ASLC Senate Debate 2017

Seventeen candidates, most of them freshmen, are currently vying for ten open Senate seats in the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark (ASLC). A debate, moderated by Pioneer Log Editor-in-Chief Peter Kranitz ’18 and Managing Editor Althea Billings ’19, was held on Sept. 18 between fourteen of those candidates. Allison Behrens ’21, Feona Rehfuss ’19 and Matt Stevenson ’20 did not attend. Moderators Kranitz and Billings started the night by asking candidates for opening statements.

“I want to ensure everyone’s voice is heard,” Catherine Cinguina ’21 said. “I’m a confident leader who cares about what people care about and making your goals and dreams reality.”

Jacob Muscarella ’21 focused on the impact his voice would have for marginalized voices.

“I come from a place of having a lot of privilege,” Muscarella said. “I grew up white, middle class, and male, and I have the ability to make people’s voices heard.”

Kenneth Leja ’21 said that he wants to make sure that the student body was taken seriously by the administration.

“It’s  really important … that the student body is represented as one of the most important factors of the college as a whole,” Leja said.

After opening statements, Kranitz and Billings moved on to individual questions. They asked several candidates about their qualifications.

“Last year, I got politically active,” Nicole Dean ’21 said. “I interned on several political campaigns … We worked to raise minimum wage and provide sick leave for workers in Washington … We won, which led to a statewide mandate. I also attended leadership conferences.” In addition, Dean served as the first freshman representative on her high school’s student council.

Brendan Mitchell ’21 and Jeremiah Thomas P Koshy ’21 also took part in their high school’s student councils. Koshy said that he worked as a liaison between students and staff, and would continue to do so at LC. Mitchell said that he wanted to take the skills he learned in high school into a collegiate atmosphere.

“Everyone here chose to go here,” Mitchell said. “We have the responsibility to make this the best four years of our lives.”

Jordan Luke ’21 said that since he is an athlete, he felt that he had the ability to take that competitive spirit and work to improve the school.

Throughout the debate, the topic of food service hours came up many times, specifically the fact that the Trail Room is now closed for dinner. Kranitz asked Tom Stratton ’20 what he would do to “make the everyday life of students more enjoyable.”

“There’s just little things that we have here that are good but can be done better in my opinion,” Stratton said. “The Bon meals, they had to close the Troom (Trail Room) and that has caused massive lines at the Bon, and fewer food options for those who can’t go to dinner at the normal hours.”

Ryan Kochman ’21 echoed Stratton’s sentiments.

“I’ve spoken very fervently in the past on this matter of food quality and food services,” Kochman said. “The Troom has to have better dinner access … on top of that, (I want to) allow more people to have spaces to play music, so I’m looking to encourage that.”

Kochman also mentioned that he would seek to push for a deep-fried food option at the school.

“I’m the deep-fried candidate,” Kochman said.

Naylor Finnerty ’19, a transfer student, commented that since he is familiar with two different school systems, he is prepared to take the good from his previous school and apply it to where LC needs it.

Quinn Vinlove ’21 was questioned on the fact that in his ASLC application photo, he was holding a sign with a hammer and sickle.

“I totally am a socialist,” Vinlove said. “ I love activism, and I believe on of the things that LC lacks is a culture that puts social justice first.”

Another topic that caused debate between the candidates was the question of smokers’ rights. Kochman said that the school must take proactive action to protect smokers’ rights before “they begin to be stripped away.” Orion Rainer ‘21 disagreed.

“So if we’re improving rights for the smoking population, are we also going to improve medical coverage or health care options here,” Rainer said. “Or are we just going to give them lung cancer and let them rot, hang them out to dry. What’s your plan?”

Wesley Chen ’21 responded to Rainer.

“I think Ryan is saying that he wants to make sure there’s a space for smokers,” Chen said. “The main thing is to feel comfortable around here.”

Later on, Kochman responded to criticism over his smokers’ rights platform: “You can take those DSAs out of my dead, cold hands, you’re not taking them away from me.”

Chen also brought up the topic of key cards. At LC, key cards can only swipe a student into the dormitory in which they reside, with the exception of the Holmes-Hartzfeld-Apartments complex, which has some reciprocal swipe capabilities.

“I would want to push (to change that),” Chen said.

Hannah Posey-Scholl ’20 added that in the event of an active shooter situation on-campus, the fact that students may be unable to get into any given building could be life-threatening.

Kranitz and Billings ended with general questions, one of which was on how to remedy student apathy. Posey-Scholl suggested a Google calendar with school events that everyone could see, so that everyone would know what was going on. Zack Hart ’21 also suggested random acts of kindness on campus. Other candidates suggested leading by example.

“I’m a very passionate person, and I like to share that, inspire people to keep that same passion that I have within me alive in them throughout the winter,” Kochman said.

At the time of posting, Orion Rainer is not on the ASLC ballot.

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