On Sunday, the Student Life Committee released the results of the Student Council elections for the 2021-22 school year. Notably, Micah Smith ’22 became the newly elected Student Council president.
“It felt like a really big win,” Smith said. “So much of this year has just been pushing for different changes to happen, for things to move a little bit faster, for things to be a little more honest, and being elected felt like kind of a point where all the things that I’ve been wanting to do start to happen.”
Smith was running against current Student Council President Bradley Berklich ’22. The two both received a large amount of support and attention among the student body. While both candidates have addressed similar issues, such as the relationship between the student body and the Board of Trustees, they adopted significantly different approaches.
This year’s election was marked by a number of challenged races.
“This election cycle was really different because we had three totally contested positions,” said Ubongabasi Asuquo ’23, who was reelected as vice president of student life.
The elections saw several new candidates take office: Elhabashy was elected as vice president for business and finance, Skyler Lesser-Roy ’22 was elected as chair of campus safety and wellness, Caleb Newman ’24 was elected as chair of buildings, grounds and sustainability, Bijan Khaghani ’23 was elected chair of diversity, equity and inclusion, Grant Holt ’22 was elected senior class president, Jonathan Pastor ’23 was elected junior class president and Aram Ebrahimian ’24 was elected sophomore class president.
Many of the newly elected candidates have served on their respective committees before. Mohamed Elhabashy ’23, the newly elected vice president of business and finance, noted his experiences as a longtime member of the Business and Finance Committee will help shape his policy.
When campaigning, the candidates followed the Student Council’s campaign guidelines. From Mar. 28 to Apr. 4, candidates were allowed to send one Student-Info email, post up to 50 campaign flyers on campus and post content on social media.
While a staggering number of the races saw new candidates take office, many representatives from this past year were reelected. Delaney Gallagher ’23, who was reelected as vice president for academic affairs, recounted her experience campaigning.
“I thought it was a fun, easy process, and I was able to help my equally capable and experienced colleagues in the process,” Gallagher said.
Other reelected officials, like Asuquo, expressed eagerness to work with the newly elected members of the Student Council. She emphasized that it will be important to work together, reconciling any differences that may have been brought about during the strenuous election season, while guiding the campus into a new academic year.
“I’m looking forward to working quite closely with [the newly elected Student Council officials] and their different positions while building more collaborations,” Asuquo said. “While sometimes things seem fractured, we want to create a united front while at the same time covering everyone.”
In addition to Asuquo and Gallagher, Ever Croffoot-Suede ’23 was reelected as chair of housing and dining.
The 2021-22 Student Council members, both new and incumbent, will face the challenges of leading a campus in the midst of transitioning into a more traditional academic year. Considering both the changing tide of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the controversies surrounding inclusion and rights such as the recent advocacy to change the bylaws governing the funding of affinity groups, the election seemed to carry even more weight than usual.
In particular, Smith hopes that as president, they can advocate for their campaign promises while working with their fellow Council members, especially in addressing concerns when it comes to privilege and whiteness within the traditional Council structure.
“It’s [about] working with both the combination of people who were already on Student Council, and all the people who just got elected, to shift towards a more inclusive environment,” Smith said. “I know people have felt uncomfortable coming to Student Council meetings because of how white the spaces were and how privileged the people there tended to be.”