Senior class presidents Kurt Santana and Toya Singh are hitting the ground running with the message “empower”. Their main goal for the new year is to be advocates for the student body, and have students be as much a part of the change they work towards as possible.
They ran their campaign without a detailed platform, but this was intentional—both feel that this enhances how much they can truly represent SLC students, and they didn’t want to run on empty promises. Santana commented, “[Our platform] was just that we care, we have your back, and that we’ll listen to every single one of your concerns.”
Both presidents said that they want their experiences with other groups on campus to speak louder than any platform they might have had. Santana mentioned his participation in “Students Against the Rebrand”, a group committed to fighting the neoliberalization of SLC, and Singh has been involved in SLAC since her first year at school.
They both recognize the great responsibility that comes along with being in the position, and aim to show the student body that the position can have real influence. Singh commented, “Senate/student government has historically low participation right now, but I do think that that is partly a reaction to how it’s been in the past. I think students are only apathetic because there’s a lack of belief in it, and it feeds off of each other.” She continued, “Once you can give students belief in the fact that Senate actually delivers, students will run for it, and students will empower themselves.”
On more specific goals for this year, Santana talked about the need for better designating and marking the spaces on campus where students can legally smoke. He wants the school to work with students who are smokers, and said that while the smoking ban cannot be overturned at this point, “I do think you’re actually taking away a freedom and some sort of agency from these students if you say, you’re not going to be able to do that.”
On the subject of college administration, which the class presidents from last year were critical of, Santana said, “I think there are some fantastic people who are working in administrative departments, but I don’t know who’s responsible for certain things—let’s say, for instance, changing the pub. The pub used to be a great resource for people to go and make a community, but now it seems like something out of Orlando studios, and it’s a way, you know, if you had to make profit. And so I don’t know whether or not I should blame the person who works in spaces, or should I blame AVI? I don’t know what’s going on.” He continued, “It’s just hard to make a clear definition of what administration is.”
Singh added onto that. “Administrative figures, when you narrow them down, single them out, they’re lovely,” she said. “I’ve worked in SLAC, so I’ve worked with them for three years, and they’re all really really good people working to make stuff work.”
However, both mentioned the need for increased transparency surrounding administrative decisions at the College, and how they want to mobilize students around this. “You’re going to see a lot of people outside doing protests,” Santana added.
They also feel that committees on campus need to be restructured so that students feel like they’re being represented, and said that while students are on these committees already, decisions that are made within them need to be better communicated with the student body.
Despite a wide range of goals for this year, both presidents are confident in what the new year can bring. “The whole point of running without a platform is students give you that platform,” Singh said. “Now it’s time for those students to give us a platform, and for students to tell us what they want.”
Ava Rigelhaupt '19