Over the last two weeks, the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark (ASLC) held elections for its 2021-22 Cabinet, continued a diversity, equity and inclusion training and worked to resolve the recent internal conflict regarding compensation.
After an initial lack of candidate applications, Director of Elections Ariel McGee ’21 granted a week-long extension on the application deadline and waived the usual signature requirement to encourage more students to run.
Still, just two positions were contested. Alaryx Tenzer ’23 defeated Frances Haase ’23 for the role of student organizations coordinator. Macarena Vives ’22 was elected Campus Activities Board (CAB) Chair, winning over Annabelle Rousseau ’23.
For the first time, candidates for president and vice president were required to run on a joint ticket. Sarah Lind-MacMillan ’22 and Olivia Weiss ’23 were elected president and vice president respectively. Their campaign’s platform emphasized open communication with the administration as well as equity and inclusion at LC.
Specifically, Lind-MacMillan aims to better connect the ASLC Cabinet and Senate, restructure the distributions of stipends to student leaders and create and run a multi-day conference on transformative justice. Weiss’ goals include promoting a better understanding of ASLC’s functions to the student body, educating ASLC members about their roles and how they connect to one another, and creating space for the public to get involved in Senate meetings via a “public comment” feature.
There were no candidates for the Student Academic Affairs Board (SAAB) chair. McGee plans to hold a special election in the coming weeks. Senators and representatives will vote to confirm next year’s SAAB chair. All other Cabinet positions have been filled.
McGee remarked on the special effort to hold this election during COVID-19.
“A lot of people’s minds are elsewhere and a lot of people are unwilling or unable to take on leadership positions right now,” McGee said.
According to McGee, 21% of the student body voted in the Cabinet elections. This was a higher turnout than past elections.
At the March 16 Senate meeting, members of ASLC spent the first hour discussing diversity, equity and inclusion within the organization. The second hour saw Vice President Jeremiah Koshy ’21 update ASLC on the recent compensation conflict among some Cabinet members.
On Feb. 21, then SAAB Chair Arunima Jamwal ’21 began boycotting their position in response to pay inequities within ASLC. Since then, college administrators have been involved in better explaining the way student leaders are compensated. Vice President, Chief of Staff, General Counsel and Board Secretary David Reese plans to circulate a memo that clarifies the compensation rights of volunteer contractors, according to Koshy. Most student leaders that receive stipends are classified as volunteers.
The college may change the term used to describe payments to student leaders. Rather than “stipend,” “award” or “honorarium” may be written into future volunteer agreements between student leaders and the college. According to Koshy, administrators feel that these alternative words better define the structure of compensation given to students.
Recently, Jamwal resigned as SAAB chair. According to Koshy, they did not respond to multiple emails requesting further details of their boycott and a conflict resolution meeting with Ombudsperson Valerie White. Due to contractual obligations, Jamwal will likely receive the entirety of their stipend through the end of the academic year.
For the remainder of the semester, SAAB Grants Director Ela Pencl ’21, along with other members of SAAB, plan to split the chair’s many responsibilities among themselves.