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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

A Conversation With Jancyn Appel, Newly Elected CSA President

Elections for the Carleton Student Association (CSA) concluded on March 6, 2022, with results announced the following morning. According to Delina Haileab ’22, voter turnout was 4% lower than that of the previous year, with approximately 45% of students voting in the CSA elections. Winning approximately 63% of the total votes cast for the position, Jancyn Appel ’23 went on to be elected CSA president. 

The Carletonian sat down with Appel during the first week of her presidency to discuss her campaign, CSA experience and the goals and challenges of her new administration. When asked about her motivations for candidacy, Appel pointed to two experiences that drove her to run for CSA president. The first was the pandemic.

“[The COVID-19 pandemic] showed how important clear leadership for the student body really was,” Appel said. “Because so much was constantly unfolding, having someone that could provide consistency was really important.” 

Appel also cited her experience serving as a Class of 2023 Representative as shaping her decision to run. 

“Over the last year, getting better at resolution writing and meeting with people and offices on campus helped me realize I could really do this,” Appel said. 

Unlike most CSA candidates, Appel was participating in an Off-Campus Study during Winter Term. She was therefore unable to campaign in person, which presented certain challenges. 

“It definitely took a lot of checking in and communicating with people, checking in on little things like making sure a poster was hung up,” Appel said. “That was the main difficulty of being abroad, feeling slightly out of touch [with campus sentiment], but luckily I had good people on the ground. People were even sending me Yik Yaks for encouragement.” 

While only in the first week of her presidency, Appel has already begun to assume a range of responsibilities. As CSA President, Appel acts as the chief liaison between the CSA and the College— both its administration and its student body. Presidents serve as the voice of CSA: leading its subsidiary bodies, such as the Budget Committee or Student Projects Committee, and recommending legislation to the CSA Senate. 

To illustrate her role and influence as CSA president, Appel first cited the issue of replacing Carleton’s current toilet paper. She met with President Allison Byerly and Dean Carolyn Livingston to discuss the issue.

“As silly as it sounds, the stamp of my presidency so far has been toilet paper,” Appel said. “In a week’s time, I’ve met with both actors who would need to know about the issue and we’ve got it on the table, being discussed and garnering support.” 

However, Appel is more than a one-ply president. 

“When it comes to more large-scale issues, such as dining hall labor equity, I’m meeting with the Head of Dining this week,” Appel said. “My position helps substantiate student concerns—as sad as it sounds, often if you come to people with a title, sometimes it makes people more inclined to hear you out. So, as far as where my influence will come, it’s a matter of being in these meetings. My function is kind of being the arbiter of all things Senate and also being in nine thousand places at once.” 

When asked about the goals of her administration, Appel noted that the first thing that came to mind was issues of labor equity in the dining halls. 

“As a private institution with so much money, it is beyond Carleton’s obligation to do the right thing for people who are working for the college,” Appel said. “Proper pensioning, better healthcare, better hours. We have to do better at creating better job security, better job opportunities and better job conditions.” 

Appel also spoke of excitement about working with SMPR, Carleton’s office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response. 

“I’m looking into expanding a lot of educational programming with the office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response (SMPR), such as clarifying Green Dot training and making sure all students receive the training,” she said. Appel also noted that she planned to “work with SHAC [Student Health and Counseling] to develop better support for survivors of sexual assault on campus, as well as programs geared towards women of color, such as navigating relationships as a woman of color at a PWI.”

As for one of her administration’s biggest challenges, Appel highlighted the general lack of awareness around CSA and its function. But this concession was tinged with hope and optimism about CSA’s capacity to affect positive change. 

“We want to build back trust in CSA, to address the lack of awareness around CSA,” she said. “We have 800 grand to work with, we’re meeting with powerful offices and we’re one of the most diverse organizations on campus. Our biggest weakness is that people don’t know our capacity, what we can do.”

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