24 and 18 percentage points, respectively.

Election Results:

President: Ben Tillotson CM '15

Vice President: Will Su CM '16 

Social Affairs Council Chair: Jessie Thomas CM '16

Dorm Affairs Council Chair: Elaine Sohng CM '17 

Student Life Council Chair: Chloe Zadrozky CM '17 

Class of 2015 President: Abby Michaelsen CM '15 

Class of 2016 President: Ben Turner CM '16

Class of 2017 President: Cole Mora CM '17