Special election for Sophomore Representative to be held this weekend

On Nov. 10 and 11, the class of 2016 will head to the polls yet again, following the resignation of former representative Bassem El-Remesh, the fourth MCSG official to depart this semester.

In response, MCSG organized a special election for the now vacated seat. Interested candidates were required to file by Monday and were allowed to begin campaigning following an information session held on Tuesday. There are five registered candidates running.

Stability is a key issue in elections and several candidates are placing it at the center of their campaigns.

“When the sophomore class had an incomplete representation in the student government, there was definitely an impact on the mentality of the sophomore class,” candidate Harrisonford Fauni ’16 wrote in an email. “For me, I have wondered why there were so many resignations, and since these resignations were too personal to disclose, I have felt that a lot of sophomores were left in the dark of why our representatives have been forced to resign.”

Another candidate, Alex Dolabi ’16, had a more lighthearted response.

“I do not understand, as of now, how the sophomore class has been affected by the multiple turnarounds and resignations,” he said. “We have continued to go to our classes and try to handle our individual lives.”

Given the unusual circumstances of the special election, the candidates were asked for their intentions behind running for the position at this time.

“I was inspired by my friends and the warm, understanding environment of Macalester to run for the sophomore representative class,” Fauni wrote. “I lacked self-confidence before running for a position in the student government, always doubting if I could fulfill such a position and embrace the enormous responsibility as a representative of the whole sophomore body.”

Dolabi wrote that he also found support from members of the campus community.

“For me, it’s the campaigning that is unattractive and frightening,” he said. “I do not know how to intentionally put myself ‘out there.’ But a very good friend of mine—a man I see as being of solid character—has egged me to run for all of these elections, and if he thinks I would be a good addition to student government, then I too must see it within myself.”

Another candidate, Nandita Elijah ’16, asks students to introduce themselves in her candidate biography.

“For those who already know me, I’m a very approachable person, and for those who don’t, approach me and find out!” she writes. “I know that this approachability will allow me to hear your opinions, concerns, and desires for change, so I can represent the sophomore voice within MCSG.”

The candidates had a variety of plans for the sophomore class once elected as representative.

“Some concrete goals that I hope to advocate are making sure that the budget is designed for creating growth in the sophomore class through opportunities, careers, academics, and programs, getting feedback from the sophomore class with policies, and organizing memorable social events that can be enjoyed by everyone in the sophomore class,” Fauni said.

Dolabi, while admitting the difficult role that the representative plays in trying to help the sophomore class, offered to preserve the unique qualities of the class.

“I do not know what people care about,” he wrote. “What I want and what the class as a group may want are simultaneously alike and distinct.”

He also provided one other interesting yet controversial change to official college policy.

“One goal I am willing to speak on is an extended Thanksgiving break,” he wrote. “That intention comes from several friends’ issues with being unable to go home despite wanting to.”

Elijah proposed to continue to build on existing MCSG policies.

“I believe that there is scope for positive change with regards to bike safety issues and the library’s Textbook Reserve Program,” her candidate biography reads.
She also wants to increase the visibility of athletics on campus.

“Additionally, being a student employee in the Athletics Department has developed a deep sense of school spirit,” she writes in her biography, “In a similar vein, I will work towards increasing our presence at Macalester’s sporting events to cheer our athletes on!”

The candidates also responded to some of the skepticism that sophomores may have of MCSG given that now three of five representatives have resigned. They encouraged students to continue to be involved despite the confusion and frustration.

“It is really important to vote despite numerous elections and resignations because everyone’s voice counts,” Fauni wrote. “The biggest problem of not voting is having the knowledge that your opinion is not heard through the policies that might be established by the student government.”

Dolabi similarly wrote about the need to take action in light of the confusing process.

“I’m confused myself, but that is not unusual,” he wrote. “That doesn’t mean I stop thinking and acting. I can see how some students may be fed up with the number of elections because of resignations and predicaments. And I bet others will pay [more] attention to the campaigns so they may hopefully stop the emails saying there will be another election.”

Two other candidates, Katelyn Kack and Haroon Bokhary, were not available for comment.
The elections will be open Sunday and Monday.