All you need to know about 2022 Fall Election Assembly

This semester’s election assembly took place Wednesday, November 30 in the Student Union. Students ran for positions including Quest editor, senate one and two-term positions, president and vice president, and each candidate got a chance to defend their case as to why they should be chosen as the student body’s next leaders. There were some fresh faces, with Declan Bradley and Henry Kendrick for Quest editor, Lindsay “LEW” Worrell, Meera Balan, Xixi Dukes, and Christian Ramos for senate full term, Luiz Felipe Horta for senate half term, and Sean Brown for VP. Those re-running included Quest editor Anie Kotha, Senators Jefferson Ratliff and Lennox Reeder, and President Safi Zenger. 

First up to the metaphorical podium were prospective Queditors Henry and Declan (Anie could not make it because of a schedule conflict). 

What’s your vision for the Quest? Why are you the right person to accomplish this vision?

Kendrick spoke on the fact that the Quest was the only place on campus for students to pursue journalistic opportunities, and asserted his desire to expand these opportunities as a Quest editor. Bradley then responded with something that encapsulated his vision for the Quest; Go big or go home. “The journalism that we’re used to and the journalism that we’re doing tomorrow is totally different…as someone doing CS, I have a unique perspective on the changes within journalism.”

How will you best represent the views of the student body at large? 

Kendrick tapped in on his extensive prior involvement writing for the Quest, saying, “my involvement in the Quest so far has prepared me to understand the goings on around campus, things that students are talking about, relationships that students have with the administration, so I think that I already have a strong understanding of what the student body would likely want us to report on.” Bradley then responded, speaking to the practice of “open door journalism,” stories where readers can actually be involved, and focused this practice as something to be integrated into the Quest.

How will you support minority communities and students in the Quest?

After a long pause, Kendrick asserted that “the number one duty of the Quest is to make certain that every single person is heard.” Though cut off by time, he was later asked to finish his answer during audience questions. He referenced different BIPOC issues that the Quest has covered, and then asserted that if other issues were to come up again, it is important that the Quest is able to deal with these issues. Declan then stressed the importance of communication, saying, “we can always have more opportunities for readers to be offering their voices. The more we hear from students, the more we can serve their needs and wants.”

What is the most important aspect of journalism to you?

It was obvious to see both candidates’ passion for journalism. Kendrick responded that reporting news accurately was the most important, and “the number one job of any editor is to make sure that any person who is involved in a particular story has their voice expressed accurately.” Declan held a similar sentiment, saying that, “journalism is about finding the truth, and that’s a big task, but we have to just make sure that stories are true and have the things we need to know.”

Because third candidate Anie Kotha could not make it to the assembly, her platform was read. She alluded to her prior experience at the Quest, especially centering around big stories such as the Paul Currie protests and what she gained from this. She then mentioned the institutional knowledge that she possessed from her time at the Quest and her unique perspective as a woman of color working at the Quest. 

This concluded questions for the Queditors. Following this, prospective senators were called up to present. After going down the line and introducing themselves, they were each asked to outline their personal platforms for senate.

First up was Worrell, who focused their platform on student safety, especially relating to sexual safety and fostering a sub-free environment for sub-free students, wanting to create a safer environment for all Reedies. “This is a place where we want to feel safe, welcomed, and appreciated,” said Worrell. Ratliff then spoke, speaking mainly about how his work in the senate is not yet completed: “I had the privilege this last semester of being chair of appointments committee…and that is a position that I’d like to retain upon being reelected, really working more on supporting our student workers.” Balan then shared her platform on student safety and accessibility, bringing up issues with the lack of vegan and kosher options at Commons, as well as a lack of well-lit paths around campus, promising to fix these issues and more if becoming a senator: “I also want to foster more faculty communication with their students in order to have an environment where students feel safe to actually talk about the needs that are required of them to prosper.” Zenger stressed the reasons she was rerunning for pres; “there are a lot of reasons to rerun and continue doing the work that I do, but the main components are centered around accessibility.” She continued, centering around the work she has done–and will continue to do–with academic support and creating committees that foster this support, especially pertaining to BIPOC students. 

