Nearly half of A.S. senators now appointed

    In the opening weeks of the academic year, the A.S. Council has lost three of its elected senators. After the resignations of Eleanor Roosevelt College Sophomore Senator Arielle Maccio, Revelle College Junior Senator Ashley Aluisi and Sixth College Sophomore Senator Enrique Soto, the council now consists of just 13 elected senators, with 11 positions appointed or awaiting appointment.

    All three of the senators, as well as the appointed John Muir College Senior Senator Jeremy Cogan, who also resigned, cited personal reasons for their departure.

    Marshall College Senior Senator and Senate Chair Kate Pillon and other members of the council have expressed respect for the four departing members of the council and their need to reprioritize various commitments.

    These resignations, however, mean that out of the 24 senators who hold voting positions on the A.S. Council, the student body only elected 13.

    Pillon has echoed concerns from other councilmembers that almost half of the student representatives are not elected and said that “the voice [of the students] is not as pure as if they were elected.”

    Pillon, however, said that the appointment of a senator does not necessarily have a negative effect.

    “Even the appointed [senators] take students’ needs into effect,” she said. “Freshman senators are often the most dedicated to their constituents.”

    A.S. President Jenn Pae said that though senatorial appointments may present challeges, many can be avoided.

    “I can easily see how there are some voices that are not represented, but as long as we have a senate that is representative of the student body, I think it isn’t a problem,” she said.

    Among the appointed positions are the freshman senators from each of the six colleges. The council’s bylaws require that they be appointed.

    Pillon cited the prohibitive costs of running a separate election for freshman senators at the beginning of each year as the reason for the regulation.

    Also among the appointed senators are John Muir College Junior Senator Neil Spears and Revelle College Junior Senator Kelly Vasant.

    In addition to a lower number of elected senators, the current A.S. Council only has four senators who were elected in a competitive race. Though the Unity and Students First! political slates opposed each other in many races for commissioner and vice-presidential positions, there were very few senatorial candidates who faced challengers.

    According to Cogan, this lack of options for the student voter is cause for worry.

    “It is extremely concerning that only four senators were in a competitive election when the A.S. Council is debating crucial issues such as constitutional amendments,” he said.

    The makeup of the council has not yet been finalized, with several appointments still to be made.

    Despite uncompetitive elections, Pillon said that the council is representing the students well.

    “I am proud and impressed with the balance of student opinion,” she said.

    Cogan also expressed his support for the current A.S. Council and said he believes it could create “the beginnings of a coalition based on student values.”

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