Campus elects leaders for 2003-2004

The polls for College Council (CC) run-off elections closed on Friday at 11:59 p.m., concluding a week of campaigning. Chin Ho ’04 and Michael Henry ’04 won the election for CC co-presidency, defeating Brendan Docherty ’04 and Scott Grinsell ’04 by a mere 16 votes.

Frederico Sosa ’04 was declared treasurer and Jonathon Landsman ’05 was named secretary. Both candidates ran uncontested. Gerry Lindo ’04, Phillipp Huy ’06, Aaron Wilson ’04 and Andres Schabelman ’06, won in the election for campus-at-large representatives.

Carlos Ramirez ’06 and Nate Winstanley ’04 were elected as Minority Coalition (MinCo) representatives. Winstanley, who was also elected as class of 2004 representative, has chosen to forgo the position of MinCo rep. The class of 2005 representative will be Jim Irving ’05, and the class of 2006 representative will be Jessica England ’06.

Next year’s Honor and Discipline Committee will include Casey Czubay ’04, Matt Webster ’04, Alice Brown ’05, Denise Nunez ’05, Esa Seegulam ’06 and Andrew Eyre ’06.

Craig Olshan ’05 won the election for Committee on Priorities and Resources. Ohm Deshpande ’04, Adam Grogg ’04 and Mark Orlowski ’04 will serve on next year’s Honorary Degrees Committee.

The amended CC constitution was also passed. Sixty percent of the student body participated in the voting, exceeding the 50 percent threshold required for the passage. After two years of work, members of CC hope the new constitution will better serve the student body. As specified by CC, provisions in the document should make it easier to pass referenda and constitutional amendments, provide for a vote to fill seat vacancies, require that all representatives be enrolled students at Williams, prevent any one person from holding more than one seat and increase the flexibility in determining the size of CC. Students can find the new constitution on the CC’s webpage (http://www.collegecouncil.org).

Student participation was over 50 percent in almost all 13 elections. The election for Honor and Disciplinary committee for the class of 2006 reported a 68 percent voter turnout. Current CC co-president, Ching Ho ’03 said, “Both across-the-board voter participation and co-presidential voting are at their highest.” He attributed the high turnout to CC’s strong advertising effort.  

All elected representatives will take office immediately after spring break. Chin Ho and Henry’s first plan of business will be to set a new tone of action within CC. The co-presidents said, “We are planning several structural changes, but more importantly we plan to lead a cultural change within Council. We are going to change the way members of Council understand Council’s role on campus and how much is expected of them as individual representatives.”

Both stressed that representatives needed to spend more time connecting with their constituents and even the College administration. They said, “College Council must be more than a two-to-three-hours-per-week-meeting time commitment.”

In particular, the co-presidents plan on adding to the regular meeting requirement. Besides Wednesday night meetings, all members will have a casual dinner once a week for open discussion. They also plan to increase the number of “opinions unplugged” sessions, where CC members solicit input from students at the dining halls.

The co-presidents hope to create a culture within the various committees that ensures their activity and timely reporting of their work to CC and the student body at large. Committee reports will be summarized and distributed in the dining halls.

In addition to their plans for committees, both Ho and Henry plan on pressuring the Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL) to complete a thorough analysis of the four-person housing pick.

Other projects on their agenda include continued communication with the administration about the Baxter project. The co-presidents’ main concern is to ensure that there is a sufficient amount of student multi-purpose space available.

A student survey drawn up with the current housing coordinators to gather input on the new housing system is also pending.

Ho and Henry also plan to implement an idea raised by Docherty and Grinsell during the debates. Specifically, the two hope to pursue the creation of a full-time salaried Environmental Coordinator who will ensure the College is making all possible efforts that are necessary to be green-friendly.

“We hope to work with the CEAC (Environmental Committee), Brendan and Scott with implementing this important move for Williams,” they said.

For the most part, both Ho and Henry believed that the debate not only solidified their position but alerted them to the extent to which CC is disconnected from the student body.

Several of the tickets ran their campaigns on the promise of turning CC into a more responsive body, and the new co-presidents hope to respond to the criticism emerging during the campaign and improve CC’s image with the student body.