On Sunday, students gathered in Baxter Hall to hear the College Council (CC) presidential candidates in a debate moderated by the Record. The candidates are Amanni Fernandez ’18, Web Farabow ’18 and Allegra Simon ’18 and Liam Pembroke ’18 and Pierceson Brown ’18. Jack Brent Greenberg ’18, editor-in-chief of the Record, moderated the debate.
In her opening statement, Fernandez highlighted the importance of diversity at the College. “I believe that Williams deserves to be a lot more inclusive,” Fernandez said.
Though she has little experience with CC, Fernandez asserted that she is very involved on campus as an admissions ambassador, where she has worked with incoming students, alumni and the administration.
Fernandez’s goals as president of CC center around its accessibility and approachability. In addition, she hopes to further the diversity of the group to make it more directly reflect the student body. Fernandez is the only candidate running alone. “I couldn’t find someone I wanted to run with,” she explained.
Farabow, the current CC treasurer, also appeared alone on Sunday, although his ticket includes him and Simon, who is currently studying abroad in Vietnam. Throughout the debate, Farabow emphasized his and Simon’s past experience with CC. “Between the two of us, I think Allegra and I have held most positions in CC,” he said, noting that this experience and understanding of the roles in CC would help them better lead.
Farabow acknowledged that previously he had not been sure he wanted to run for CC president but, having spoken with Simon, he realized that there were many things he wanted to accomplish. He hopes to address food insecurity on campus, remarking that one third of students eat less than they would like due to the financial constrictions surrounding meal plans. He also wants to create an online hub for student organizations to improve the ease of getting funding and registering events and improve student social life.
The third ticket is comprised of Pembroke and Brown. “Students believe that they have no ability to create change,” Pembroke said, addressing his motivation for running for CC co-president. Pembroke and Brown hope to confront environmental issues on campus. While Pembroke and Brown do not have experience on CC, they believe that they are qualified due to their energetic personalities and approachability. Brown emphasized the importance of removing the idea of “outsider perspective” in making CC more accessible – a point that became a common thread in the debate.
When asked what the biggest challenge CC will face next year, Farabow answered that engagement with the student body will be a critical issue. He proposed working with CC communications to improve outreach to put more students into leadership positions.
Brown and Pembroke suggested addressing this issue by holding CC meetings in Baxter Hall, rather than in Hopkins, and publishing notes from the meetings. However, according to Pembroke and Brown, the biggest challenge CC will face is confronting environmental issues. “Williams is a vanguard for other college campuses,” Pembroke said, advocating for the use of alternative energy sources and building more environmentally friendly buildings with “green roofs.”
Fernandez contended that a global situation, the election of Donald Trump, is the most pressing issue CC will face. She argued that now is a time when the College must focus on its community but not be blind to the world beyond the “purple bubble.”
The debate concluded with remarks from students running for vice presidential positions, including Michael Rubel ’19, seeking reelection as vice president for communications; Jason “Bum Shik” Kim ’19 and Chetan Patel ’18, both running for vice president for academic affairs; Maria Fernanda Heredia ’20, running for vice president for student organizations; Rodsy Modhurima ’19, running for vice president for community and diversity and Spencer Carillo ’20, running for parliamentarian.