The Results Are In: A.S. Council Members Receive Their Grades

Dear Littles and Germinates,

Maybe you’re blind and haven’t noticed the omnipresent adverts for the A.S. elections. Maybe you’re brilliant and can actually tell the difference between the Unity and the One slates. Or maybe you’re in some typically collegiate state of inbetween confusion.

In that case, this article is for you. What follows is a tip-of-the-iceberg examination of some of our departing A.S. officers.

Last quarter I gave you the 1,000-word lowdown on soon-to-be ex-President Doc Khaleghi. Since I only have about 250 words each for the vice president external, the commissioner of communications, the commissioner of student advocacy and the commissioner of services and enterprises, I’m gonna go a lot easier on them. Sorry, Doc. Try to take it in stride. What follows is both a guide for how these folks did and a lesson in how to think about the new folks trying to get their jobs.

Vice President External Eugene Mahmoud graded himself down for his work with fellow A.S. Council members. Mahmoud gave himself an unfairly low D-, thereby demonstrating exactly the kind of self-criticism and humility that marks a good official.

The sad truth is that good candidates, with their flashy smiles and “”ain’t I great”” credentials, rarely have what it takes to do the job they so easily get. Mahmoud actually did look like a good candidate, despite being a last-minute entry when his good friend was disqualified, and he turned out to be a great official.

The vice president external is charged to do exactly the kind of macro-advocacy that A.S. President Doc Khaleghi excelled at. Mahmoud focused on his own strengths, including an immense reserve of respect and affinity for traditionally marginalized groups. He set out to make his office a place of safety and accessibility in the labyrinthine third floor. He has accomplished this marvelously.

Mahmoud has also had his share of striking accomplishments. He ran the best Students of Color Conference in years, with a record attendance and television coverage. He contributed to the 3,500 voters registered on campus for last November’s elections. His office, as he astutely pointed out, gives the A.S. Council credibility beyond simple funds distribution and student advocacy.

Mahmoud graded himself as a B- average, taking credit for getting more people involved with the A.S. Council but noting his poor balance of time and energy with regards to his schoolwork. But his office has a history of borderline academic probation, and in context of this year’s council, he deserves an easy A.

The grade earned by Rami Shaarawy, our commissioner of communications, was not so easy to determine. Like many of his predecessors, Shaarawy was drafted almost off the street to fill a slate and came into the job after a vote of no confidence in the Guardian, and with little grasp of the position’s responsibilities. For overcoming these challenges to the point that he (and we) can take his job seriously, Shaarawy gets an A for effort.

For his actual fulfillment of the job, he does not deserve so high a grade. The commissioner of communications oversees alternative media publications such as The Koala, The Muir Quarterly, and Voz Fronteriza, to name the few that have actually published an issue or three in a noticeable way this year. Shaarawy approved a slew of new publications, few of which have actually gone to the presses.

Shaarawy holds a job that has been waiting a long time for a brilliant and effective leader to transform it. It is still waiting. Shaarawy gets a B+ for outstripping his own potential, and a C for living up to the job. Call it a B-, and let’s move on.

Of course, if a professor did that kind of fuzzy math with your grades, it wouldn’t fly. If you got into a fight over it, you might have to fly over to Commissioner of Judicial Affairs Amy Kuo. Mostly working behind closed doors, Kuo is hard to grade without having found a client of hers who wanted to breach confidentiality.

We’ll let her represent herself.

“”I deserve an A-/B+ grade,”” she said. “”I would have liked to have accomplished more, and I would have loved to make my office even more widely known.””

“”Seeing that I am a freshman to A.S., I think I did a pretty darn good job,”” she said. “”Between getting acquainted with the system and understanding my position without the aid of the previous student advocate, I learned the ropes on my own. I fought for students on various issues and had the opportunity to see them to victory in some of their cases. I am also one of the first in a long time to even produce some publicity and information to students.””

Finally, we examine Matt Conroy, commissioner of services and enterprises.

Overseeing the co-ops, Volunteer Connection, A.S. Internship Office, Triton Taxi, U.S. grants, Student Cable Works, A.S. Lecture Notes, Soft Reserves, refrigerator rentals and our own dear, sweet Grove Caffe, Conroy would have had an overflowing plate if the internal leadership of all these groups hadn’t been so strong.

It’s not tough to oversee people who know what they’re doing, but Conroy made it hard for himself. He took on the revamping of Triton Taxi, the re-negotiatiation of CalPIRG’s contract, the raising of lecture note takers’ pay and various improvements to the refrigerator rental service.

Conroy gets an A for his all-around step-up-to-the-plate-and-try enthusiasm. He secures this A with a good sense of when to spend his time advocating a group and when to stay out of the way.

You will be under a lot of pressure in the next few weeks to pick and choose according to nice words and nice clothes and pretty posters.

Some of you will stay away from the polls because of those things, and some will just vote according to what that guy said who was talking to that girl two tables over.

If you have any self-respect, get yourself out of both these categories. Meet the candidates and listen to what they have to say about their potential jobs. Are they informed hard workers, or slate-filling slackers? Ask them what they think about the people to whom I’ve just introduced you.

And if they try to charm you, kick `em in the shins.

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