George Sandoval Wins Special Election for A.S. Vice President

Over the shoulder shot of Santa Monica College Associated Students President Jennifer Chen’s desk with gavel and notes during an Associated Students Board of Directors meeting in the Cayton Center Lounge on the Santa Monica College main campus in Santa Monica, California, on Monday, February 26, 2018. ( Corsair Photo: Matthew Martin )

Over the shoulder shot of Santa Monica College Associated Students President Jennifer Chen’s desk with gavel and notes during an Associated Students Board of Directors meeting in the Cayton Center Lounge on the Santa Monica College main campus in Santa Monica, California, on Monday, February 26, 2018. (Corsair Photo: Matthew Martin)

The room was buzzing with nervous tension as A.S. President Jennifer Chen announced the candidates for A.S. Vice President. Both candidates George Sandoval and Kevin Picard possess impressive resumes and are highly active on campus, so supporters knew that it would take more than a listing of impressive credentials to secure the votes of their prospective colleagues. On Monday, March 12 for the first time this semester, every seat was filled in the Santa Monica College A.S. Center when a meeting of the A.S. board of directors was called to session.

After a brief introduction by Dr. Nancy Grass welcoming incoming councilor Erika Knox, the board opened the discussion for public comments. The only one made was an endorsement for candidate George Sandoval by fellow Alpha Gamma Sigma (AGS) club member Benjamin Reyes. The agenda that day was packed, so President Jennifer Chen moved quickly along to the election by introducing the candidates.

Only three people submitted applications for the position and only two, Kevin Picard and George Sandoval, were present when Chen called their names to make brief speeches before the board.

Picard began by covering his history at SMC. He spoke about his four years at the college, emphasizing his extensive work within A.S. in the past, which included helping to shape the constitution and bylaws the board currently operates under. He joined A.S. in his freshman year and has been participating in campus life, both as a member of various clubs and as an advocate for the "study buddies" online program, an online service to help students connect with eachother for help with classes, college applications, and campus life.

Picard made the case that he would be an ideal choice on account of his intimate familiarity with the inner workings of A.S. and his knowledge of campus services. When asked to cite a specific goal he wished to accomplish as vice president, Picard said that his primary goal is increasing student participation in A.S. by speaking in classrooms around campus and engaging with students whenever he sees the opportunity.

His opponent, and eventual victor of the election, George Sandoval, boasts a very similar resume to Picard. He began his active career at SMC by participating heavily in the AGS club, where, in the words of fellow club member Ben Reyes, he "actively encouraged students to participate" in club activities and SMC events. To demonstrate his devotion to the local community and ability to function within the framework of a structured system, Sandoval cited his past efforts to establish the "free blue book" program in the Cayton Center, as well as his heavy participation in the "Brother to Brother" youth mentor program at John Tyler Elementary.

When he was asked if he had any specific goals in mind for his tenure as vice president, he got remarkably specific, saying that he noticed that the pathway from the Cayton Center to the Letters and Science building is not wheelchair accessible and that he would like to rectify that situation. He also mentioned that he wanted to take a club-centric approach to student involvement on campus, using the existing club structure both as a pool of talent to staff the student committees in A.S., and use club participation to inform students about campus events and student resources.

After both candidates had made their speeches and were submitted to an intense period of questioning by the A.S. board, a final statement was made by Faculty Advisor Dr. Nancy Grass asking the voting members to maintain their objectivity. She requested the board to consider which candidate would be the best for the specific goals of the board and would have the most to add to A.S., looking past any personal connections or biases they may have.

The final count proved Sandoval the winner, with a total of 10 votes to his opponent's one.