A.S. votes in four new members as a new vacancy is announced

Monday’s Associated Students meeting announced the election of four new A.S. board directors, the announcement of one more vacancy as well as the board’s approval of funding for new campus activities. The four open board positions were filled through a rigorous voting process. After careful deliberation, the A.S. board elected Caitlin Corker as Vice President, Hasun Khan as Director of Budget Management, Yana Demeshko as Director of Community Relations and Hamza Sabri as Director of Student Assistance.

Caitlin Corker, a continuing student, unanimously won the position of Vice President. While making her case before the board ahead of the vote, she expressed her dedication to the A.S., an ambition to help international students transfer to their university of choice, and find work support.

Corker, who describes herself as an unconventional thinker, explains that the A.S. and student government have to “work the system to better the students.” She also wants to reach out to students looking to fill positions for counseling and student services, Academic Senate, District Planning and Advisory (DPAC), and SMC Honor Council.

The board unanimously chose Hasun as their new Director of Budget Management, joining the board just a few seats away from his brother, who presently sits at the head of the board as A.S. President. Last year, the Khan brothers, along with Jon Kent Ethridge II, previously founded SMC TEDx club, a tech world-thinking club set out to bring the internationally known “TED Talks” to SMC. Now they are respective board members, ready to work together.

Hasun already began comfortably voicing opinions as members on the board, including his brother, spoke out of turn at the meeting. “I’m not going to hold back anything,” says Hasun, adding that he’s “here to help the board be as efficient as possible.” Ali says about his brother’s position, “We’re lucky to have him.”

Hasun, already established on the board as a previous Director of Student Advocacy, is a student senator and advocate of the student success program and student equity. He presented himself as the boy-genius accountant more than familiar with the paper work and lingo of the trade. Multiple members agreed that Hasun “had done his homework.”

Demeshko received the unanimous vote for Director of Community Relations after her opponent for Vice President, Corker, won the position. Demeshko has been part of the A.S. since October 2012 and performed as an ICC Commissioner from October to June 2013. She also previously ran for the position of the A.S. Director of Publicity in last year’s elections. Demeshko, a member of the SMC Civic Engagement Program (CEP) is experienced in student outreach and has volunteered for an LGBT coming out group in her native country of Russia since January.

She values the opportunity A.S. presents, explaining that in Russia, “There is no such thing as student government at a high school, college, or university. Seeing that it actually exists was very exciting and I wanted to join right away.” She feels confident about her position and wants to create more programs and volunteering events that will benefit the students of SMC.

The board deliberated the longest over filling the seat of Director of Student Assistance. The two candidates, Hamza Sabri, previous candidate for Director of Community Relations, and Julio Santizo, differed in their experience at SMC, however both stressed the need to increase student aid opportunity awareness.

The first candidate Santizo, is a Computer Science and Music major and SMC student since 2005. Previously, he served as PTK president and surpassed expectations over the course of one year by doubling the honorary society’s membership. Other clubs Santizo has been apart of includes the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), the success-oriented program Adelante, is a current commissioner for the ICC, and founding treasurer of the Opera Club.

Sabri, in his first semester at SMC, only learned of the various A.S. board vacancies a day before the deadline for applications were due. Sabri quickly brushed up on bylaws, and prepped for an interview with the board on Friday.

Members of the board insisted Santizo’s merits and credentials for the job are solidified by his lengthy career at SMC and his crucial position he’s held on campus. In Sabri’s favor, multiple board members were impressed by his ability to comprehend material quickly, his drive to ask questions and gain more knowledge, and his “relentless” attitude.

In a final 7 to 5 vote, the board named Hamza as their new Director of Student Advocacy.

A previous resident of Detroit and founder of a few successful food drives in the area, Sabri intends to help more students gain access to financial aid. According to Director of Outreach, Robert Espinoza, roughly 534 students are currently homeless right now. He intends to increase housing accommodations and work stipends for students, better publicize financial awards and merit scholarships, and better connect students to counseling opportunities. Sabri previously attended Santa Barbara City College, where he studied film and landed an internship at Paramount studios, which is what brought him to Los Angeles.

Opportunities to join the board are still available, as the A.S. announced a new vacancy for Secretary, previously occupied by Cinthia Magaña. The board encourages Political Science and Computer Science majors to apply, but anyone is who is interested may apply. Applications for the position are both online and in the A.S. office. The deadline to turn in applications is at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 14.