Starting on Wednesday, Columbia College students will be able to place their votes for next year's student council. This year, both parties for Columbia College Student Council's executive board are qualified and feature several strong candidates—each vote will matter a great deal.
Additionally, voters have the option to elect party members as individuals, because parties are no longer elected as an entire ticket—with the exception of the president and the vice president for policy.
It is for that reason that we do not endorse either TAP or Insight—the two parties running for office—as a whole. However, the president and VP for policy are still running together, and for that reason, our endorsement is of a team, not of one person.
PRESIDENT AND VP FOR POLICY
We choose to endorse Peter Bailinson, CC '16, and Sejal Singh, CC '15, for executive board president and VP for policy.
In his first year, Bailinson, a former nonprofit development associate for Spectator, was a class council representative who proactively and effectively advocated for student concerns. This year, as vice president for communications, he was instrumental in forming the University Event Management Student Events Advisory Committee, working to extend the drop deadline for CC, and furthering progress through WTF Columbia.
Singh, on the other hand, is known for one role: that of the president of the Columbia University Democrats. However, in her time there, she has been at the forefront of campus activism, from divestment to sexual assault to mental health. Again and again, she has driven through reforms and effected actual change. We are confident that she will bring this competence and direction to the position of VP for policy.
We found Bailinson and Singh's party, TAP, to a have a clear and detailed platform with an ambitious and lengthy list of specific objectives.
In particular, if elected, we hope to see them improve financial aid by fighting for Columbia to allow outside scholarships to reduce family contributions. We also hope Singh would use her expertise on sexual assault policy to continue making positive reforms. Bailinson's experience with space-usage issues could be put to good use in handling student suggestions for Lerner's renovation.
Finally, if elected, we hope that Bailinson and Singh would be responsive to student concerns about CCSC and would make a sincere effort to respond to criticism, as CCSC has done in the past few months.
We're excited by their potential and hope they have the chance to execute their vision.
We would be remiss not to praise Loxley Bennett, CC '15, and Mandeep Singh, CC '15. Bennett's résumé is just as impressive as Bailinson's, and there is no doubt he is qualified for the position. However, we feel that the team of Bailinson and Sejal Singh has stronger, clearer ideas and more combined experience than Bennett and Mandeep Singh do.
VP FOR FINANCE
The candidate we find most qualified for the position of VP for finance is Michael Li, CC '15, of the Insight party. We believe that, if elected, he would work well alongside the rest of the TAP party. During his tenure as treasurer and president for the Class of 2015 Council, he has shown himself to be very competent—organized, efficient, and great at motivating and organizing groups. His proposals, including an additional Bacchanal in the fall and recommendations for re-evaluating and restructuring CCSC's expenditures and fund allocations, are thorough and feasible.
VP FOR COMMUNICATIONS
We find Abby Porter, CC '17, to be the stronger of the two candidates for VP for communications. Her platform—as well as the TAP website as a whole, the direct domain of the position—is detailed, thorough, lucid, and specific. Her partnership with Sejal Singh on the Coalition Against Sexual Violence will be key in creating a proactive dynamic, both within the executive board and with the student body. We believe Porter has the greatest potential in this position, with strong, specific ideas and the means to attain them.
VP FOR CAMPUS LIFE
For the position of VP for campus life, we endorse Andrew Ren, CC '15, of TAP. Of the three candidates, he has the most well-rounded experience on campus, giving him a thorough understanding of all facets of campus life. His experience as an RA and CA for first-years puts him in a unique position to know what kinds of events and initiatives will reach a maximum number of students, and his involvement in a diverse array of organizations is crucial. Most importantly, his experience on the Activities Board at Columbia means he is already familiar with numerous clubs and relevant procedures in event organization and administrative planning.
Mary Joseph, CC '15, running independently, also presents a strong candidacy. She brings an outsider's perspective, which—for a Campus Life Committee much criticized in the past few months, particularly in the wake of CCSC 2016 Representative Ben Kornick's resignation—is important in pushing the committee toward more positive results. Ultimately, Ren's ideas were more specific, but Joseph's proposals and experience on CCSC would also make her a sound VP for campus life.