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Brenda Huang / Senior Staff Illustrator

The polls for General Studies Student Council open on Monday, April 12, at 10 a.m. and will remain open until Thursday, April 15, at 10 a.m. The polls for the Barnard Student Government Association reopened on Wednesday, March 31, at around 4:30 p.m. and will remain open until Monday, April 12, at 12 p.m.

This year, Spectator invited candidates for General Studies Student Council and Barnard’s Student Governing Association to speak with our endorsement board about their ideas for the upcoming year. Our editorial board was composed of Editor in Chief Sarah Braka, SEAS ’22; Managing Editor Elizabeth Karpen, BC ’22; Editorial Page Editor Ryan Oden, CC ’22; and video staffer Ryan Balderas, GS ’22.

The following endorsements below reflect our discussions with candidates, during which we evaluated their goals, the feasibility of those goals, and candidates’ track records within student council, if applicable. Our decisions to endorse these candidates are based on the information they presented to Spectator during their interviews.

Spectator will not be endorsing candidates for Barnard’s Student Government Association. Not only did many candidates running for Student Government Association not meet with us, the majority of positions had only one candidate, if any. We hope that moving forward, more Barnard students will choose to run for Student Government Association so that the council can be more effective and tackle larger projects.

As with our Columbia College Student Council and Engineering Student Council endorsements, we chose not to disclose who met with Spectator and did not receive an endorsement, as not all candidates scheduled interviews with Spectator. Our General Studies Student Council endorsements are below.

Student Body President

Serengeti Timungwa

We endorse Serengeti Timungwa, GS ’22, for student body president. We believe Timungwa has a vibrant vision for the General Studies Student Council and the tenacity to fight for the student body. Previously the vice president of policy for GSSC, Timungwa knows how to turn ideation into execution. We’re particularly pleased with her past work updating GSSC’s constitution to make it gender-neutral and advocating for Community, Accountability, Response, and Emergency Services funding to be distributed directly to students. Her plans for the future include creating a peer safety network, building a stronger community within General Studies, and convincing the University to grant Latin diplomas to General Studies students—as currently, diplomas for General Studies students are written in English while students in other undergraduate schools receive diplomas written in Latin. These plans, and more, inspire us that Timungwa is the right choice for the job.

Vice President of Finance

Simas Chacar-Palubinskas

We endorse Simas Chacar-Palubinskas, GS ’24, for vice president of finance. As the current community service and sustainability representative and a member of the campus life committee, Chacar-Palubinskas already has positive relationships with Columbia administrators that will be key to success as the vice president of finance. We appreciated his prioritization of diversity and the actions he has already put into motion to level the playing field financially for General Studies students, including lowering the student activity fee for the next school year. We also valued Chacar-Palubinskas’ common-sense ideas for ensuring General Studies students are treated as equal members of the Columbia community, including fostering cooperation between schools, encouraging clubs to actively recruit General Studies students, and putting on signature General Studies events like the General Studies Gala.

Student Veteran Representative

Caleb Bowen

We endorse Caleb Bowen, GS ’24, for student veteran representative. We felt that Bowen was in touch with the veteran community here at Columbia and appreciated his plans to bridge the gap for newer student veterans to be more integrated into the Columbia community. His solutions, which ranged from allocating resources to student veterans to facilitating community building, convince us that Bowen is the right person for the job.

Note: Caleb Bowen is a former member of Spectator; he did not have any role in the writing or selection process.

To respond to this staff editorial or to submit an op-ed, contact

Student council endorsements General Studies GSSC SGA Barnard Student Government Association
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