HMC Students Report Apathy in Elections

When polls for Associated Students of Harvey Mudd
College (ASHMC) elected offices opened Feb. 20, the student body braced itself for a long voting period; it ended up taking two weeks to reach the required 50 percent student voting quorum. The elections ended Sunday, March 9, 24 hours after the quorum had been reached.

According to several HMC students, the
extended voting period time can be attributed to students’ general lack of interest in student government elections and knowledge about the individual candidates. 

“It helps to know
the people,” Anthony Chung HM ’14 said. 

Lydia Scharff HM ’17 said that she did not look for any attribute in
particular in her preferred candidates “beyond a knowledge of the people themselves.” 

Lakshimi Batachari HM ’17 agreed, saying that she only voted
for students whom she knew personally. When casting her vote, she said that she felt uninformed about the candidates for some positions. 

“Sometimes I just picked a
random person,” she said.

Students said that there is a general disinterest in the student body elections at HMC.

“I feel like there’s a lot of apathy regarding
student politics at Mudd,” Batachari said. “I haven’t seen what the student
government has been doing, so to me, it’s not something that’s major.” 

ASHMC President-elect Michael Saffron HM ’15
hopes to change this apathy during his period of leadership, however. For example, he said that although information about
ASHMC’s activities is available online, it is difficult to find. He only recently found the website himself, he wrote in an email to TSL.

“We’ll make the minutes easier to find on the ASHMC
website and we’re also thinking about sending out summary emails to the student
body about what ASHMC has done each week,” Saffron wrote. “We’ve talked
about starting weekly ‘office hours’ where some other ASHMC members and I will
be available for any questions or comments.” 

Saffron is not the only student in office who plans to
keep the student body better informed.

“One of my main focuses for the
upcoming year is on looking into what the student body thinks ASHMC does, and
going from there to determine what should be done so we can get to a point
where everyone knows exactly what our role is,” Crystal
Hsu HM ’15, one of two vice presidents-elect, wrote in an email to TSL.

To get more students interested in ASHMC, Saffron wrote that he plans to reach out to more first-years and

“Most positions in ASHMC are
filled by juniors and seniors, due to their experience in the Harvey Mudd
community,” Saffron wrote. “We will find
ways to allow underclassmen to do things in ASHMC.”

Saffron also intends to expand ASHMC’s role on

“I want ASHMC to have an even
larger and more active role in advancing the student community,” he wrote. “This can range from training our
officers more effectively to do their jobs to rethinking and restructuring what
ASHMC should do and how it does it.”  

The complete list of the election results is below.

President: Michael Saffron HM ’15

Vice President: Crystal Hsu HM ’15 and Ryan Seldon HM ’15

Treasurer: Paul Jerger HM ’15

Judiciary Board Chair: Angela Chin HM ’16

Disciplinary Board Chair: Ivan Wong HM ’15

Dormitory Affairs Committee Chair: Matt Wilber HM ’16 and Marie Kirkegaard HM ’15

Social Chair: Joanna Ho HM ’17 and Maddi Hartley HM ’16

Athletics Chair: Sam Woodman HM ’16

Committee for Activities Planning: Mo Zhao HM ’16, Tyler Marklyn HM ’15, Joe Sinopoli HM 17, and Lisa Goeller HM ’17 (one more position open)

Class of 2015 President: Will Clausen HM ’15 and Varun Kanwar HM ’15

Class of 2016 President: Open position

Class of 2017 President: Kathryn Dover HM ’17 and Patrick McKeen HM ’17

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