Brown then took the mic and shared his platform for VP; taking the knowledge he has gained in treasury and using it to support students in his position as VP. He shared two different goals he has, one being to rework the currently inactive Students Opportunity Subsidy Fund (an emergency-situation fund for students). He explained that there have been prior issues surrounding this fund, and wants to redirect it’s allocated budget away from the S.O.S., instead funneling it into student wage increases. Brown’s second goal involved working with and incorporating the great ideas of those currently on Senate, as well as those coming into Senate. Horta then went; “I want to take practical steps to make Reed a more equitable environment.” He continued, speaking on his want to work with admissions about academic success. “If they can give us a more detailed report on what kind of groups that Reed is failing, I think that this is very important to inform how senate exists.” His last point included adding a liaisonship in senate to student identity groups. Dukes’ platform focused on a different issue; working more on government overt transparency. “If you ask most of the student body what senate does, they have no idea, so maybe we could be a little bit louder about what senate actually does.” And on top of that, protection of student spaces and BIPOC support.  “Student spaces are under attack. If not straight up stripped away from Reed, they are being controlled by CSO’s. And two, BIPOC accommodation and student support.” According to Ramos, his platform has three parts to it, the first centering around mental health. He states that “I want to work to try to improve mental health access on Reed campus, in particular, working to move towards a multi-year plan to get long-term counseling.” His second goal aims to improve diversity and inclusion for BIPOC students, and his third goal aims to increase community among the student body. Finally, Reeder shared their platform, which had multiple parts to it. First, Reeder hopes to establish a union for on-campus student workers, as well as extending this to other campus employees. Next, increasing student wages, protecting and expanding BIPOC spaces, and finally, implementing boundaries and consent training, and training on better, more practical approaches to drug use.

Once candidates finished, Election Czar Ares Carnathan interrupted for an important announcement; “Paul Currie resigned, I just got the email notification!” The crowd and candidates alike cheered in celebration, “fuck yeah!” someone remarked, while others screamed and clapped. Then, back to business. 

Senate includes a lot of “standard work” including funding and hiring. What personal values and ideologies will you carry into this work? 

While answers varied, the overall consensus was that top priorities included focusing on equity, being patient, and taking care of mental health. Worrell mentioned their strengths lay in being practical, being organized, being able to manage working with other people, but also valued the ability to tap out and take care of mental health. Ratliff focused on the importance of spending money appropriately, hiring the right people, and “just continuing to make sure our appointed officials are enjoying their employment with us.” Balan followed, asserting a common phrase throughout the night, that student government should be the voice of students here at Reed, and she believed one of the ways to do this is to make sure that funding is used for students’ needs, one solution she came up being to send out a Google form for concerns specifically relating to funding student groups. 

Zenger then spoke, emphasizing diminishing bias through already established things such as bias training, but also being able to “assess funding and interviews and hiring in a way that is equitable and acknowledges that everyone is coming from different places with different experiences” Then Sean, who has gone through three funding hells replied; “Patience,” and spoke to his experience with the long process of funding hell and dealing with many people who it is important to have patience with. On the other hand, Horta spoke to his experience, having the unique perspective of being on the other side of funding hell. Dukes reasserted the importance of equity but also having an open ear and keeping and understanding of where people are coming from. Ramos emphasized stewardship and using resources on discernment, inclusion, and opportunity. Again, Reeder echoed this need for equity, but also respect and honor. Reeder stated that “It is important to be equitable and charitable, putting time and effort and bringing transparency into senate.”

As the campus community recovers from COVID, students are looking for new ways to create and engage with the community. How do you believe Senate could help support this process? 

While many of those running did not experience Reed during its peak COVID time, they still offered insight into student engagement, with many referring to sb info as a great part of student engagement that works quite well, and proposing more in-person events. Worrell spoke about the importance of open communication between organizations, while Ratliff talked about encouraging students to start their own clubs. Balan brought government transparency back into the discussion, emphasizing transparency about how student groups get established and what events are going on through social media. Zenger then mentioned the importance of channeling money into student events and organizations and to those who want to run such things. Brown went off of that, speaking about how important the student engagement fair is, and proposed more in-person events such as these, Horta had a similar opinion, speaking more about how senate can support more engagement fair events. Dukes also talked about in-person events, but more smaller events like play-break for those with accessibility issues, and Ramos then mentioned posting about things online, even proposing a website for clubs and events. Lennox then came up with a very different idea–posters around the GCC that just don’t come down that advertise clubs and groups and other things students can engage in.

