The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Student Government special election candidate platforms fact-checked

The+four+candidates+spoke+at+a+forum+on+Tuesday+night.+%28Photos+courtesy+of+Virginia+Sacotingo+25%2C+Sasha+Carter+on+LinkedIn%2C+William+Guti%C3%A9rrez+27+and+Ava+Gallia+26%29
The four candidates spoke at a forum on Tuesday night. (Photos courtesy of Virginia Sacotingo ’25, Sasha Carter on LinkedIn, William Gutiérrez ’27 and Ava Gallia ’26)

Student Government is currently hosting a special election to fill the inclusivity officer and parliamentarian vacancies. Voting will close on March 4.

This week, The Lafayette spoke with each of the candidates about their platforms. We then reviewed their promises and provided some additional context, which can be found in italics.

INCLUSIVITY OFFICER 

Sasha Carter ‘27

Carter is running on a platform of “understanding other communities and immersing yourself in other people’s cultures — not just accepting them, but wanting to learn more.”

“When I got to Lafayette, I knew I was missing a purpose, and I wanted to continue all the work that I did in high school,” Carter said about her work with World of Difference, a nonprofit.

If elected, Carter hopes to ensure that the equity and inclusion resources that the school has are properly disseminated, adding that she does not think that they are “being highlighted in the way that they should.”

Carter hopes to create an Instagram page where the Equity and Inclusion Committee can highlight events happening on campus.

An Instagram account for the Equity and Inclusion Committee, @lafequityandinclusion, already exists. Its last post is from May 2022.

Carter also hopes to implement an anonymous system to make it easier for students to report bias incidents to Student Government.

“There’s been talk of possible Office Hours with an inclusion officer, and I think that’s great and all, but I think some people might be discouraged from that because all of these people that are experiencing prejudice in their daily life are obviously people that are very scared,” she said.

The college’s OnePard form allows members of the campus community to anonymously report bias incidents to the chair of the bias support team, the director of educational equity and the dean of students.

Finally, Carter wants to expand Pard Pantry’s offerings to include culturally significant foods for international students who remain on campus during breaks.

Virginia Sacotingo ‘25

Sacotingo was elected interim inclusivity officer in February.

The main points of her platform include requiring Student Government representatives to dedicate one hour of service in the Pard Pantry, expanding Pard Pantry volunteer opportunities to all students, incorporating a broader range of office hours for students and resident advisors and granting the six members of the Student Government executive board free parking, 24/7 access to dormitories and $250 in Pard Dollars.

Payment for parking falls under the purview of the Office of Public Safety whose director said, “We’ve never done that before.” Additionally, only head resident advisors have 24/7 access to dormitories; such access was revoked from other resident advisors. Safety concerns were raised after one resident advisor burglarized several campus residences last year. Said Lafayette’s vice president for finance of the Pard Dollars: “I am not aware of this initiative.”

“In overseeing the Pard Pantry and having the experience of shopping and restocking the pantry, I realized that this was something every representative needed to have,” Sacotingo wrote in an email. “Not only because … it is a lot of work but also because it is a symbol of gratitude.”

PARLIAMENTARIAN

Ava Gallia ‘26

Gallia is running for parliamentarian to increase transparency. She has served on the sustainability committee since her appointment to Student Government in early February.

“With an intimate understanding of the bylaws and constitution, I will be able to recognize when inaction is unconstitutional,” she said. “I also understand the newspaper — they come to sit in on our meetings, so if there’s any sort of report, or even just from the general student body, any question of constitutionality of an action of Student Government, I am more than willing to investigate and address it.”

Gallia wants to make sure the constitution and bylaws as they currently stand are honored.

“My biggest goal is truly to uphold the constitution and bylaws, as were carefully crafted by our school our previous Student Government representatives and our advisor,” she said. “Because I think that’s super important, and that is the job, and that is critical in making sure Student Government does what it is meant to, which is fair representation.”

William Gutiérrez ‘27

Gutiérrez’s platform centers on change.

“I’m running for Student Government because quite frankly, right now, Student Government is broken and we need somebody who is willing and able to hold them accountable to fix those issues,” Gutiérrez said.

A major component of his platform is changing how class representatives are allotted seats – he wants them to be voted on by the student body instead of being appointed by the executive board.

“By including elected at large representatives, you’re not only leveling the playing field, but you [are] also involving the students more in those decisions, instead of them kind of being insulated and solely accountable to the executive board,” Gutiérrez said.

Gutiérrez also wants to bring to Student Government what he calls “radical transparency,” by recording all general body meetings and liaising with The Lafayette.

Student Government meetings are currently open to the general public, and meeting agendas are made public via Instagram, though minutes have not been made available outside of select groups.

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About the Contributor
Madeline Marriott, Editor-in-Chief
Maddie (she/her) is a senior English major with a Government & Law minor. As the Editor-in-Chief, a Mentor Writing Associate, a Senior Student Contributor for Lafayette Communications, a Communications Intern for the Office of Sustainability, co-founder and Vice President of English Club, and a Senior Interviewer for Lafayette Admissions, no writing happens on campus without her knowing about it. Her Google Calendar would make your head spin. She is a die-hard Swiftie and Phillies fan, a collector of tote bags, a builder of a Hay Day empire, and an avid Goodreads and Letterboxd user. She smokes cigars and uses an old-timey typewriter and notepad in the newsroom.

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