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October 19, 2020   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Prospective SGC senators share goals for Fall 2020

Two candidates discussed their goals for the position of Class of 2024 senator at the Ithaca College Student Governance Council Platform Presentation on Sept. 24.

Freshmen Liza Dhameeth and Aubren Villasenor are running uncontested for the two Class of 2024 senator seats. Senior Grace Cannon is running for varsity athlete senator but was not present at the meeting. Currently, there are 13 seats available in the Senate, and the position of vice president of communications is available on the SGC Executive Board. 

At the presentation, Dhameeth said that she is running for senator because she wants to implement changes at the college that have a national impact. 

“I want to enact the change that I’ve always wanted to see, starting from Ithaca College, and in the future as a federal judge,” she said. “I want to aid in making Ithaca College a model to other colleges within the United States and internationally in all aspects but mainly in reducing our carbon footprint, providing a safe environment for and aiding in the growth of people of color and increasing Ithaca College’s student voter turnout.” 

Senior SGC President Connor Shea asked Dhameeth how students can care about environmental issues when the semester is remote. Dhameeth, who grew up in Ithaca, said it is important to be global citizens and care about the Earth regardless of where students are.

“I think, remotely, doing our part individually is important because while we do have to protect the Earth, we also have to protect each other in order to guarantee a sustainable future,” she said.

Villasenor said that one of his main goals is to improve communication between the administration and students.

“Any communication has been vague at best and a waste of time at worst,” he said.

Villasenor said he hopes to introduce a bill that would require the administration to give weekly or biweekly updates on the college’s COVID-19 status and any new policies regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he also wants to focus on banning professors from requiring students to have their cameras on during Zoom class because he thinks it can be uncomfortable for some students.

“By requiring cameras on, it is an incredibly different experience than being in a classroom,” he said. “In a classroom, you have control over who is looking at you at one point. In Zoom, you don’t have that control. Someone can be looking at you at any point, and they are not only looking at you, but they are looking into your house.”

He said that he thinks cameras should only be required to be on during active learning and discussions where participation is essential.

Shea asked him how he plans to connect and communicate with other members of the Class of 2024. Villasenor said he plans to use the Class of 2024 Facebook group and Instagram to introduce himself and talk with students.

“I am planning to have Instagram Live sessions on my Instagram so that anyone who has a question, whether it be about my campaign or whether it be about me or they just want someone to talk to, can talk to me,” he said.

The other open positions are one Class of 2023 senator, one Class of 2021 senator, School of Business senator, Roy H. Park School of Communications senator, School of Health Science and Human Performance senator, School of Humanities and Sciences senator, transfer senator, club athlete senator, off-campus senator and graduate senator. Students who want to run for an open position can submit an election packet to the senate chair. Packets need to be approved, and the candidate must present their platform to the SGC. The candidate will be added as a senator following a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate.

Student engagement with the SGC has been low over the last few years. In September 2019, 19 out of 36 senator positions were filled, and, in September 2018, only four positions out of 24 were filled. 

Students can vote for candidates on Engage from 8 a.m. Oct. 1 to 11:59 p.m. Oct. 2. Elected senators will be announced Oct. 3 and attend their first meeting Oct. 5.