On Monday night, the College Council (CC) Executive Board announced the results of the Fall 2015 CC Elections via email to the student body.
Former CC Co-President Jesús Espinoza ’16 resigned from his position in an email earlier that evening, citing “exhausting bureaucracy” and a desire to redirect his energy to “personal projects.”
Students elected Ryan Kelley ’19, Donglin Zhang ’19, Benjamin Pollack ’18, Cassandra Pruitt ’18, Walford Campbell ’17, Jonathan Burne ’17 and Alex Huang ’17 to the Honor and Discipline Committee. The elected students for College Council are Assistant Treasurer Alyssa Epstein ’18 and Class representatives Ben Gips ’19, Ashish Solanki ’19, Michael Rubel ’19, Bum Shik Kim ’19, Hudson Borba ’18, Ava Anderson ’18, Tobias Muellers ’18, Ned Lauber ’18, Alex Besser ’17, Tyrone Scafe ’17, Annika Trapness ’17, Grant Johnson ’17, Katherine Shamsie ’16, Yasick Nemenov ’16, Sarah Wieman ’16 and Jesse Rodriguez ’16. The elected students for the Honorary Degrees Committee are Dorothy Gaby ’18, Chris D’Silva ’18 and Ben Incera ’18.
Co-President Marcus Christian ’16 expressed excitement about the incoming council. “It’s going to be tough work but I have full confidence that everybody who is going to be in that room will show up wanting to engage.”
Polls were open from Thursday afternoon to Monday evening, with elections held for positions on the 2015 CC, the Honor and Discipline Committee and the Honorary Degrees Committee. The election metric used an intricate system of instant run-off preferential proportional voting (IRV) in which voters rank their top four candidates for each position. Votes are ultimately counted in rounds based on a candidate’s “top votes.” The IRV system is useful here in that it is a more sophisticated way of selecting winners when there is a position with more than one opening.
CC presides over all campus organizations and decides where to allocate the Student Activities Tax, which is approximately $425,000 each year. The Honor and Discipline Committee hears cases involving violations of student rights and the honor code and makes decisions on how to proceed. The Honorary Degrees Committee selects the honorary degree recipients and Commencement speaker.
While there were an abundance of first-year candidates running for their respective positions, not a single senior opted to run for Class representative. All of the Class of 2016 CC representatives were write-in candidates and only 7.65 percent of the senior class voted. The turnout of the junior class for the 2017 representatives was 17.28 percent. About 30 percent of sophomores voted for class representatives, Honor and Discipline Committee representatives and Honorary Degree Committee representatives. Between 38 percent and 50 percent of first-years voted in each of the dorm-specific representative elections.
Christian proposed that some of the apathy in the upper classes might be due to the controversy from last semester. “I was disappointed by the interest level from the Class of 2016, and I think that was based somewhat on what happened over the spring.”
Though he acknowledges that seniors may have other priorities, he hopes for more engagement, not just from seniors, but from all class years. “I definitely think there needs to be an overall shift in the culture and how we think about the way we as students engage with and interact with the school.”