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ASMC Elections End, Students Still Apathetic

Mills College Weekly

Mills students went to the polls last week to vote in new ASMC members. Carolina Salazar was elected president and Lauren Brown elected vice-president. Other elected officials include: Publicity Chair Stephanie McLead; Program Chair Katherine Swartz; Women's Resource Alma Alvarado; and Diversity Chair Tanzania Anderson. After repeated requests, the ASMC and their adviser Alexis Bucknam refused to give The Weekly official numbers for voter turnout and the number of votes each candidate received. According to Gloria Espinosa, current ASMC co-president, 82 students total participated in voting for the next president, but she declined to give the number of votes each candidate received.“In the past we haven’t given numbers. We don’t put the numbers out there [to protect] feelings,” Espinosa said.The elections seemed not to be marked so much by the voting controversies of the past, but by widespread voter apathy.“I haven’t even heard anyone talking about the elections,” said senior Chrissy Torres.It may be that students were uninformed about the elections and even more uninformed about the process. Many had no idea who the candidates were or that elections were going on.Sophomore Jessica Lynne Dewey-Hoffman said she didn’t vote and hadn’t noticed an outreach to students; neither did senior Tessa Robinette who said she had heard about the elections but knew very little about the process.“There isn’t anyone to represent me. I graduate in the fall. I feel I’m doubly screwed,” Robinette said.Candidate and sophomore Swartz feels that voter apathy had a lot to do with the limited interest in the elections.“I think it’s very disappointing to go some place that is so politically outspoken yet so neutral about what’s going on our own turf,” Swartz said.Senior Lilly-Marie Lamar voted and said, “It’s important because if we’re interested in whose elected we need to give input.” Lamar was disappointed in the widespread voter apathy.Swartz feels that improvement needs to be made in reaching the student body. “Instead of saying what’s wrong with the students we have to ask ourselves what’s wrong with our communication.”Elections Chair Emily Eisele does feel that the ASMC is connected to the student body and feels that there have been improvements in getting the word out to students. She said things have improved over last year’s election and “voter turnout was great and we are glad that so many students took interest.” She also said the ASMC does not give out information about voter turnout and the numbers of votes candidates receive.Candidate speeches last Tuesday drew a meager crowd of listeners. Most students didn’t seem to know speeches were being held. Sophomore Katie Wardell didn’t vote and had no idea candidates were giving speeches.Swartz, who was a candidate, didn’t know the speeches were happening until they were over. “I only knew about the speeches through an e-mail I checked about an hour after the speeches, which I totally missed,” Swartz said.Speakers struggled to capture the attention of the meager audience in Adams Plaza. Salazar at one point asked, “are you even listening?”Also the outgoing Diversity Chair, Salazar mentioned she would like to strengthen the student support network and increase diversity and awareness on campus. “We need a student bill of rights and we need to hold the administration accountable,” Salazar shouted over the uninterested crowd.Katie Mathis, a write-in candidate for president who originally ran for Women’s Resource Chair, encouraged students to write her name in on the ballot, leaving after a brief statement. Anderson, who ran for Diversity Chair, couldn’t breakthrough the uninterested crowd. She encouraged students to not let the administration dictate discussions about diversity and to include issues other than sexuality.Some students did make it to the polls. “I have friends that are running and they encouraged me to vote,” said senior Nicole Martinez.Eisele contacted the League of Women Voters to monitor the polling stations. They agreed to donate their services, and the ASMC will be making a donation to the League. The ASMC would not disclose the amount of the donation.Results for class elections, and for the position of Alumnae Student Resource Chair will be announced on Friday.