I’m Emma Waitzman and I want to be your Student Council Co-president. Swarthmore gives students the rare opportunity to participate in big decisions that are made, such as the priorities of the college, the goals for the future of Swarthmore, and even the distribution of funds. As co-president, I see my job as that of an amplifier for a variety of student concerns/opinions that should be taken into consideration by the administration.
Student council holds a lot of powers in that they are granted mandatory meetings with deans, and specific members are allowed into board meetings. Student council may be the most direct connection between students and administration and should therefore be working to get a wide range of input and information about various issues on campus. For example, the replacement of the Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs is a process that should be prioritized and involve far more student collaboration than it currently has.
Student council should be more transparent about its own decision-making process. For example students should be able to know when and where certain agenda items will be discussed, in addition to how they were voted on, without having to read a long transcript of meeting minutes. Student council should also offer details of its meetings with members of the school administration. Transparency would promote a space for students to weigh in on decisions and utilize student council in the way that student representatives should be expected to be accessible.
Council members should work to give an authentic wide range of student perspectives on issues to help meetings with administration be productive in a way that they challenge policy and the decisions on the table. It’s OK if some meetings with administrators involve disagreement, because it’s only natural that student and administrative priorities are not always in perfect agreement with one another. For instance, there may be disagreement as to how much control students should have in certain sensitive decisions.
Swarthmore works to achieve consensus with students and allows us the space to hold our entire community accountable. As co-president I will work to make student council a space where students can become a crucial part of bringing Swarthmore to its highest potential.