Chun Elected A.S. President
"Last year's board shook the institution, and hopefully this year's administration can re-shape it," said newly elected Associated Student President David Chun.
Over 1,000 Santa Monica College students voted in the much contested and long debated A.S. elections that culminated last Thursday in a less than 4 percent victory for globally and socially minded Chun.
Chun, 23, credits his marginal win to a more hands-on approach to campaigning. "I personally went to 40 to 50 classes and made presentations," he said. "I feel like every vote I got was by promising students what they wanted."
Current A.S. secretary and runner-up Elizabeth Mullens, 19, contends that his methods may have bent a few rules. She alledged that Chun did not have permission to approach students in the Cayton Center computer lab, for the election code states that students are not allowed to use A.S. facilities for campaigning.
She also claimed that Professor Amber Katherine was instrumental in his campaign, despite the fact that the election code does not allow faculty or staff to assist candidates.
Mullens finds it curious that every member of her slate won and plans on appealing the results of the election, which she lost by less than 50 votes. "I'm so proud of my team, I'm glad they won. The chair is supposed to be neutral and I trust them next year to have the best interests of the students," she said.
Jafet Santiago, newly elected vice president, was a member of Mullen's slate. "I knew what I wanted to do when I got here last fall," he said. "I feel the students really won with the election this year." Santiago, 17, a political science major and current commissioner of school relations for the director of financial support, plans on gaining further political experience over the summer as an intern for California Sen. Dianne Feinstein in Washington, D.C. Among his aspirations for next year are institutionalizing a textbook rental program and re-entertaining the proposed new constitution, which Chun voted for.
"I felt as though the constitution change was an excuse to put on a resumé," he said. "If we can barely keep 12 members, how can we make 37 members get together?"
Students also approved the implementation of a new director for sustainability, a position Chun is eager to work with. "I'm a big environmentalist....It will probably be someone who attends the San Luis Obispo three-day sustainability conference," that he and several other A.S. members plan on attending over the summer, he said.
Chun and Santiago both agree that student interaction is implicit in establishing a successful governing body. "I want to create a better forum for communication," said Chun, who plans on revamping the A.S. website. "That's the initial step before accomplishing anything."
In its second year online, this year's election saw a 50 percent decline in votes, which can be blamed on a semester marred by conflict, proving the new format is not without its faults.
An internal error in the A.S. office led to a run-off between student trustee candidates Cameron Henton and Joseph Lee Suh until Suh dropped out of the race late Tuesday evening.
"I just feel good right now," said Chun. "I want to enjoy this new position that I'm in."