Some student elections this year will be more competitive than 2009.
Three parties will be running in the annual Columbia College Student Council elections next month, when Columbia College students elect the party that will become the CCSC Executive Board for the 2010-2011 school year. Last year, current CCSC President Sue Yang and her Action Party ran uncontested in the election, but this year, there was more interest in general, according to Election Board Chairman James Bogner, CC ’10.
Elections this year will begin at 9 a.m. on April 13 and end at noon on April 15. Executive Board, class council, and student service representative positions are all up for election. One two-year University Senate seat is also up for election this year.
The three parties who have filed their candidacy with the CCSC Election Board are The Naked Party, led by the previous Student Governing Board Treasurer Eugenio Suarez, CC ’11; Stand Columbia, led by current Class of 2011 President Learned Foote CC ’11; and Renew C.U., led by Isaac Lara CC ’10.
“Obviously, three executive board tickets is more than one last year but the University Senate seat also saw a lot of interest, more than we’ve seen in a couple of years,” he said.
Bogner is also pleased by the range of candidates this year, “We’re fortunate this year to have a really good spread of candidates and I think that it should end up being a really good election for the College because we’ll have so many options for people to choose from,” said Bogner, who runs the elections commission, which oversees and enforces the rules of the process.
All three Executive Board tickets this year contain both students currently serving on CCSC and fresh faces.
“I think the candidates that are the incumbents have found it always beneficial to include as many people, many varied representatives as they can on their ticket. It’s not just a solid a campaign strategy, but it’s also a necessity for trying to represent our school,” Bogner said.
The executive board runs policy and oversees the entire council, but races will also happen for each class council, which focuses on issues specific to the class.
The race for the Class of 2011 Council includes two parties. The Party Bus Party, led by current vice president of finance Nuriel Moghavem, will compete against The After Party, led by current Class of 2011 vice president Sean Manning Udell.
Access Columbia, led by Class of 2012 President Aki Terasaki is running uncontested for Class of 2012 council, and Grandma’s Tea Party run by Eleanor Stein will be competing against the Incumbent Party, led by Class of 2013 Presient Alex Jasiulek.
Although all three CCSC class candidates praise Yang and her current team for the work they have done this year, they also all cite improvements that could be made.
Foote said that he thinks CCSC could do a better job of reaching out to students who are less involved on campus, “I do think there are ways to improve the communication to students,” he said. “Reaching out to students that aren’t necessarily in groups is an important thing but hasn’t been done enough.”
Suarez also said improving communications is key, “I feel like there’s a lack of information flowing between the administration and the students,” Suarez said. “I feel like a lot of the decisions made are on behalf of the administration, on behalf of faculty.”
Lara said he believes that inclusion is a key aspect CCSC should improve, “Many groups feel that they have been left out of the conversation and much can be done to give them a voice,” he said. “Empowering students to take a role on campus is really important.”
Foote, the only candidate who has served on CCSC, said his experience will help his candidacy, “People know who I am and people will vote based on my record,” he said.
But Lara cited his experience as Chairman of Latino Heritage Month as giving him a wider perspective, “I get the feeling that student government should be more inclusive and should actually take into account a lot of different perspectives from student organizations.”
Suarez, also new to CCSC, said that his experience as a founder and current treasurer of the University Council of the Cuban American National Foundation and secretary of Student Governing Board offers him a unique perspective, “I think I’m very well aware and very much in the conversation of what’s going on in the world of CCSC and I’m coming from a fresh perspective.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article said that Eugenio Suarez is the SGB secretary, but SGB recently had elections, so he is no longer holds a title, and when he did hold a title he was the treasurer. Spectator regrets the errors.