CG candidates answer HPC questions before general election
Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 06:04
On Monday, April 3, the House Presidents Council (HPC) hosted the last College Government (CG) elections debate before the general election. The debate was held from 8:30-10 p.m. in the Beebe Hall living room. All candidates were in attendance, including two representatives from the Student Leadership Stipend (SLS) Initiative Committee. Candidates for College Government President, Grace Abuhamad ’13 and Marjorie Cantine ’13 were given one minute to introduce themselves, while all other candidates were given 45 seconds. Introductions were followed by questions prepared by HPC.
Many of the questions followed closely with the “ResLife and campus community” theme and were read aloud by various House Presidents (HPs) seated in the audience. Candidates were given 30 seconds to respond to each of the HPC’s questions. Toward the end of the debate, candidates were asked to respond to questions which had been collected from the audience over the course of the evening.
Much of the conversation centered on strengthening the relationship between ResLife, student organizations and CG. When asked how they would promote community between CG and HPs, the two Presidential candidates responded with their own separate courses of action. Abuhamad proposed increasing the presence of HPs in Senate meetings and Senators in House Council meetings to promote further collaboration between the two institutions. Cantine proposed holding regular “town hall meetings” where HPs in addition to all Wellesley students, faculty and staff could express their frustrations and collaborate directly with members of CG.
Candidates for Multicultural Affairs Coordinator (MAC) were asked how they would strengthen multiculturalism in residential halls. SaeBom Choi ’14 responded by assuring that she would work to strengthen the role of House Council-Diversity Committee liaisons and increase cultural programming in residence halls. Meredyth Grange ’14 echoed this proposal and added that members of the Diversity Committee must be formally trained in multicultural competency in the same way the Wellesley SHEs (Sexual Health Educators) are trained. Tiana Ramos ’13 stated that she would increase discussion within House Council and expand the understanding of diversity on-campus to include not only differences in race, gender, sexual orientation and nationality, but also regional differences such as the differences between East Coast and West Coast culture.
“I think the topics that we’re going to have to watch out for is the cultural competency and multicultural awareness on campus, especially with the Office of Intercultural Education being created last year,” Rifaiyat Mahbub ’12, a member of the audience, stated. “Multicultural awareness is one of the issues that the new Cabinet is going to have to watch out for how they deal with culture shock and other things. People are really looking out to hear what they think about these issues...”
“A lot of the candidates spoke about increasing CG’s penetration into the student body,” Mannat Johal ’12 said, “and it would be nice if that actually was executed. I don’t know if they’ve been running on that platform all year, but CG has never really permeated the student community. I think that would be nice if they could do that.”
Many of the candidates restated and expanded on their general platforms throughout the debate. Cantine reiterated her campaign goals of memory, advocacy and equity, stressing the importance of increasing students’ access to library e-reserves, improving financial aid forms for students from nontraditional families and providing grocery shuttles during breaks when the dining halls are closed. Cantine also stressed her record in CG.
“You know that I will work for you because I already have for one year,” she stated. “My record of successes speaks for itself.” Cantine served for one year as student bursar, during which she was instrumental in the creation of the student organization credit card.
Abuhamad stressed her experience as RA of the French House, whose application pool doubled this year, and active involvement in many activities on campus including the Wellesley crew team. Abuhamad reiterated her commitment to increasing the sense of community and Blue Pride spirit on campus. She also stressed the importance of an open and transparent CG, and proposed a program to harness the leadership experience with which many students enter Wellesley College in order to increase the level of student leadership on campus.