SA candidates unveil platforms
March 23, 2010
Candidates for the College of William and Mary Student Assembly presidency officially began campaigning Monday at midnight after the extended deadline to declare candidacy had passed.
SA Department of Diversity Initiatives Undersecretary for LGBTQ Issues Jessee Vasold ’11 elected to run for the presidency, joining SA Chairman Ben Brown ’11 and SA Deputy Chief of Staff Chrissy Scott ’11 on the ballot.
Vasold will run with Caitlin Goldblatt ’11, as vice presidential candidate Kim Green ’13 left the ballot. Goldblatt was previously running for Class of 2011 senator.
“[Green] had to make sure her priorities were in line,” Vasold said. “[She needs to] focus on her work and not be involved in something as big as a campaign for SA.”
Green declined to comment on the election.
Sen. Betty Jeanne Manning ’12 will run with Brown, and Kaveh Sadeghian ’11 will run with Scott.
With the onset of campaigning, candidates were allowed to launch their respective websites. All websites went live at midnight, Vasold and Goldblatt’s site is, however, currently in the template stage. Vasold said the website would be up soon and that the delay was due to technical issues.
Candidate platforms were also released late Sunday night.
Brown and Manning said they would follow a diminished platform with minimal promises.
“These are not necessarily things we’re promising everyone, just a few things we’re either already looking into or [have] decided to look into in the future,” Brown said. “We’d be hesitant to start going off on wild tangents with new programs before we make sure the ones we have are working as efficiently as possible.”
By not making promises, Brown said he and Manning could focus on the issues at hand, such as concerns about finance.
“Finance is the Student Assembly’s most important job, in the sense that that’s the only thing we have direct authority over,” Brown said. “As we can see from the amount of money we’re sitting on from year to year, obviously something isn’t working.”
Other important issues for Brown and Manning include sustainability, academic issues and reaching out to the graduate student community.
Brown said that he would like to see the creation of a course cross-listed with Environmental Studies and Business to cover sustainable business. While this process would likely take several years, he said that he would like to take the initial steps for the creation of this class.
Scott and Sadeghian also said they hoped to improve student service initiatives.
“Community service is a huge aspect of campus life,” Scott said. “We want to make [service] organizations more aware of the resources we have available to them, because they do exist.”
One such resource is a $10,000 reserve from which organizations would draw for service activities.
“What use is [this reserve] if people don’t know it’s there?” Saveghian said. “So I think one of the big things we need to work on is trying to connect the different sectors of campus that aren’t necessarily in tune with what’s going on in the Student Assembly.”
Scott said that student input would play a large role in her campaign.
“I already had somebody say to me, ‘Chrissy if you become president, can we be able to check our flex online?’” Scott said. “So that’s something we put under dining services — working on little things like being able to check your flex online so you know when you order Domino’s if you’re going to be able to pay for it or not.”
Vasold and Goldblatt said they would focus on student empowerment within the SA.
Their platform, which they have labeled BROS for “Biggest Reform Operation Since” calls for greater student involvement in College affairs.
“It’s a campaign platform based around social justice,” Goldblatt said. “We’re trying to appeal to a broad demographic of William and Mary students because we want to create a situation on campus where everyone feels a level of efficacy as students and everyone feels they can get involved.”
Major issues for Vasold and Goldblatt include student physical and mental health advocacy. The two hope to expand free sexually transmitted infection testing through the Student Health Center to cover all STIs and subsidize personal evidence recovery kits — otherwise known as “rape kits” — through the health center.
Vasold and Goldblatt said that activism for student issues would be a large part of their campaign.
“[We want to] turn the Student Assembly into an activist organization – not necessarily left-wing activism, but students’ rights, students’s empowerment and campus empowerment,” Goldblatt said.
The elections for all SA positions are scheduled to be held March 31.