Pitzer Elects New President, VP to Student Senate

Pitzer College Student Senate announced that students Brian Orser PI ’11 and Paul Waters-Smith PI ’10 had been elected Senate president and vice-president, respectively, for the 2009-2010 academic school year.

The results did not include the amount of votes that the candidates received, but Rubin said that Orser won the most votes with less than half of the total presidential vote. Orser had three opponents.

“We are excited by the fact that we were able to speak with hundreds of people face-to-face in the course of our campaign,” said Orser. “This approach allowed for much greater dialogue over the course of the campaign, as opposed to the more common styles of campaigning that emphasize warring self-promotion regimens.”

Orser and Waters-Smith were part of a governance slate in the election, which also included Treasurer Chris Wohlers.

“The slogan ‘Vote Self-Governance’ was intended to be ironic, recognizing that self-governance is a process, not something that can be done by others for you,” said Waters-Smith. “Nonetheless, the slogan captures our intention to open political spaces for students to more meaningfully engage the concept and practice of self-governance as well as challenge the more hierarchal governing structures of these institutions.”

The president and vice-president set out an agenda for the upcoming school year, which would emphasize student involvement in the Master Plan.

“Our main goals are as follows: Student Government will work to hold the administration accountable to the students by demanding that information be actively distributed to the student body before decisions are made at the level of administration,” said Orser. “Student participation in the formulation of the Master Plan and other decisions about the physical restructuring of the college is necessary, and we hope to ensure that the entire community is fully included in that decision-making process. The state of the economy makes budget cuts necessary and budgeting decisions are more pressing than ever, and the student body must be centrally involved in those decisions. Admissions criteria and continued financial aid are necessary to ensure that the future Pitzer student body will embody Pitzer’s values; students must be involved in these critical decisions as well. The creation of collaborative, informed, and welcoming student governance is necessary for the achievement of any broader sustained goals.”

In addition, Waters-Smith has pledged to forge a better relationship with College Council.

“We hope that the students will once again play a substantive and directive role in community discussion and decision-making at College Council,” said Waters-Smith. “Pitzer College’s governance structure allows students a powerful role, and we hope to provide the timely information and incentive necessary to take advantage of that power.

Orser hopes that by the end of the year, Pitzer will have an open process for policy-making that will also ensure financial security.

“By next year, we hope that the budgeting process, along with any future budget cuts, will involve open and meaningful participation from the entire campus community,” said Orser. “We hope that student government will have begun to function as such—providing a discursive space for relevant issues and the power to advocate for student interests.”

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