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New NCSA Cabinet hopes to enhance transparency

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“FTK”: the unofficial NCSA motto.
Credit: Adriana Gavilanes

The new semester welcomes a fresh New College Student Alliance (NCSA) Cabinet for the 2019-2020 school year. The former Co-president, third-year Steven Keshishian, transitioned from the shared role to the sole position of NCSA President. Members of the new Cabinet defined their responsibilities, shared what they learned their experiences from last year and explained how that will carry over to the new semester.

“The main thing I do is oversee my Cabinet. I make sure everything runs smoothly and do everything that the Great Book outlines for me to do, plus more, along with the responsibilities that come with operating in such a turbulent time,” Keshishian said.

The NCSA budget has been sharply reduced over the past year, largely because of lower student enrollment. Most of the NCSA budget comes directly from Activity & Service fees, which is determined by the amount of enrolled students. Facing shrinking budgets, students have struggled with reduced funds available from the Student Allocations Committee (SAC) and the Council of Academic Affairs (CAA).

“We are trying to secure money for the student government, finding ways to solve the problems we had,” Keshishian said. “I’m mostly trying to bring the best team together, and I think I have.”

Chief of Staff third-year Rolando Tate is responsible for managing official NCSA members and upholding each member to their duties. Tate is also responsible for calling and hosting all cabinet meetings. 

“Last year we had a lot of problems with, I wouldn’t call it turnover, but apathy within NCSA. For example, smaller positions would not get certain things done or up-to-date when they needed to,” Tate said. “I just want more things to get done on campus.”

One idea he has for the Cabinet to work more effectively is for more transparency about what elected representatives accomplish, which will also help ensure every Cabinet member is carrying their weight.

Multiple Cabinet members voiced that a key point of inefficiency last year was the lack of communication.

“I feel like last year there were a lot of issues with communication between NCSA and the student body, so I’d say my biggest thing is making sure that there is constant communication and staying on top of that and not letting that get glossed over this year,” Secretary and second-year Daria Paulis said.

She explained that she is responsible for taking notes and sending them to the Students List and the Forum to keep the student body aware of and involved in NCSA decision making.

Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion and thesis student Alex Barbat explained that she would like to work on transparency within the cabinet and serve as a better link between faculty, staff and students. 

“One of my goals in this position is to work on improving student and police interactions and help them to better understand the power dynamics they have with students on this campus, particularly students of color or LGBTQ students,” Barbat said in an email interview.

Vice President of Student Life and third-year Joey Daniels hopes to support the implementation of a new Forum and help ensure a clean transition.

“One big thing I plan on doing is getting a committee together for the Forum to develop a new section of the Great Book specifically for the Forum and rules and guidelines for it,” Daniels said. “But also to help get the [new] Forum together before it’s implemented.”

The NCSA Cabinet is responsible for ensuring the interests of the student body are supported and advocated for. Keshishian is convinced they will be able to do just that. 

“They are some of the hardest working people on campus that I’m blessed to have the opportunity to work with,” Keshishian said.

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