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New leaders start amidst CSA frustration

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The CSA executive and Class Representative positions have been filled and announced, bringing in a new group of hopeful Carleton students who wish to enact change on campus. Tiffany Thet ’17 was elected as President and Abha Laddha ’17 was elected as Vice President.

Some students feel that the current CSA Senate has not been as effective or well-informed as the student body could have hoped for, but they do hope that the newly elected executives and senators will change campus for the better.

Reflecting on the perception of CSA through his time at Carleton, Dylan Wells ’16 said, “I do know that I and other elements of the student body were frustrated with how inefficient things could seem or like some of the initiatives that got passed didn’t seem like they were really in the interest of the student body.”

A student who wished to remain anonymous expressed frustration with the current CSA. “I think the main function of the CSA, at least from what I understand it to be, is to be a liaison between the students and the faculty. I feel like as a leader of multiple clubs on campus, I’m far more connected to them, to students and faculty though [those leadership positions] than I am through CSA.”

The student also voiced concern about the Budget Committee, saying, “I feel like no one on the Budget Committee knows what they’re doing. I find that the only time that the Budget Committee has been successful to me as someone applying for funding to the Budget Committee is when I have a friend in Budget Committee.”

With these concerns in mind, students have hope for the future of CSA and reacted positively to the elections this term.

While Wells acknowledged that, as a senior, “It’s not really my Senate anymore,” he is pleased with the election results. “My hope is that people like Tiffany will help heal the rift that really exists on campus where a lot of people are afraid of what’s been happening on social media or afraid in getting involved in things like the community conversations because they’re afraid of what is going to happen to them if they say the wrong thing. I also hope that they can help bring a lot of the elements of the student body that have been feeling underrepresented or like they’re not a part of the campus community, more into a unified campus community because I think that that’s a problem too: the fact that people don’t feel like they’re being represented or taken care of here. I think that if anybody can do that, if anybody can fix it, Tiffany can. And I really hope that she does.”

“I think with these [Senators] in, I’m hoping for more transparency, which I think is a huge missing aspect,” remarked the anonymous student.

Thet and Laddha both share optimism for the future of CSA. Laddha noted that “We have been students at Carleton for three years and we have seen things that need to be changed. What’s exciting is finally being in a position where I can influence the change.”

“I’m excited to be in a position where I can talk to students on campus, to see what’s working for you, what’s missing, and how CSA can get you to a place you want to be in,” said Thet.

This past election saw the greatest voter turnout in CSA history, and Thet and Laddha both want to build on that precedent during their tenure to get more students involved with CSA.

“We did really well in having candidates running from very different parts of campus. We need to keep taking that forward. The more diverse viewpoints we can get to run, the more people will vote. The best way of getting people invested is to have a representative that really represents them,” said Laddha, reflecting on the campaign this term.

Thet and Laddha are both aware of the concerns students have regarding CSA, and they have plans to make the CSA of their tenure the most effective it can be.

“Apart from approving funding, it’s important that we have a discussion about other issues on campus,” suggested Thet, noting topics like the sexual misconduct policy as a conversation that should be had in CSA.

“Every senator needs to feel comfortable, even when the topic is uncomfortable to talk about. We need to make sure that every senator feels they have a voice.”

Part of their work to achieve this atmosphere of conversation will be to strengthen the community feel within CSA, building on teamwork. Thet suggests to her fellow Senators, “Let’s be friends.”

Thet and Laddha take their offices starting Spring term, and they hope to provide effective leadership for Carleton.

Laddha said “We all got up there and we all wanted to make some change before we leave Carleton, and this is our chance. And I think it will have to start day one.”

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