Never have the candidates, which there are three campaigns, for this two-seat election been so politically across-the-board. It’s hard to determine which pair will win seeing as many factors determine votes, and have in previous years only included a handful of voters. Fortunately, I had a chance to sit with each of the campaigns to ask a couple of questions. The same two to each campaign.
1)Why did you decide upon each other as running mates?
2)Besides the listed duties of the senior class president, what would be the first thing you would want to do?
Natasha Leonard & Owen Marks
Natasha: We started talking about this last semester in senate when we realized we shared similar opinions on matters and shared a passion for the politics of it. I think we realized how much our experience complimented each other because my background is so much more in the event planning; I’ve run SLAC for the past three years, I worked in college events. Whereas Owen was coming from being the Junior Class President so he’s done much more of the administration. I have experience in that realm as well, I ran the committee of student life. Our politics really lined up.
Owen: They compliment each other and make a whole, and we are very representative of the student body but also I think we’re more pluralistic and accepting of other people’s ideals. A large part of our platform is not be exclusive in especially communication amongst people. We are very passionate about people’s voices being heard and being carried to the proper outlets. I think the way we communicate with administrators is in a way where we are not compromising however, not being disrespectful and we’re giving off a good sense of the class. While making sure our voices are still listened to.
Owen: I think we are coming into it actualizing the office of senior class president, and while there are choices and the potential to make policy changes they largely come from your personal capital with administrators rather than what the office provides you. What the office does is open the door for you and realize the sense of your argument. We’re both good at arguing with people. But besides representing the class during the trustee meetings, our large responsibility is throwing parties and events for the senior class, which Tasha is great at.
Natasha: The one thing I would like to come out of our being elected is a unified class on graduation day that looks back on this year and thinks about the fantastic events that were thrown and how everyone came together and everyone experienced a unified year and what’s going to make people feel that way is if they had events they actually enjoyed, actually played a part in planning, if they feel like we’ve come through with policy decisions and topic discussions in senate that they actually cared about and thought carried the voice of the students and if they feel had a conglomerated great experience.
Owen: I think we’ve seen in the past that any political position can be divisive and that is not our intention and it think the only way we work well and are happy is when we’re getting along with each other, and when you acknowledge that this class is incredibly diverse in opinion and backgrounds that’s the first step, instead of moving forward with a platform and saying this is my agenda. What’s more important is recognizing that there is whole lot of different people in this group and that we need to be catering to each one’s interests.
Stephanie Permut & Emily Rogers
Stephanie: I think we picked each other because we have a similar understanding of what the current climate of our school is and of what steps should be taken to rectify those problems.
Emily: We mutually decided to run together in the spring of our sophomore year. We respect each other intellectually. Sometimes it’s not really about someone’s resumé. A lot of people who run might know people through senate, slac, what have you. I think we both have confidence with each other that we’ll able to make good decisions.
Stephanie: Emily is the preferable running mate opposed to any other person I might have considered, and also has a reputation of being able to push certain ideas through senate which may involve dragging her feet when necesssary or when standing up to the administration. I find it to be respectful, useful and consistent with the types of reforms that I think are necessary to implement at the senior president or student government levels
Emily: Also Stephanie has a history of working with the democrats in Obama for America at Sarah Lawrence. I think you need a balance between both the perspective on how things work inside Bates meeting room and also an ability to mobilize.
Stephanie: Our entire background is premised around increased student self-governance and giving the student body the ability to make more decisions for itself and to become more directly involved in the various senate processes which when removed seems very insular and it seems very hard to push your ideas through senate if you don’t have a friend who is in senate. So we have this idea that is based on Bryn Mawr’s student government which is a self-governing body
Emily: What they have that we don’t is that if they want to make a change in their honor code or school policy the entire campus has to be at the meeting and have to vote on it, ideally. The quorum is only 40%, but that’s still a lot. We’re greatly inspired by it because it is self-governance.
Stephanie: I don’t think it would require eliminating senate or having to rewriting the bylaws all together. I think you can independently have some sort of quorum or participatory collective mode of making decisions while keeping the senate framework intact.
Emily: However, we don’t have control over what’s in the handbook. At Bryn Mawr they do. They wouldn’t have been able to do a smoking ban; that’s one example of school policy you would not be able to enact without the school having to decide.
Stephanie: The goal is to be giving the students in general the chance to assemble or submit recommendations that the administration would have to take into consideration, democratize senate and make the processes less opaque and more accessible for folks to communicate their own ideas.
Emily: I guess what would make us different than senior class presidents in the past is in what they have seen their roles as. In my belief this position is not just for planning parties.
Stephanie: Though we do have great ideas for that, but our primary concern is to democratize that process. Giving students the ability to collectively articulate their views and policy type reforms I think at a climate where we need that particularly.
Ray Schechter & Delaney Bradley
Delaney: I think the idea is that we are a really good balance and we’re both extroverted when we need to be and I’m a little more introverted and we think very differently. We are also both pretty social people and know a good amount of the class so, we are very approachable to all of our classmates and we felt that the two of us would reach the most amount of people, when a lot of the time I don’t think senior class presidents get to account for as much as they want, I’ve never even known my class president really, or felt that I could go up and express my ideas. We want to express our class and not just our own wants and we thought we would be good people to do that. We want to be community liaisons for our senior class and not political figure heads.
Delaney: Our first plan is to have the senior pow-wow to get an idea of what our class wants us to accomplish, so it’s not our own agenda we are pushing forward.
Ray: We would have a series of casual senior get togethers. We would we’re gonna start with one this semester and have a town meeting format where everyone can talk about what they want out of their senior year and how we can accomplish it. And then at the end of the semester we’re gonna have another pow-wow about whether or not we’ve either accomplished or what is yet to be accomplished.
Delaney: it’s not just about them talking to us, but for the class to talk to each other. I think beyond that the first thing we would want to get on the roll immediately is senior registration priority because I think many seniors are frustrated with getting bumped in our last couple of semesters. It’s our last chance to fill requirements and it’s a big issue because people are trying to get into grad schools now and didn’t know freshman year that you need these requirements now. We also want to extend the budget for stipends so that more people can go into the city for internships or bring back the internship van.
On Friday, Sept. 19, the candidates for all senate positions will be situated outside the Teahaus from 1-3pm to answer any questions you may have. Elections open, Monday, Sept. 22.