Cabinet elections in progress with few contested seats

Photo by Lexie Boren

By Amelia Eichel

Elections for the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark (ASLC) Cabinet are underway with online voting available until March 16, although many of the positions are uncontested. Candidates responded to questions from Peter Kranitz ’18, Editor-in-Chief of the Pioneer Log, who moderated the candidates’ debate on March 8. Although the debate was open to the public, only four students were in attendance who are not members of ASLC or the Pioneer Log.

Alden Chatfield ’19 and Naylor Finnerty ’19 are the two candidates running for ASLC Vice President. Finnerty is abroad and was not present for the debate. Kranitz asked Chatfield a series of questions based on the statement Chatfield gave in his cabinet application.

Chatfield stated he wanted to overhaul the Senate’s Rules of Order. The purpose of the Rules of Order is to guide how senate runs and provide an efficient formal structure for debates and recording information. For example, Section 4 states which members of the body speak and when they are allowed to speak. Section 6 deals with the various motions senators can perform.

“I think those sections create a framework by which we are expected to act kind of like robots and not like people,” Chatfield said. “I think it gets in the way of normal human conversation. Sometimes this space can be very inaccessible. We have dealt with low interest by student body, low turnout of the public, and generally I want to do things that will improve visibility and efficiency for senate. I really believe a conversational approach is better than a procedural one.”

Finnerty, a transfer student, hopes to bring new ideas to ASLC. He also suggested different practices LC can adopt and avoid based on experience at his previous school.

“I would try to bring better printing, more flexible student health hours and better food availability,” Finnerty said over email. “For example, the Maggie’s-type building at my previous school allowed students to use meal points for something like a pastry/coffee/fruit combo, and it was open until 2 a.m. on the weekends.”

Kenneth Leja ’21 and Tom Stratton ’20 are both running for Student Organizations Committee (SOC) coordinator. Whoever is elected would be in charge of allocating funds to student clubs and organizations.

Both candidates are confident in their ability to handle large sums of money.

Leja is primarily concerned with ending the SOC’s “hibernation period” and making the allocation process more accessible to students. The SOC meets at the beginning of the fall semester then does not meet for months on end until the allocation process begins again in the spring.

Leja said this time could be used to “educate the committee on aspects of the financial system” to “create a more reliable structure for the committee” in terms of making sure that club funds are being spent appropriately, as well as dispersing information about how to get club funding.

Stratton wants people within the committee to work more closely with each other and to open more lines of communication between club leaders and the SOC.

“I think having more involvement (between the SOC coordinator and) the clubs will make it easier for the clubs to approach the coordinator if they have a problem with something or questions that need to be answered,” Stratton said.

When asked about how they would remain neutral when deciding how much money clubs get, both candidates agreed that the impact that a club has on the student body is the primary factor in determining how much of the funding that they ask for is provided, along with specificity in and punctuality of the club application

Violet Betters ’20 is the only presidential candidate. She was a senator for fall 2016 and spring 2017 and is currently the Community Service and Relations Committee (CSRC) coordinator.

Kranitz asked Betters about what specific goals she hopes to accomplish as ASLC president.

“I do not have any specific agenda,” Betters said. “I want to be the voice of the students. I don’t want it to be my agenda. I want it to be their agenda. So I don’t have exact issues that I plan on tackling, but I generally want to be the voice of the students and see as we go what I can do for them.”

William Witmer ’20 is running for ASLC treasurer uncontested. He is the current treasurer and served as senator during the 2016-17 school year.

Kranitz asked that Witmer elaborate on a statement he made in his voter packet where he mentioned that he would “improve on (his) mistakes this year and streamline club money management.”

Witmer clarified that they were sloppy clerical mistakes regarding where club money was going.

“I caught those mistakes,” Witmer said. “Moving forward I definitely know where I messed up and how to not do that.”

In response to streamlining club money management, Witmer discussed making the terms of reimbursement more clear by improving reimbursement forms for clubs.

Ariel McGee ’21 is running for Chief Justice uncontested. She became a senator this spring and has been working on a “Know Your Rights” forum for students. She is also one of the two members of the Constitutional Affairs Committee, along with current Chief Justice Jacob Muscarella ’21.

“I think that any committee with only two people is just a conversation; there is not much of a discussion,” McGee said. “So, I want to encourage student participation in the Constitutional Affairs Committee.”

Mikah Bertelmann ’21 is the only person running for the CSRC Coordinator position. He currently serves on the CSRC and hopes to increase communication between the CSRC and the student body as well as with ASLC.

Nobody is currently running for Student Academic Affairs Board Chair, a position with  stringent prerequisites and extensive responsibilities . ASLC Vice President Zack Johnson ’19 is hopeful that ASLC will find a candidate soon.

This article was current at the time of publishing. Results of the elections will be announced after polls close at 2 p.m. on March 16.

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