Turning over the Table: ASWC Election

Turning over the  Table: ASWC Election
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Annalisse Galaviz
Nathan Tolfa
As this academic year comes to a close, the Associated Students of Whittier College (ASWC) Senate are looking to fill their table for next year. Senate will host elections from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on April 30 and Whittier College students will vote to elect their peers to the positions of: President, Vice President, Campus Relations Director, Secretary, the Commuter representative, the Academic Affairs Council Representative, the Residential Hall Representative, and four Student Body Representatives. Other positions on the table, like the Media Council Representative, will either be appointed by their respective governing bodies, or, in the case of the members of the first-year class council, voted into Office the Fall semester after elections.

“It seems as though these elections are [going to] be much more competitive,” said ASWC Vice President Yvan Monreal. “Not that last year they weren’t . . . but I think this year is probably going to [be competitive] because there [are] good candidates.” Last year Monreal, ASWC President, fourth-year Detrick Manning, Campus Relations Director third-year Grace Reeder and last semester’s Secretary second-year Sam Johnson ran and were elected to office on a joint ticket. 

This election season, Student Body Representative second-year Jenna Gelinas and Environmental Advocacy Representative second-year Kole Joachim are running on a joint ticket for President and Vice President respectively. In a message to the Quaker Campus, Joachim described how he and Gelinas have learned together, serving on ...  

... Senate in the past two years. “We share the same vision for changing Senate,” wrote Joachim, “to utilize what worked and avoid what didn’t over the course of the last two years.” Joachim and Gelinas are the only joint ticket announced as of this writing, and with numerous candidates vying for numerous positions, this election could be competitive. If the last two years’ election results are anything to go off of, it seems that competition breeds participation. 

In the 2016 ­ – 2017 election, all candidates ran uncontested, and a total of 104 students voted through the OrgSync platform. 334 students voted in last year’s considerably more competitive election. While voting numbers have been kept private in past years, this year’s Senate is considering releasing the numbers involved in this year’s election to the student body. “[Releasing this year’s election results is] something I know that Detrick [Manning] really wanted to do. But we had to obviously make sure that that’s okay with the rest of the people before we make that decision,” said Monreal.

Elections Committee, the Senate organization that plans and organizes Senate elections throughout the year, was chaired for most of this semester by ASWC Secretary Destinee Moya. However, when Moya decided to run for ASWC President herself, Manning and Monreal took over the election process. “It kind of just fell onto Detrick and I, and that’s where we are now. So Detrick and I haven’t really done really any of the planning itself, we’re kind of just carrying it out because it’s been planned for a while,” said Monreal.

Planning for elections largely consists of working out dates for the election process. Students who were interested in running in the election were required to attend one of two informational meetings on April 17 or 19 — or, if they were unable to attend the meetings, they had to talk with this year’s election chairs, Monreal and Manning. If they are able to get 100 signatures from their student peers to show that the student body approves of them running for office and turn in the form before 5:30 pm on April 24, they can run for office. Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates will participate in a public debate after the Senate meeting on April 29. There will be a portion of the debate during which the student body will be permitted to ask the Senate questions.

At this point, the Quaker Campus can confirm that ASWC Secretary third-year Destinee Moya and Jenna Gelinas are both running for President, and Joachim is running for Vice President. The rest of the candidates running for the executive board positions have yet to make their candidacy public. 

The following candidates were confirmed by the Quaker Campus to be running for Office and responded to our request for comment.

Current Student Body Representative second-year Kole Joachim is running for Vice President. “I really wanted to dive back into executive board,” said Joachim. Joachim was elected to the executive role of Campus Relations Director after Eryn Wells stepped down from the position partway through last year. “[I want to] instill the changes that I learned from my first year of being on executive board and what I’ve learned over the course of this year to actually implement those changes,” said Joachim. He described his plans, if elected, to improve the transparency of Senate’s actions, by sending out emails detailing the events of Senate’s Monday Meetings and possibly releasing a semesterly breakdown of Senate spending. “I also really want to push forward the idea of having a treasury report released every single semester that gives a detailed breakdown on what we spent our funds on every semester which would also be sent out to the student body,” said Joachim.

Current Female Poet Student Athlete Leadership Academy representative third-year Neely O’Grady is running for Campus Relations Director and would like to create a community on campus by “[bridging] the divide between different organizations.” She is a Lacrosse athlete, as well as a member of the Athenian Society and ASWC Senate. O’Grady plans to utilize her experience to accomplish her goals. “I’m involved in a bunch of organizations on campus and I feel like I’d be able to represent everyone equally and well,” she said. “I want to create a community because that’s what we emphasize on Senate.”

Likewise, current First-year Class Council President first-year Fionna Tejada is also running for Campus Relations Director. “As Campus Relations Director, I want to make sure that there are absolutely no issues with transparency and that the ASWC Senate Table is completely transparent with the Campus Community,” wrote Tejada in an email to the QC. “I currently am First-Year Class Council President and have used this time to host a bagel and donut event, collaborate with WCTheRock and Program Board for the Dumbo event, and will host a Tie-Dye and free pizza event [from 11-1 p.m.] on April 25. I currently work at the Office of Communications and am a part of the Campus Relations Committee on Senate. Both of these experiences have helped me develop a greater understanding of the works of social media, what it takes to put on events, etc. I would be delighted to become your Campus Relations Director on ASWC Senate and hope you vote for me on April 30.”

First-year Kat Garrison is running for Student Body Representative. “So there’s a multitude of reasons [I’m running],” said Garrison “but just to get to the gist of it, I really feel like there needs to be a lot more transparency, definitely on the table . . . I know that there’s been some confusion between the what the table says and [what is communicated] to the student body itself.” She also wants to work to address larger issues, advocating for mental health and environmental sustainability.

Students will be able to vote from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on April 30. A link to the polls will be posted on the ASWC Senate OrgSync page. The QC will continue to cover the elections on the website www.thequakercampus.org.