The reign of Khan: an afternoon with the new head of student government
At first glance, Associated Students President Ali Khan seems like the most busy human being on the planet as he walks through the already busy AS office, approached by anyone who needs his help with something or another. This first impression of him is not deceitful. Even as he sits down at his desk, he promises to help his fellow AS teammates as they walk up to his office door. You’d be hard pressed to believe that he was not originally elected for the position of President, as he seemed plenty ready for it.
When elected AS President Pablo Garcia resigned rather suddenly from his position this summer, the election had long concluded. It wasn’t a question of choosing the runner-up or holding another election, because the upcoming fall semester was just around the corner. Khan, who had just taken the title of Vice President of the AS, needed to fill Garcia’s role.
Khan said his new role was one of “bittersweet ambivalence”.
“I was preparing for being the Vice President, so when the surprise came I had to switch my mindset and a lot of my plans for this year, in terms of how to handle the Associated Students and what my role would be; It was a large jump to become President."
Khan was not the only one to be surprised of his new role as AS President.
Though Daniel Kolko, AS Student Trustee, had been been expecting Pablo Garcia to assume the seat Khan now holds, he has complete faith in his abilities.
"My first impression of Ali was that he is an assertive, motivated, driven, and dedicated person and now that I've known him for a good amount of time, all of those have been validated," Kolko said. "After seeing Ali in action, I can strongly say that I am confident he is going to do an amazing job this year."
Despite his presidency coming as a surprise, Khan was ready to take on the responsibility. Dean of Associated Students, Sonali Bridges recalls Khan putting himself to work immediately after being asked to step up to the role as president, soaking up as much knowledge as possible. Bridges believes "Khan, without a doubt, will be an extraordinary president."
"Ali seeks knowledge with the intention to serve all SMC students. He is currently striving to learn about his role...college policy and protocol, as well as legal governing documents in the correct context," says Bridges.
The largest issue he’s tackling is ensuring that all students at Santa Monica College are represented in the manner that they deem fit. Beyond that, he emphasizes the Associated Students’ mission statement is to increase educational advancement.
Khan said that one way of accomplishing that is by “making sure that the students’ money that was invested in Associated Students is being dispersed in a fair manner.”
He accentuated bringing about change when it comes to student tuition, noting that international student tuition has increased and books gets more expensive every year. “Part of our mission statements and part of the Associated Students’ hope for change is to make education less expensive and more accessible.”
At the end of a perfect year, Khan hopes to have set the bar for a new Associated Students team- that their new board would be set up in a position that was fair, and that they’d be ready to promote the mission of the Associate Students to year's students.
Khan, a second year English major on his way to transferring, was proud of more than just his presidency at AS. Before being recruited to Associated Students, he was on the now-defunct debate team, and was good at it too. He, along with his brother, took first place in two different debate tournaments. But what he was proudest of was not necessarily an accomplishment of his own.
“I’m proud of the cohesiveness of my board and how, it may be partially because of me, but it’s mostly because of how their personalities fit," he said. “I’m a hard worker and I believe in cooperation and that confidence comes from my team. I believe I have one of the best leadership teams that I have ever seen, and that’s on any level.”
Bridges notes that, though this board has four vacant seats, the current team is resourceful, adaptable and work together with an unparalleled level of synergy.
At the moment, the board remains incomplete with vacancies in the Vice President, Director of Budget Management, Director of Student Assistance, and Director of Community Relations chairs empty. Students are encouraged to apply for one or more positions, applications can be found online and are due by 5pm on September 18.