The Carleton Student Association (CSA) recently released the results for the latest Senate Liaison election.
“Spring elections are a bit harder to get votes and candidates for. It is the busiest term and getting interest is hard when the bald spot is green and the sun is out,” said Matthew Fitzgerald ’14, President of the CSA Senate. “Moreover, liaison positions are maybe less visible from class representatives.”
Unlike the more highly competitive elections and more extensive student turnout last term, less than one quarter of the campus body voted in these elections and more than three quarters of the elections had no competition. “Which is ironic,” said Fitzgerald, “because the liaisons have the benefit of representing the CSA in really interesting committees and should be competitive.”
Still, two elections this spring term did have competition: the Education and Curriculum Committee Liaison and the Sports Liaison, both vitally important to the voicing of student interests in areas students have particular passion.
In the recent Carleton Student Association Senate election, Lucinda Robinson ‘14 won with 55 percent of the vote against Dane Christensen ‘15, and will follow the path of Andy Zweber ‘13, the current and first ever Senate Sports Liaison.
“What I have been able to do over the past year was to set the framework for the next club sports liaison,” Zweber said.
The Sports Liaison position oversees club sports and arose out of the club sports moratorium started by the Recreation Center and the Physical Education, Athletics and Recreation (PEAR) Department.
As a member of both the Student Senate and a member of the Club Sports Committee, “this position was able to [bring] the two together,” said Zweber, “CSA funds club sports and represents the student body, which are very involved in club sports.” Over thirty percent of students participate in club sports.
For three years, Carleton can have no new club sports and even after the end of the moratorium, none of the new club sports can duplicate varsity sports. The moratorium is to end next year.
Zweber has seen the policy encounter “pushback from students who want (their organizations) to be club sports (to) get access to fields, trainers (and) equipment.” Club sports participation also counts toward the physical education requirement.
Still, Zweber found that despite the vocal opposition to the moratorium, “being in [his] position, [he has] heard both sides of the story.”
The Rec Center and PEAR department established the club sports moratorium to maintain their quantity and quality of club sports.
Carleton has 27 club sports while the University of Minnesota has only 25. Still, as a small liberal arts college, Carleton has limited resources and field space for club sports and the moratorium seeks to evaluate and improve the sustainability of them.
Zweber has led an effort to increase concussion testing at Carleton and many more club sports have begun to do so, improving the safety and well-being of students.
He has also helped to reinstate homecoming at Carleton. “In the past, homecoming has been a big deal on campus, thirty years ago, they would have bonfires on the Baldspot,” Zweber said, “we want to reimage and rebrand homecoming.”
Right now, Zweber said the position should prepare for “after the moratorium, (when) we can start a dialogue of where club sports should go and what we want to do with the program”
In her platform, Robinson ran on a series of issues including increasing athletic trainer hours for club sports athletes, increasing those sports’ affordability and granting PE credit for students participating in sports designated as student organizations.
“I have played on a Frisbee team for the past couple of years and have already had a vague interest in club sports,” said Robinson, “I wanted to run to see if I could improve things for students.”
The student voice on club sports will continue to be heard as Robinson assumes the position from Zweber.ECC Election
In the recent spring election, Reid Whitaker ‘14, who had never before been involved in the Senate, became Carleton Student Association Liaison to the Education and Curriculum Committee (ECC) with 54 percent of the vote against John Cannon ‘15, the current Liaison to the ECC.
Cannon has had many accomplishments during his year as Senate Liaison to the ECC and considers the discussion on night classes and reviewing the Geology Department his most important achievements.
“The main one that might seem somewhat odd is the night classes (discussion),” Cannon, said “because I think my job on the ECC was to represent the student voice on night classes discussion, I think I did it very well.”
Cannon helped to organized the student survey on night classes: and “(when) the student voice (said) that we do not want night classes, [he]told the ECC that and [they] decided not to pursue night classes.”
Also during his tenure as ECC Liaison, Cannon served on the Internal Review Committee for the Geology Department at Carleton.
Due to the large expense of geology field trips, the committee started considering restricting them and placing a fee for students to go on them. However, after learning how much passion students had for the field trips, the committee rejected the fee idea.
In his platform, Reid Whitaker ran on a series of issues including concern about night classes, the possibility of creating an experiment college and the possibility of more official auditing.
Whitaker wants to guarantee that any change proposed by the ECC will have student support. “I want to make sure that as they move forward on that, the Carleton community knows what these changes are and are on board with them,” Whitaker said
His personal experience with the auditing system prompts him to try to improve it for students. “I think there are a lot of students who do audit and would like to audit classes,” Whitaker said, “and it would be really nice to get some recognition for (them) taking it.”
Online courses present both an opportunity to benefit students and an opportunity to cost students. “I want to make sure [online course] do not stop students from having the great [interactions with professors] and getting what they came to Carleton for,” said Whitaker.
When explaining his reasons for running, Whitaker said, “there are some very important decisions being made right now and I want to be involved in how they are made and I want the student body to be involved in how they are made.”