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ASMC Presidential Position Filled

Christina Kwong

After a delay since last spring to elect an ASMC president,
Mills finally has not one, but two presidents this academic year:
junior Gloria Espinosa and senior Erika Rickard.

Many students said they found the election confusing and were
unclear on the candidates’ platforms and what role the ASMC
president plays. Out of the 761 undergraduate students eligible to
vote for ASMC president, 176 votes were tallied.

“In order for the process to reflect the Mills tradition, the
student body needs to be more involved,” said Jordan Trew, a
sophomore. “There needs to be a process where the platforms and the
issues are well known. We don’t want our class elections to look
like our country’s elections.”

Other students were excited about the overdue decision and feel
the co-presidents are the right answer for Mills.

I think [Espinosa and Rickard] are really cool and have a lot of
spunk,” said Randyl Pamphlet, the new freshwoman class secretary.
“They both seem to be very active on campus. Gloria seems very nice
and approachable.”

While the co-presidents have been elected to office, one of last
year’s ASMC presidential candidates, Ebony Lubarsky, is still
trying to resolve the conduct violations that were supposed to be
addressed in a judicial review last semester.

Usually elections are held in the spring so that the ASMC can
have a fully appointed staff to start the academic year in the
fall. Last spring however, the results for the presidential slot
were deleted, judicial hearings were called and Dean of Students,
Shirley Weishaar, called for another election in the fall. The new
election wasn’t restricted to Espinoza and Lubarsky, who ran last
year, but was open to any student who wanted to run.

After intense debating last spring, Lubarsky was not on the
ballot this fall.

When asked to comment on Lubarsky’s absence from this election,
Espinosa said, “I’m a little disappointed. If she felt that she was
the better candidate-why is she not running?”

Lubarsky said that she didn’t run “because I would not be
running a presidential race, but rather a losing battle.”

Since the call for a re-election last spring, Lubarsky has
pursued her claim that the problems that she faced last semester
have not been resolved. Because there was no judicial review of the
alleged violations of the honor code or the misconduct from the
last election, Lubarsky feels that her case was largely ignored
even though she went through the appropriate channels of
administration to address her grievances.

“I have been denied my rights as a student of this institution,”
said Lubarsky.

This election, Espinosa ran for a co-presidency with Rickard
against two other presidential candidates, seniors Ophelia Stringer
and Masumi Patzel.

“I honestly think that it is better for Mills [to have a new
election]-we have a better selection,” said Espinosa. “The
atmosphere is a lot cooler this election.”

Last spring, both Lubarsky and Espinosa charged each other with
breaking the regulations outlined by Mills College for campaigning.
Lubarsky accused Espinosa of turning the election into a racial
issue between the Latinas and blacks on campus.

Espinosa believed that her association with the campus’ Latina
club, Mujeres Unidas, as well as her friendship with former ASMC
president Leanna Perez, a Latina student, caused Lubarsky to see
the election as a racial issue.

Lubarsky said that her concern is the conduct violations on the
part of acting ASMC representatives during last spring’s election,
not the implications of a racial issue.

Weishaar offered both students the choice of a judicial review,
a co-presidency, or a re-election. Lubarsky opted for a
co-presidency with Espinosa, but Espinosa refused the offer.
Lubarsky claimed that last spring Espinosa said that sharing the
presidential slot would “weaken the power” of the post. Espinosa
claimed that she and Rickard spent a lot of time thinking about
running for co-presidency together this summer when they worked
together on the Orientation Team.

After Liza Kuney, the student activities chair and ASMC advisor,
and Katie Mathis, judicial board chair, resigned from their
positions, a freeze was put on the elections.

According to Annie Flores, ASMC vice president, both candidates
weren’t fully informed about the campaign bylaws, which she feels
caused most of the violations.

“Both parties had valid accusations,” said Flores. “But there
was a lack of structure.”

Flores also found that one of the problems with the last
election was that the election wasn’t treated with the same
formality that occurs with UC-associated student elections. UC
schools are accountable for public funds so there is a lot of
oversight from paid staff, but Mills is a private university.

Espinosa views the turbulent path to the final decision in a
positive light.

“Maybe it was meant to be this way,” she said. “At least the
election process was cleaned up.”

Even though the matter seems to be closed at present, Lubarsky
is still trying to find an administrator who is willing to assist
her in addressing the events last spring.

“Nothing that happened last semester is resolved,” said
Lubarsky. “I never acquiesced or lost interest in being a student
leader. The Mills Honor Code should not have a statute of
limitations and should not be facilitated when the time is most
conducive to their needs.”