AS Members Discuss Concerns on Live Streamed Open Panel
The Associated Students live streamed an open panel discussion via Facebook on Wednesday, April 5. Their priorities were to release information about the improvements that A.S. has made, to address concerns they have about the candidates running for the new A.S. board, and to answer questions from other students. Most current A.S. members were concerned that their potential successors, who were up for election this week, may not be ready for the responsibilities that come with their positions.
A.S. Budget Manager Orlando Gonzalez, currently studying Economics, emphasized that anyone running for his position needs to clearly know their responsibilities beforehand. Each position has a specific purpose; the budget manager’s duties include reading every proposal and keeping records of every dollar spent by the A.S.
Terrence Ware Jr., the current A.S. President, expressed his concern that some of the candidates lacked knowledge about the A.S. positions they are running for. “[It] makes no logical sense to be running for a position you don’t know anything about,” Ware Jr. said.
Other A.S. members added that they can help candidates learn about their positions' responsibilities. Stephany Triska, current head of A.S. Community Relations, said that a potentially inexperienced candidate should ask as many questions as they can to prepare for the position. Triska, a political science student, shared her own experience and confessed that, just like some of the current candidates, she had no prior experience in student government.
Some A.S. members were sympathetic. Kathy Pho, head of A.S. activities, said that the first semester of activities is practically a testing ground for a new A.S board.
When asked why some students might not know what the A.S. is and what their role is on campus, members of the A.S. board mentioned the low participation of the student body in the elections. Some A.S. members stated that students might not actually care about what’s going on with SMC's student government.
Anna Eyfer, who is in charge of ICC communications, said she tried to create a stronger campaigning atmosphere compared to that of 2016. Her efforts included emailing professors and asking them to encourage students to vote, as well as handing out flyers about the elections to students around campus. Despite her hard work, Eyfer said she doesn’t think there was an increase of student participation compared to last year’s elections.
A few of the A.S. candidates such as Pedro Lopez (running for Director of Community Relations), Leo Parshukov (Student Trustee) and Jennifer Chen (President) were present at the debate after listening to Ware Jr. list the goals the current A.S. has worked on accomplishing over the past year, such as increasing A.S. board efficiency, providing leadership with student success and equity issues, and providing leadership on access and availability. Chen asked the current A.S. members for any advice on how to raise awareness for students about what the A.S. is doing. Walther Perez, the current Director of Instructional Support, replied that having more students sign up for the ICC and being more involved would be very helpful.
In a closing statement, Pho said she understands that even though all the meetings and projects they are currently working on are posted on their social media, it is not enough. Pho believes that it's also important to have more student-led discussions such as live streaming open panels, where students can ask questions related to the A.S. and their activities while being answered instantly by A.S. members.