To the Editor:
While campaigning, we have tried to change the way students view council and have unfortunately encountered a hostile environment; the institutional bias favoring Columbia College Student Council insiders demonstrates the flaws within our council. Before Block Party was given a chance to speak, we were deemed illegitimate.
The Block Party has council experience—presidential candidate Alex Jasiulek served as both first-year and sophomore class president and is currently an elected representative, while vice presidential candidate for finance Peyton Bell serves as an appointed representative. But CCSC experience is only important to an extent; we need fresh perspective. Right now, student council effectively acts as its own exclusive group. This must change if our community is to come together and move forward.
Most questions asked at the debate addressed council experience. We weren’t asked how we could improve our individual positions or how our experiences brought value to campus.
It is faulty to conclude that just because our remaining members have no CCSC experience, they are inexperienced. As active leaders of various campus communities, they are equipped with the skills and networks that make them fit to learn CCSC nuances and lead the entire student body.
We challenge council members and the media to answer the following: Why doesn’t council consist of such representatives who serve diverse interests? Why aren’t these students equipped to handle the issues that most affect the student body?
In Spectator’s staff editorial (“We support 212,” April 2), they claimed the Block Party lacked specific proposals. Yet in our endorsement meetings and the debate, we talked about a State of the Core address, a collaboration grant program for groups, a specific system of institutional memory imported from Delta Gamma and a smooth Dean transition. Spectator’s editorial board lauded 212’s experience while disagreeing with most of their proposals. What value does experience have if it lacks insight and inspiration? We interpret Spectator’s endorsement as a weak approval of the status quo.
Don’t accuse us of being outsiders when we are inside many campus circles. We are connected to students and are effective in our leadership. We have a vision that will build community. We are Block Party, and everyone’s invited.
Alex Jasiulek, Jean Pierre Salendres, Janice Yoon, Peyton Bell, Lauren Barriere