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CSA presidential candidate platforms

<ong>Jinai Bharucha

My fellow Carleton students,

I am writing to ask you to vote for me, Jinai Bharucha, for CSA President. While I have worked on numerous projects in the last two years, I would like to emphasize that I have many goals to follow through on during my last year at Carleton. I believe that my experience with the difficulties of making CSA an accountable and successful venue for student voices make me the best candidate for President. In this editorial, I have included not only my experience, but also a few of my concrete goals in the coming year. Most importantly, I will do my best to listen to all of your concerns and follow up with each one. I am extremely passionate about improving student life at Carleton and am committed to making CSA a place that you feel like you can come to with your concerns. 

Even if you have never considered voting before, please consider taking two minutes to read platforms and cast your ballot at between Sunday and Wednesday! If elected, I promise that I will do my best with enthusiasm. 

In my two and a half years at Carleton, I have:

* Served as your CSA Vice President for the past year (Spring 2009-Winter 2010),

* Served on the College Budget Committee and chaired the CSA Budget Committee during my Vice Presidency,

* Served as a CSA senator for a year prior to being Vice President (Spring 2008-Winter 2009),

* Served on CSA Budget Committee for two terms (Fall 2008-Winter 2009) prior to chairing,

* And served on the Committee for Student Life and the Constitutional Review Board.

How will I improve your life as a student? I will:

1. Support the pilot program of Intergroup Dialogue and work with other campus organizations to increase the number of opportunities and participation of students in dialogue surrounding privilege, gender, race, and sexual harassment.

2. Make the Day of Service a tradition and work with the ACT Center to ensure that everyone who wants to participate can.

3. Oversee the completion of the textbook exchange so that students will have an easier time trading textbooks and saving money.

4. Continue my work with Student Financial Services to ensure the continuation of the Student Activity Support Fund, which effectively provided financial aid for the Student Activity Fee for over a hundred students this past fall.

5. Continue to host the town hall meetings and other CSA-sponsored events that involve all the students and allow YOU to be heard on a variety of topics that affect the campus.

6. Increase senator accountability to you by leading CSA through the pilot year of the new class representative structure of senate.
I also plan to increase the voice of the student body on College Council, implement active use of the Green Fund, work toward implementation of a uniform evaluation system for professors, collaborate more effectively with other campus offices, and continue to utilize the senator office hours system.

My experience as Vice President over the last three terms has exposed me to the duties and expectations of the President. As your President, I will continue to be an available resource to individuals and organizations just as I have over the past year. I am committed to working tirelessly to make all Carleton students feel supported by senate. Your concerns and ideas will be my guiding principles as I actively pursue issues that arise in the coming year. 

Thank you for taking the time to read about my goals and to vote this weekend! I am so excited to work with all of you.


David Heifetz 

I want to be CSA President because CSA can and should be a powerful voice for the student body and I believe I can help give it that voice.

I completely love this school, and at the very same time there are challenges and opportunities which all of us can see. Among them are increasing diversity (a challenge driven home by the campus climate survey of a few years ago), improving administrative accountability and transparency, the development of a comprehensive course and teacher review system, and better ways this campus could communicate. We can only accomplish these, however, if Senate, as the main intermediary between the student body and the administration, does a better job of engaging all of us on campus.

Throughout my tenure as a Senator, I have focused on learning about how the school works and figuring out how Senate can more successfully fulfill its mandate. These efforts culminated in the bylaw reforms that I led this past fall term. The reforms move the Senate from an at-large senator structure to one where specific grades elect senate representatives, a system where senators will have more defined constituencies and responsibilities. The reforms, therefore, will fundamentally change the way Senate interacts with and represents the student body and its interests. Although every Senator comes with ideas of their own for improving the school, the new system will not only bring new issues to Senate’s attention but will also bring new solutions and proposals to problems we are already aware of. This increase in the availability of information and feedback among students and their representatives in the Senate will make CSA a more dynamic and powerful organization.

My job as President then, is to lead Senate in doing everything it can to take advantage of these opportunities and meet these challenges. Achieving this goal will involve making Senator responsibilities well defined and working with Senators to figure out new ways of engagement with the student body as well as with the faculty. My role will also include acting as the main representative of the Senate to the administration, and therefore serving as the main intermediary between students and administration. I believe I can succeed in this role because I have good working relationships with my fellow senators and many members of the administration, and a track record of innovation — solving problems through action and negotiation as we did in crafting the bylaw reforms. In addition, as President, I will be in a position where I can put more pressure on the administration to improve its transparency and accountability, and this I intend to do.
Regarding issues of diversity in this school, the problems are multi-faceted. Our faculty lacks sufficient ethnic and intellectual diversity, our classrooms often lack diversity of thought, and our campus culture is often segregated along various lines that can make students feel uncomfortable, out of place, and misunderstood. In addition, these social separations severely hurt the school’s mandate to graduate well-rounded and educated citizens of the world. For all of these issues, I believe continued dialogue is key and I will work with CEDI (Community, Equity, and Diversity Initiative), the Office of Intercultural Life, the Faculty and Administration, and of course the student body to continue moving to make this a campus that always feels like home. Also, I plan on participating in the inter-group dialogue pilot program next fall, a good first step to that goal.

Additionally, I think we all experience occasional, if not frequent, frustration with getting information at our school. Whether it is about policies and procedures, campus events or campus news, the amount of disconnected sources—whether they are different websites, posters or booklets—are enough to confuse anybody. In the end we wind up not knowing things we should and missing events on campus we might enjoy. As President, therefore, I am committed to working with all of the relevant organizations, like SCIC and Campus Activities, to consolidate and simplify the school’s mediums for intra-campus communication. Jonathan Carter’s Carleton blog project is also a great start to moving the school’s information into an organized web source.

Lastly, I feel strongly that there needs to be a thorough course and professor evaluation process that increases faculty accountability by making the results available to both the administration and student body. The caucus system for student-to-student reviews is outdated, unorganized, and not very scientific. A formal and uniform way, therefore, for students to provide feedback on classes to both the faculty and administration is a huge opportunity before us in the ongoing process of improving courses and teaching. As President I will lead Senate in doing everything it can to make this change.

As a Carl I have spent a lot of time getting to know numerous parts of the student body and the administration through my roles as a Senator, a Career Center Advisor (come to me anytime for resume help), and a baseball player. In my role as a Senator I have worked to both understand the school’s operations better and make Senate a more effective body in its engagement of students. Understanding the different parts of the school’s culture and its inner workings is vital for any CSA President. Although I would expect to learn more and more as President, I surely have the experience and appreciation for the school to be able to start in that role now. Improving our education, the school’s environment, communication on campus, and strengthening the student voice will all be tough work. We can only start to do it, however, if we are all working together. We need a President who can bring Senate and the student body together to work productively towards our goals, and I believe I am the President who can do that. 


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