Student Senate elections underway

Ariel Cohen

Student Senate elections began Monday with students Shawn Tallant and Tom Fitzgerald competing head-to-head for Associated Students President.

Eight of the 10 student senate positions are uncontested. The president’s chair and the Vice President of External Affairs are the two seats being vied for.

Students can submit their votes online until noon on Thursday via Pipeline.

Both presidential candidates say parking, sustainability and transportation are key issues they hope to tackle if elected.

“City College has tons of resources for positive change,” said Tallant, a long time environmental activist at the college.

Tallant is also a former employee of City College, who worked as the campus parking coordinator and is co-chair of the Student Labor Action Project, a club on campus promoting political activism.

“Our school needs to start behaving as a part of the community,” he said, discussing issues such as the negative impact students have on Santa Barbara housing and traffic.

Fitzgerald also feels transportation is an important issue to be addressed.

“I have strong support for alternative modes of transportation,” he said. Fitzgerald said two goals as future president are cleaning up the bus stops and making bus routes more frequent and efficient.

Fitzgerald worked as the public relations officer for the Student Senate this semester and said it motivated him to run.

He said he feels the way current president Eric Borlaug has run the show has been successful overall, and if elected for the position, he hopes to continue Borlaug’s efforts.

Tallant disagrees.

“The decisions shouldn’t be made by 15 students behind closed doors,” he said. “As student body president, I would change the way things work. They need to be out educating students and creating an opportunity for students to be a part of the solution.”

Working on campus since 2002 has opened Tallant’s eyes to the way things are as opposed to the way things should be, he said.

Although Fitzgerald sees eye-to-eye with Tallant on the need for changes, he views the Student Senate in a different light.

“I want my agenda to be as open as my ears [to students],” he said, “I want to represent every student, not just the ones who vote.”

Students are able to vote online and have been able to for the past three years.

“All registered students will receive an e-mail with a link to the students who are campaigning, and then another link to the actual ballot,” said Ann Fryslie, director of Student Life.

“After voting, students can view the continual and final progress of the election from then on at the Web site,” she added.

The candidates this semester have also taken their own initiative to attract interest.

Fitzgerald, along with fellow senate member Lauren Vrazelik, started a campaigning party. The students running who are currently on the Student Senate are all members and involved in helping each other campaign collectively.

Vrazelik, who is running for the position of Vice President of Senate Affairs, said she too wants to “let students know that we have a lot of power to make changes.”

As Vrazelik expressed, “the point of being a senator is doing what everyone really wants, not just following your own agenda.”

Ryan McNicholas, who is running against Vrazelik, spoke about his concerns on his platform on the City College Web site.

“I am most worried about the amount of money out-of-state and international students are paying,” said McNicholas in his written platform.

To look further in to candidate platforms and how to get involved, go to http://www.sbcc.edu/student senate.