CC candidates discuss issues in electoral debate

Candidates for Class of 2017 Representative speak at the CC debate. (Photo courtesy Nathaniel Boley, Photo Editor)
Candidates for Class of 2017 Representative speak at the CC debate. (Photo courtesy Nathaniel Boley, Photo Editor)

Tomorrow at 4 p.m., voting will open for the 2014-15 College Council (CC) Elections. Last Sunday evening, at the Record-moderated CC Debate, candidates presented their platforms to students at Paresky, and answered questions fielded to them by Record Editor-in-Chief Ben Eastburn ’15.

Andrew Chou ’17 and Teddy Cohan ’16 split the ticket for the position of CC Treasurer. Both candidates were on Finance Committee, and say that this experience has given them familiarity with how CC runs its budget. Cohan stated he and Chou “have the experience necessary and understand the central role that CC plays in the College.” Chou added that they know “which groups need funding and why they need funding… this has a lot of value as treasurer.”

Matt McNaughton ’16, running unopposed for the position of Vice President (VP) of Operations, said during his speech that he “hope[s] to make some positive change on the campus.” He identified the transparency of CC and communication with the student body as his priority in the position: “I want to make sure people know what’s going on and people know what we’re talking about [at CC],” and says that he wants to “decrease the amount of effort that it takes to talk to CC [by] actively seeking out opinions.”

Quinn Pitcher ’15 runs unopposed for VP of Academic Affairs. Pitcher, who many know from ACE, thinks “it would be nice to change gears and look at how academics changes our experiences at Williams.” He looks to improve Factrak, make the Career Center more comprehensive and effective, and explore how the Gaudino and Exploring Diversity Initiative options are being utilized. When asked how he would represent student concerns with the Committee of Educational Policy, Pitcher stated that he wants to use surveys to “balance anecdotal evidence on how courses and departments are working with strong factual evidence on student wants and desires.”

Unopposed on the ticket for the VP for Student Organizations is Griffith Simon ’15. At the debate, he said that he plans to “help streamline the process of creating new groups on campus” by creating a “contact list for all student organizations, so people know how to reach people” and to find a “solution to the summer storage issue” that many campus groups face. When asked how he would deal with the administration on issues of hazing, he said that he “was in an ad hoc committee for sanctions in the fall” and

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thus has some experience with the issue. Commenting on the committee in general, he said, “Obviously hazing is a very bad thing, but students should have a say [about it], in the way that [they have students] in the academic Honor and Disciplinary Committee.”

Jesus Espinoza ’16 and Alphayo Nyarera ’16 share a ticket for the position of VP of Community and Diversity. Their platform is simple: to continue to listen to and act on existing community concerns. They want to foster “a greater and more cohesive sense of unity,” said Espinoza, “and bridge gaps and improve understanding . . . We will work to facilitate an environment conducive to progress in every possible way.” They also plan to reach out to administration to encourage greater cooperation between them and the student body. “Students feel distanced from the administration, but we want to change that dynamic,” said Nyarera.

Emily Dzieciatko ’15 and Erica Moszkowski ’15 run uncontested for the presidential ballot. The pair has centered their platform on three main goals. The first, as brought up by Moszkowski at the debate, is “to do the little things.” These include such campus improvements as free a cappella recordings on WSO, the simplification of event planning and funding, and an increase of social entrepreneurship opportunities on campus.

The second goal is to focus on some bigger issues. They plan to, for example, “lobby the administration to provide more support for club sports.” When asked why they were making this a priority, Dzieciatko asserted “club sports are inherently expensive,” and “Sometimes we [CC and FinCom] feel like we kind of have to cut off some safety measures that the school should be funding.” Moszkowski continued, “Security and safety is a really important thing and is not something that CC can shoulder the burden for.”

They plan to ensure that Peer Health, RASAN and the Health Center successfully address the needs of the College’s student body. “The only way we can know if these organizations are meeting student needs is hearing from students,” Moszkowski said. “We’re planning on collaborating with these groups, [which is] why it’s really important for us to reach out to students and hear what you have to say.” Dzieciatko added they “want to bring conversations about these matters … to the greater community,” and said that the expansion of Thompson Health Center for next school year will help these concerns be more effectively addressed.

“The most pressing issue with regard to CC is making it relevant to campus and making sure that we’re here for people to talk to,” said Moszkowski. “CC is here to be the voice of the student body and our job is to reach out to all of you.” This statement set the groundwork for the pair’s final goal: to increase the relevance and efficiency of CC through a more responsible allocation of budget, increased transparency and more effective leverage of each of the vice presidential positions.

With many tickets running unopposed this current electoral season, the pair also had to address what some have understood as apathy within and surrounding CC. This apathy, according to Dzieciatko is due to the “different structures of CC – these [positions] are more targeted positions, which isn’t a bad thing, but [in order to run] you have to come in with an agenda in mind and think through the position.” This newfound need for a higher level of candidate preparation, she asserts, may be pushing away some interest in CC positions and explain why so few people are running. As Moszkowski said, both she and Dzieciatko “believe in the power of CC to get things done for the Williams community.”


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