By Shira Kipnees || Senior Staff Writer
On April 2, students elected a new executive board for the Diplomatic Congress (DipCon): Donnell Bailey ’17, president; Molly Cadwell ’16, vice-president; Charley Hagist ’18, treasurer; and Carmen Navia ’18, secretary. Last week, on April 9, students elected new class presidents for the rising sophomore, junior, and senior classes: Wyatt Behringer ’18, Christiana Jeung ’17, and Anne Dolan, ’16, respectively.
While only rising juniors and seniors were eligible to run for president, the positions of vice-president, treasurer, and secretary were open to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors. According to Mark Harmon-Vaught ’15, outgoing president of DipCon, a candidate must collect 100 signatures from the student community in order to run, then campaign to gain support for their election. In uncontested races, DipCon allows students to write-in candidates.
Bailey won as a write-in candidate, as he was originally decided not to run for more student government positions after serving for two years as President of the Class of 2017.
“I thought after two years of being involved, I should’ve been done; however, I realized there’s more work to be done when it comes to campus issues and I wanted to continue to be part of that work through the Diplomatic Congress,” he said.
Bailey’s platform revolved around issues of textbook affordability, funding for class presidents, relocation of the Women’s Center and LGBTQ space, mental health awareness, and other issues. His campaigning included getting the message out on social media as soon as possible.
“Once I decided to run, I knew I had to work harder because I was a write-in candidate,” he said. “I was at a disadvantage and I just had to dig myself out of that hole. I knocked on doors, used social media, and campaigned until the very last minute.”
Bailey believes his campaign succeeded because his platform reflected the students’ stories and experiences. He hopes to get results and build on the foundation established by outgoing DipCon officers.
“Like anybody else who works hard at what they do, I am just hoping to see some results next year,” he said. “I believe we have many students on campus who question the role and purpose of student government on campus; part of that is because unfortunately we do not always deliver concrete results. In the upcoming school year, no matter how big or small the issue, I intend on getting results. I believe this year’s congress has done a great job at laying the foundation for future success through DipCon Forums, now it’s time to build on that great work.”
Bailey’s fellow officers-elect echoed his sentiments of increasing communication between DipCon and the student body in order to address the needs and issues of the campus community.
“I would like for Dip Con to be more visible and receptive to student input,”Cadwell said.
“The current executive board has already made big steps in doing that and I want to build off of their hard work by continuing the Dip Con Forum series and holding regular open office hours so that we can better communicate to the administration what students need.”
Bailey said that he enjoyed his experience running for DipCon President because student government elections not only represent a way for student engagement and that student government can have a direct impact on student initiatives, but because elections have the power to give voice to students’ issues.
Additionally, the week following elections for DipCon’s executive board, elections for class president were held. Wyatt Behringer ’18 was elected sophomore class president, Christiana Jeung ’17 was elected junior class president, and Anne Dolan ’16, current junior class president, was re-elected as senior class president. As of press time, the presidents-elect were unavailable for
According to Harmon-Vaught, the officers-elect will now begin the transition process that will culminate in the transfer of power in DipCon’s final meeting in two weeks.
“My fellow outgoing officers and I are very grateful for the opportunity to have served our community this year, and we look forward to all that this fantastic incoming group will accomplish!” Harmon-Vaught said.
Senior Shira Kipnees is a senior staff writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.