The Carleton Student Association (CSA) represents the student body through class representatives, liaisons, a treasurer and a president and vice president. Currently, elections are going on for the 2022 these positions, with Jancyn Appel ‘23 and Binny Onabolu ‘23 running for president. Their platforms can be found through an email sent by current CSA president Molly Zuckerman, and on the CSA website. This is the first year that both candidates running for president have been Black women, making it a historical election. The following is a Q&A with each candidate explaining their platform, goals and plans as CSA president. Voting will occur on the ninth weekend and elections are being posted for class representatives, treasurer and president, as Mariam Zewdu has already been named vice president.
The following Q&A is with Jancyn Appel.
What’s your previous experience with the CSA?
Binny and I have kind of a fun relationship. Besides us just being friends, she was the CSA rep that entry term, and then in winter 2020 I took over. So, my term started as COVID-19 hit. Ever since my Freshman spring, I’ve been on CSA as the Class of 2023 Rep. A number of things have happened since then. One is that I founded my organization. Being an Ujamaa board member and a member of CSA helped to facilitate a lot of those IDE
BREAK[Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity] conversations. Because of those conversations, I created the social activism working group within the CSA. The intention of that working group was to be the response coordination team for any social injustice issues. So when there was a woman murdered on one of the military bases and then lots of discussion about femicide in the military, we really banded together to ask what Carleton can do. When Daunte Wright was murdered, there was a group of freshmen, namely Mariam Zewdu (who’s now going to be our vice president, so big shoutout to her), that put together a fundraiser and ended up raising over $11,000 in a couple of days.I helped to coordinate that. I think that was one of my prouder moments of seeing Carleton people really do something. We had over $800 of hard supplies come in, which really showed how Carleton can really be an activist campus. I think I want to expand that relationship and not make it an outlier. One of the big things on my platform is a connection with SMPR. I gave a presentation on the Clery Report, which is a report that, by law, the security office has to publish about safety, welfare and wellbeing on campus. There’s currently a working group focused on the Clery Report, and the only thing that’s been really difficult has been the different responses from SMPR and the security office. So, just clarifying a lot of that conversation is really important to me. Another big thing I did was an audit of the Academic Standing Committee, just because I had a not-great time with the Academic Standing Committee, so I did a survey about people’s experiences. The trend I found was that, on average, students of color have a really negative experience, and if we’re really going to reconsider some of our practices as an institution, then one of those things has to be our punitive process. So, working with the ASC was something that I did and trying to coordinate how we can make this process better. So, in three years on CSA, there’s been a lot of things that have happened. Of course, COVID took a large chunk of our discussions as well, and I think one of the biggest decisions we made in regards to COVID was the grading policy for the end of the 2020 school year, which was to make everything pass/fail. The big thing was that we have an education curriculum liaison who communicated the student concerns and really got the ball rolling.
What is one thing the CSA does really well right now and one thing that you’d like to change?
I would say that the past two administrations have been really good at efficiency, and I think one thing I would expand on that is the connection to community. I think there’s this weird schism between CSA and the campus community. We pay for laundry, that’s a cost incurred by the CSA administration, all budgeting decisions for clubs, rules and regulations for club activity, decisions about student welfare, and policy, and administration, all of that comes from us. In that more frequent dissemination of information, I think building on the chance of having a communications officer––Hana Horiuchi, who I absolutely love––would be a level of relatability. I don’t think it’s that people are intimidated by the CSA, it’s just that people don’t know how to voice their problems to us, or they don’t know what we can do about their issues, when in reality there’s a lot. Every single office on campus has a way to be coordinated through us because every office has a liaison. People are always welcome to CSA meetings, and I wish people knew that.
How confident are you in your ability to accomplish your goals, and what do you think you’ll prioritize?
The ones I feel like we can chip away at first are the simple ones, like the seasonings in the dining hall. If you’re kind of forced to eat the same things every day, having some kind of flavor profile, some kind of palate to make you more comfortable, and fit your needs, that’s a super slight change that can really make a difference. The IDE plan, by far, I know is going to be the one that has the most resistance, just because it’s been a three-year process. Student input with the housing plan is kind of in motion already, I’ve talked with Dean Livingston, and that’s really just about increasing communication, you know, having a town hall, just giving students the opportunity to voice their concerns and know what’s going on. I think one of the more difficult ones may be amending the PE requirement. I think reviewing the PE credit to understand why some clubs don’t get credit, that’s really just about revising it, but curriculum changes are always difficult. The Africana Studies/GWSS requirement is something that’s been talked about. Currently, it would sort of fall into the Domestic Social Inquiry requirement, but this is just more explicit that you have to take classes in one of these two departments. The other big, big thing was mostly about accurate information and representation for people. The first part of that is representation for hired staff. I want to know, you know, what is our relationship with Bon App? I talked to some of the workers, and a number of them hadn’t gotten a day off in 45 days. That’s insane, to not have a day off in 45 days. So, if students are given certain work protections, some of those same protections should be extended to staff. The second thing was about queer protections in health. One thing I learned is that hormone therapy treatments are offered at SHAC. It’s open to students at very low cost, but the one thing is that they don’t know if it gets billed back to parents or how that gets billed, which obviously could be a problem if a student is not ‘out’. It feels small, but I think just some of these information tidbits could be helpful. The last thing is emergency funding through the Dean of Students Office. Either increasing the emergency funding amount or making a how-to on her website about how to request emergency funding. My main thing was that if we have medical amnesty there should be some way for the school to incur medical costs, like the cost of an ambulance. The other thing is making sure emergency funding can cover neurodivergency testing, so connecting with the Dean of Students Office to make sure students can have things like that covered. The ones involving money are probably the most difficult, then the ones involving changing the curriculum, and the easiest will probably be the smaller things like seasonings in the dining hall, but I don’t think anything mentioned is improbable.