Senate held its election for Secretary at its final meeting of the semester on April 30th, 2018. Each candidate for Secretary was allotted 4 minutes of speaking time, with no Q&A.
Marisa Balanda ‘21 spent a great deal of time defending her decision to write an opinion for the Gettysburgian, but she also transformed the accusation of intimidation into her own belief that past and future members of senate may not fully understand the constitution, supporting further her idea of a Senator training program, and a new interest in clearing up vague wording in the Constitution. She also talked about her desire to continue on the ResLife task force, holding the College accountable for all facilities on campus.
Alex Xie ‘20 cited his own experience working on the College Life Advisory Committee with two past secretaries, as well as board positions he held in High School which taught him how to run both general member and exec board meetings. He talked about meeting with many groups during the course of his campaign, and talking with people brought him to the conclusion that people do not know what Senate does or do not consider it do be a major force on campus. He then outlined a 6-sided plan he would execute if elected. These sides included distributing monday night minutes and setting up meeting agendas as soon as possible to allow Senators to look these materials over with plenty of time before meetings. He also planned to encourage committees to begin keeping minutes of their meetings. All these minutes would be posted on the new website, to allow people to see what Senate really does. Mr. Xie also suggested an open record of Senator voting records so classes can decide if they are content with the people representing them, and an open Dropbox folder containing a constantly-updated version of the Constitution, as well as charts showing the status of the Senate budget, money allotted and money spent. He finally said that he would try to remember the names of all Senators, eliminating the need for them to say their names before they speak, a request Secretary Helmstetter has been making consistently throughout the year.
Charlie Williamson ‘19 sent in a video from Spain, where he is currently studying abroad. He first cited his experience on diverse areas of campus, writing for the Gettysburgian, working in the Psych lab, and his experience as Philanthropy Chair of Lambda Kai Alpha. Mr. Williamson spoke of his desire to initiate debates in senate and being more student’s voices and ideas into the body, emphasizing the importance of people being vocal. Mr. Williamson also expressed frustration with the administration “sweeping the Hanson Mold issue under the rug”, which he said he had known about since his own first year due to his friends living in Hanson basement at the time. He spoke about how this represented a larger problem at Gettysburg, the lack of transparency within the administration, and said that Senators should “Vote for me if you want to hold the college accountable”.
After Marisa Balanda’s election to Secretary, President Frigon defended the college, stating that Gettysburg is transparent, and in the end tuition is only about 76% of the real cost of attending the school.