How will you support minority communities and students, as well as the general campus climate?

While many candidates mentioned supporting BIPOC students in their platforms, this was a chance to expand on that. Worrell asserted that “as a white person…the best thing that we can do is amplify the voices of marginalized people and people of color, and then take a step back.” Ratliff held a similar sentiment, but also mentioned a focus on fulfilling what is being asked for from minority students and more broadly. Balan then talked about flaws within the way identity-based groups are characterized, “funding for groups should not be a popularity contest…minority groups at a PWI should never be on the same level as, let’s say, cheese club.” She then proposed DAR help faculty by creating a contract between students and faculty, so “students are treated like humans and not just another textbook case.” 

Zenger then said “In my time here and in the future, I’d like to remain committed to keeping conversation with identity groups. Brown pointed out that senate is historically run by low SES and students of color, so it is important to continue supporting that. Horta referenced a part of his platform, as well as personal experiences, international students and the struggles they go through–especially the difficulty of getting a job. After speaking on this, Horta ran out of time, but Dukes graciously gave him her time, and remarked, “that’s how you listen to BIPOC people!” The audience insisted she get her time as well, and with this, she argued that senate should be who one should go to when one is frustrated or needs someone to talk/cry/ask for things to. Ramos stated that senate should be the ones to advocate for issues that concern BIPOC students, and Reeder argued that BIPOC students should be able to comfortably gather–referring to the removal/limitations of BIPOC student spaces, as well as the fact that they should also support BIPOC faculty. While passing back the mic, Brown alerted the audience of the fact that the multicultural resource center is literally in an attic, and Horta then chimed in that you used to be able to swipe in until 12 am, but this semester it has changed to only 5 pm, taking time away from BIPOC student spaces.


Why are you, personally, the right candidate for this position?

Candidates spoke from the heart for the concluding question. Worrell went on about their personal skills, responsibilities, time management, and community awareness…”all of which would make me a good candidate.” Ratliff then brought up his plans for next semester and year, including his work on appointments committee, and also emphasized the sense of teamwork that he has gained and wants to keep gaining from being on senate. Balan then spoke about how much she cares about others’ issues, and how she is someone to talk to about them, and her own issues that she again wants to change through her platform. Zenger said, “fundamentally, I’m just really passionate about this job and what I do” she spoke about how her many years of experience has given her so much knowledge to share, and simply how much she really enjoys the job. After speaking about his experience with the treasury, Brown asserted “I love all the girlies on senate,” then Horta spoke; “I will do this job correctly. Even when it’s tough, even when it’s not particularly interesting…” Dukes spoke about the way in which she will personally support individuals who come to her. To listen, to cry to, etc. Ramos then restated a similar sentiment to her that everyone is a great option, but then speaking about himself, told the audience to simply think about what they want. Finally, Reeder went on about their love for Reed, stating, “Reed is a place I love. This is my home, and I’m glad to care.”

Specific for Prez/VP: How can leadership on Senate support the agendas, values, and projects of the senators and treasurers? 

Both Zenger and Brown asserted the same sentiment; they are looking out for senators. They spoke about the extensive orientation, connecting things such as treasury and app comm, and being able to be someone that senators can approach.

How does your experience in leadership make you the best candidate for this position? 

As a full-term president last year, Zenger answered this question with confidence; “Having a year of being president under my belt definitely makes me more confident in my abilities to support senators. Also, having been a senator and secretary also helps and what I don’t know about treasury, Sean knows.” Then Brown answered; “The reason I’m the only…ahem…most qualified for this position…is because of my background in treasury, live laugh love it…” 

After a lively back and forth between the audience members and candidates in which the audience asked pressing questions, the assembly finally concluded with a fun question from an audience member; What would your ideal Renn Fayre theme be?

A few candidates came to the consensus that a french-court-esque theme would be cool, while other theme suggestions included “safe” from Worrell, Bohemian Rhapsody or We Didn’t Start the Fire from Balan, and carnival/circus from Dukes. Zenger then suggested a “damage control” theme, in which current VP Margot Becker called out, “that’s just the theme of your job.”

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