Late fall elections bring campus-wide issues to the forefront
The upcoming New College Student Alliance (NCSA) elections will take place Thursday, Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Hamilton “Ham” Center. This election will determine the new members of the NCSA ranging from President to Student Court Justice, as well as elected representatives for all years as well as positions ranging from Diversity to Residence Life Representatives.
The current NCSA stands to repair some of the issues that have also occurred due to the past actions of former presidents of the NCSA throughout the years.
“I don’t think too many people realize that things were really bad last year, in terms of budget,” said second-year and presidential candidate Carlos Santos. “That’s pretty much what the last year has been, a lot of damage control.”
With the elections, comes a slew of issues that need to be addressed by those who are currently running.
“The main part of our platform revolves around increasing safety on campus and student welfare. We’re also looking to increase the work that Cassie’s [Current NCSA President Cassandra Corrado] administration did in terms of Title IX,” third-year and candidate for NCSA President Trevor Miller said.
“If a community isn’t feeling safe, we feel as if none of our other part will be as impactful,” third-year Raina Nelson, who is running alongside Miller as co-president, said.
The two also addressed creating more access points for WiFi, including the Pei residence buildings, where WiFi has been known to be spotty, as well as Caples, where WiFi is known to be nonexistent, as well as garnering funding for Resident Advisor (RA) events and increasing funding for the Center for Wellness and Counseling (CWC).
“I worked as an RA over the summer, and as much as they wanted to give more to the students in reference to mental and physical health, they did not have all the resources that they need,” Nelson said. “So we’d like to work closely with them to understand more of their needs and how we can help.”
If elected, the two plan to move funding for RA events from the NCSA to Housing in order to free up for funds for other endeavors.
Funding was a common issue amongst most candidates.
“I think that focusing on the funding and the way that the school has changed because there is a lot of contention in the school about the direction New College is taking. […] And the idea of the incoming classes versus the old New College,” third-year and NCSA president candidate Brennan Kent said.
“We did want to have a place where we could actually discuss these issues to a broader audience,” said thesis student and co-candidate with Kent, Gabriel Monterrosa.
Another trend amongst candidates was the goal of improving issues and overall create a better environment for everyone.
“The main thing I wanted to do, and why I got involved in Student Court was to be able to hold people accountable,” second-year and current Student Court Justice, James Wells, said. Wells plans to run again for the same position this election. “There are multiple examples that have been brought to Student Court. […] I really just want to make sure that [Student Court] is seen as more legitimate.”
“It really appeals to me to just listen to people and help with their problems,” second-year and candidate for Student Court Justice Dylan Pryor said. “And sort of reach a satisfactory for all parties.”
All candidates have found the campaigning process to have both of its challenges and triumphs.
“The process has been different for us probably more than other candidates,” Miller said in reference to his co-candidate, Nelson, currently studying abroad in France. “It’s consisted of a lot of Skype-ing in order to achieve things.”
“It’s been slightly challenging due to the lack of physical presence,” Nelson said.
“The campaigning process has been calm for me at least,” said candidate Monterrosa. “She [Kent] has been pulling most of the weight. It’s that type of relationship, she definitely runs the pants in this one. It’s been interesting because I’m kind of just on for the ride.”
“Since New College is a really small school, I’ve been relying on a lot of word of mouth,” said Pryor.
Another issue seems to be the amount of uncontested positions, meaning spots on the NCSA that have yet to be filled up with potential candidates.
“[Campaigning has] been a little less pronounced. I feel as if people tend to forget that all petitions are equally important to student government. […] It’s really unfortunate that we elect people to these positions and we go out to support our friends and then we put other random votes down. We don’t really know what’s happening – and the other positions are just as important as the president. I think that the focus on solely the president is unfortunate,” first-year and candidate for Diversity Representative Carl Polak said.
“I want my cabinet members to be my equals. If you limit people, you’re not going to get the most energy in their system,” said Santos. “ I think that the hierarchal system doesn’t do that.”
Students still have the option to apply as write-in candidates for positions on board.
“Usually it’s actually a pretty good turnout for people that are interested in write in candidates,” second-year and current candidate for Second Year SAC Representative, Paige Pellaton, said. “Often people are aware of these various positions and various ways in which they can be apart of the NCSA.”
“If I were to be elected, I hope to represent the student body as a whole and to see to whatever issues are most pressing to them,” Polak said.
Still, the most important issue to every candidate is getting students out to vote on Thursday.
“If there is one thing you do this upcoming week. Make sure it’s just to take that one minute and go out and vote and fill out the ballot. We’re an 800 student school, one of the smallest schools in the nation, if you think that your participation [in the election] isn’t going to affect you, you could not be more wrong,” Pryor said.