New Senators Chosen in ASPC Elections

Students cast their votes for next year’s Associated Students of Pomona College Senate on Tuesday, with five of the nine contested positions going to run-off elections. More than 740 students submitted ballots this year.North Campus Representative Stephanie Almeida PO ’11 was elected ASPC President in a three-person race. She ran against Cortlyn Authement PO ‘11 and Wintaye Gebru PO ‘11. Almeida will replace Jed Cullen PO ’10 at the end of the semester.“I feel truly honored and really excited to serve the student body as ASPC President,” said Almeida, who stressed transparency and more student involvement in senate affairs as key goals for next year.“I want the student body to see that the ASPC is not just for them, it is them,” she said. “I want to use the ASPC to make us a stronger community.” Among the issues Almeida expects next year’s senate to address are the “current judicial process and fining policies, food in the dining halls, the possibility of a revolving fund for sustainability projects, the alcohol policy, and definitions of public and private space.”Frank Langan PO ’11 was elected Vice President for Campus Life and Activities, replacing Kayleigh Kaneshiro PO ’10.“I’m very excited and grateful, and looking forward to next year,” Langan said. “It was a good election and the fact that it [went to a run-off] means we have many qualified candidates.”Langan said he will focus on “improving existing events and not just making new ones,” as well as “providing a space at parties away from the music and noise where people can actually meet each other.”Other election winners included Ari Filip PO ’12, who will replace Rylan Stewart PO ‘10 as Commissioner of Clubs and Sports.“I’m really excited about the result and the opportunity to work with different members of the clubs and sports communities here,” Filip said.Filip said a fair funding process and an increase in the profile of athletic teams and events were his two main goals for next year.“Our sporting events are a great chance to get everyone to come together, show some pride, and send some positive energy around campus,” he said.Jessica Deas PO ’11 will become Commissioner of Off-Campus Relations, a position currently held by Hsuanwei Fan PO ’12.While sitting on the College-Town Committee, which she will chair next year, Deas helped found the Food Rescue program, which brings excess food from the dining halls to local shelters, and created a public transportation guide for students.“I’d like to thank everyone for voting and to congratulate my opponent, Walter Rivera, on a well-run campaign,” Deas said. “I want to develop opportunities for both community service and entertainment, as well as to plan events and programs that share Pomona’s resources with community residents.”For the past two years, Deas has organized Art Day, which brings students from the School of Arts and Enterprise, a charter school in Pomona, to campus to participate in workshops, meet art majors and professors, and tour the school.“Next year, I hope to turn Art Day into a longer-term program, one where the students come to campus to participate in the same activities and then, over the course of the semester, work on projects based on the workshops or inspired by a museum exhibit,” Deas said. Lucille Sun PO ’11 and Alex Rudy PO ’11 won uncontested elections for Commissioner of Community Relations and Commissioner of Communications, respectively.The Commissioner of Community Relations is a relatively new position and is tasked with representing the “concerns of underrepresented and marginalized student members of the college community,” according to the ASPC Constitution.The Commissioner of Communications oversees The Student Life, KSPC, Metate, and all other media-related organizations on campus.“My major initiatives for the year will be to rework the student media committee to increase efficiency and usefulness, and to involve all student media, not just TSL and KSPC,” Rudy said. “I will also be working on e-mail addresses for ASPC and the new ASPC website, which will hopefully be launched at the beginning of next year.”While many of the newly elected senators have already begun planning for next year, they will not assume official responsibilities until the end of this academic year. The current Senate will continue to operate as it has through the end of May.“Newly elected senators are encouraged to come to senate meetings, where we can show them the ropes,” Cullen said. “We don’t want them to come in next year and not know where the person they’re replacing left off.”One of the reasons newly elected senators do not immediately assume office is the structure of the current ASPC committee system, Neil Gerard, Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Smith Campus Center, explained.“One of my main concerns with new senators coming in now is the budget process,” Gerard said. “Many new senators have no idea how the budget works from a Senate perspective.”Familiarity with the system is also required for membership on other committees, like the Student Affairs Committee, the Budget Planning Advisory Committee (BPAC), and the Alcohol Policy Review Board, Gerard said. The Student Affairs Committee is in charge of policy decisions and is largely composed of ASPC senators.“They’ve been working on the alcohol policy all year,” Gerard said. “What if the new senators don’t agree with their predecessors? Do we start over with them?”Elections for ASPC differ from those for the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College, in that ASCMC senators assume office immediately after the election. Gerard and Cullen agreed that this difference has to do with the relationships between the student governments and their respective school administrations.“ASPC is an independent organization, but it is still more integrated with the college than ASCMC is with CMC,” Cullen said.The structure of funding processes and the role of committees at Pomona make it necessary to have a period of adjustment for incoming senators, Gerard said.When asked about voter turnout, Cullen said the number is comparable to past years. With 741 students voting, just under half the Pomona student population participated.“[It] may seem low, but Pomona actually has a high relative level of civic involvement compared to larger state schools, which might have seven percent of the student body voting,” Cullen said.Five contested senate seats went to run-off elections on Thursday, with voting open from midnight to 9 p.m. Cullen said this was not unusual. Since the ASPC Constitution requires candidates to earn a majority of votes, most elections with more than two candidates go to a runoff, with the exception of the race for ASPC President, which has had three candidates each of the past three years but never a run-off, Cullen said.Positions that went to a runoff on Thursday included the Vice President of Finance, who will be Cosimo Thawley PO ‘11, the Commissioner of Academic Affairs, who will be John Thomason PO ‘12, the Commissioner of Environmental Affairs, who will be Nate Wilairat PO ‘11, and Presidents of both the senior and junior classes – Meredith Willis PO ‘11 and Carrie Henderson PO ‘12, respectively.

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply