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CSA elections begin, will end Sunday

Bulletin+boards+across+campus+display+posters+of+hopeful+CSA+candidates.
Becky Reinhold
Bulletin boards across campus display posters of hopeful CSA candidates.

This year’s Carleton Student Association (CSA) Senate elections for executive positions, class representatives and college council liaisons are open from Friday, Feb. 16 through Sunday, Feb. 18. Students elected in these elections will serve from the beginning of Spring Term 2024 to the end of Winter Term 2025. The Carleton Student Association (CSA) includes all Carleton students and the CSA Senate represents its main governing body. It is responsible for liaising with the administration and, along with the CSA Budget Committee (which has appointed rather than elected representatives), allocates funding to student organizations and for events such as Sproncert based on CSA policies (although the CSA also has the power to change those policies).

 

In these elections, students will elect the CSA executives — a president, vice president, treasurer and communications officer — as well as two class representatives per class (eight in total) and two college council liaisons. The CSA President chairs the CSA senate and liaises with members of the Carleton administration, including President Alison Byerly, Dean of Students Carolyn Livingston and some of the college committees. The CSA Vice President chairs the CSA Governance Committee (which reviews and charters student organizations) and votes in the CSA Senate. The CSA Treasurer chairs the CSA Budget Committee, votes in the CSA Senate and manages CSA’s budget. The CSA Communications Officer chairs the committee on outreach, media and publicity and manages all CSA communications.

 

The campaigning period for elections began on Monday, Feb. 12 with elections running from 8 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 16 through 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18. Candidates typically campaign through posters, social media and emails, although emails cannot be sent using CSA email lists. According to the meeting minutes, CSA President Quinn Buhman ’24 advised CSA senators at the CSA Senate meeting on Jan. 29 that “[it’s possible] to get everyone’s email in 15 minutes. There’s a Google Chrome extension that copies any email on a webpage, and then you can go into Stalker Net [(the Carleton student directory)] and have the Chrome extension copy the emails.” Elections are overseen by the CSA Senate Elections Committee. 

 

“I haven’t read the board platforms,” said Carolina Cabanela ’25. “Do I plan to vote? No. It doesn’t feel like it impacts my life in any way. If one of the candidates wanted to put a vending machine in Boliou, maybe I’d vote. That’s the only thing that would impact my life and that’s because my roommate loves Boliou and she would care, so she’d vote, so I’d probably vote in support of her and artists on campus, but mainly her.”

 

Meg MacLaury ’27 said she’s planning to vote in the upcoming elections, saying: “One of my friends is running, and I feel like it’s good to be involved.”

 

This year, there are three candidates for president, two for vice president and two for treasurer (one of whom is the incumbent). Other contested elections include four candidates for two class of 2027 representative positions (none of whom are incumbents) and three candidates (two incumbents) for two class of 2026 representative positions. Uncontested elections include both two people (one incumbent) running for College Council liaison, one candidate running for two class of 2025 representative positions, and one incumbent running for communications officer. Candidates each submitted a platform with their goals and reasons for running, which are available on the CSA’s website.

 

The presidential candidates are Zach Gordon ’25, Kaori Hirano ’25 and Jonah Docter-Loeb ’25. 

 

Hirano’s platform has four main points: increasing transportation to the Twin Cities, adding frosted glass to the interior windows in Anderson, increasing the availability of food on campus and increasing student representation on CSA. Of those goals, she told The Carletonian her first priority would be transportation. “Even just this term, I’ve heard about a number of students who either couldn’t access medical care because Northfield hospitals didn’t offer what they needed, or they weren’t able to afford transportation to the cities, which is something that just shouldn’t happen, period. So working with [the] administration to either get Carleton to offer transportation or to offer vehicles for students to transport themselves is my biggest priority,” Hirano said.

 

Hirano also said she’s running for CSA president because she has “been part of it for the last three years and…having been on CSA [she] understand[s] how to make things work within CSA and the broader administration.” (Hirano is currently one of the class of 2025 representatives). She also discussed the importance of helping CSA senators to complete individual projects by having an orientation for new senators and a “dinner or something” to introduce them to CSA and their responsibilities.

 

Zach Gordon’s platform discusses increasing funding for large campus events to increase student engagement, increasing internship funding and improving the Career Center, working on student wages and jobs, making food on campus more accessible and looking at language requirements. He told The Carletonian that his first priority would be “the Career Center” because “the whole point of college is to prepare you for after college so really pushing that agenda would be my biggest thing.”

 

He told The Carletonian the reasons he’s running for CSA president: “I’ve never been in CSA but in my 3 years here I’ve learned a lot about the school…and there’s some things I think could be improved. People here are so stuck in work, work, work and there’s not really a reward for that work…I think there could be more of a push to have fun at the school.”

 

When asked in a follow-up question about his platform point of increasing Rotblatt and Sproncert funding, Gordon said: “Those are really two of the best days of the year and… trying to make [those] better day[s] would be… a great idea.” He said he’d use the additional funding to “maybe try to get a bigger performer, [and have] more stuff for the students — more merchandise for Rottblatt or Sproncert, maybe even more performers at Sproncert, just trying to make the whole thing bigger for everyone.”

 

Jonah Docter-Loeb’s platform focuses on providing emotional support beavers to all students. He told The Carletonian that he’s running for CSA president because of  “shits and giggles. A deep and personal commitment to shits and giggles.” He said he’s taking the election “very seriously,” and discussed the prospect of students taking beavers to classes. Talking more seriously about CSA, he said, “in all seriousness, when I think about CSA, I don’t know much about CSA. And I think that’s in many ways part of the problem of students not knowing much…[but] there [are] other ways I see CSA actually doing really good things like putting the tampon dispensers in places. The people who are on CSA…care…They want to make the school a better place….There’s stuff happening, and I want to believe it’s good stuff.”

 

The candidates running for vice president are Anoushka Mallik ’25 (a former Carletonian News Editor) and Sam Zacks ’25.

 

Mallik’s platform talks about increasing communication with students, cultural orgs and campus offices, as well as increasing CSA transparency and increasing the CSA’s efficacy. She said her first priority if elected would be “increasing transparency.” She said she “think[s] there are a lot of administrative things that are in effect that people just don’t know about,” and that she’d like to work on making students aware of them. She gave the example of mental health, talking about how Carleton’s mental health resources are insufficient and also that students often aren’t aware of the resources available to them. She also spoke about the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response (SMPR) in that regard and how she realized that students “don’t know that if they reach out to Laura [Riehle-Merrill, Carleton’s Title IX Coordinator], it’s not going to launch a formal complaint process…they can just talk to her and she can do a number of things outside of that.” She said she’d like to make that type of information “more publicly available.”

 

When asked about why she’s running for CSA vice president, Mallik talked about her experience in CSA and working in SMPR. (Anoushka is a current class of 2025 representative). Anushka said that part of the reason she enjoys being in CSA is the access that it has to the administration: “[CSA] is the easiest forum for administrators to come in and feel like they’re speaking to a valid representation of the student body….We get access to a lot of [students], and I just appreciate that I’m able to hear concerns from other people… I really enjoyed that, and so I then decided that I wanted to run for vice president alongside more of the executive board at the next level.” 

 

Sam Zacks’ platform echoes the points of Zach Gordon’s (the two are running together, along with Treasurer Candidate Asher Stolberg ’25), but adds supporting student organizations, increasing the number of washing machines and increasing the budget for sports. He explained to the Carletonian why he decided to run for CSA vice president: “I am passionate about improving the student experience at Carleton. My primary goal is to ensure that every student not only achieves academic success but also enjoys a fulfilling and vibrant campus life. I believe that enhancing student experiences involves more than just academic support; it’s about creating a community where students feel connected, supported, and engaged through various aspects of campus life.”

 

He said that if elected, his “first priority would be to increase the focus on campus-wide events and support for student organizations” because “these are crucial elements that enrich campus life, providing students with opportunities for leadership, community building, and personal growth. By enhancing student events and organizations, we can create a more engaging and inclusive environment for all.”

 

The CSA executives will shape the CSA’s goals and focus for the next year, as well as whether to make changes to the CSA constitution. 

 

The Carletonian is covering the election for CSA treasurer separately from the other executive elections because it is the only executive election where platforms directly contradict each other. As such, the Carletonian wants to provide more context to ensure the accuracy of its coverage and to limit article length to more fully cover as many elections as possible.

 

Becky is currently the President of the Jewish Students of Carleton. She was also the Office of Accessibility Resources Liaison on the CSA Senate in the 2022-2023 academic year and a member of the Budget Committee in the 2021-2022 academic year.

 

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About the Contributor
Becky Reinhold, Editor in Chief
I'm a junior Philosophy major, and I can usually be found in the basement of Anderson or wandering around Northfield. I like thunderstorms and writing articles around 2am. Becky was previously Managing Editor, Viewpoint Editor, and Design Editor.

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