Liveblog: WSA President/VP Debate


This week’s elections for President and Vice President come at a strange and controversial time for the Wesleyan Student Assembly. After a February meeting about a resolution for low-income and first generation students (proposed by Aidan Martinez ’17, himself a candidate) ended in tears, low-income and first generation students opened the debate about whether the current institutional structure of the WSA is viable, effective, or even helpful. Martinez’s “Shut. It. Down.” campaign called for the complete dissolution of the WSA’s constitution in order to rebuild it completely.

Today’s debate features Kate Cullen ’16 and Aidan Martinez ’17 on one side and Madison Moore ’16 and Victoria Hammitt ’17 on the other.

Martinez and Cullen are running the RefreshWes campaign, designed to turn the WSA and its institutional structure inside-out. Cullen has been a member of the WSA for two years, while Martinez was on the WSA from 2013-14. Moore and Hammitt are running to “make all associated institutions responsible to students.” [EDIT: Moore is a two-year member of the WSA while Hammit has never been on the assembly.] More information about all four candidates can be found here, on the WSA website. Elections are open until Friday, April 17.

Can’t make it to the debate but have questions you wish you could ask the candidates? We can be your proxies. Email them to staff[at]wesleying[dot]org or tweet them to @wesleying.

Jackson April 13, 201512:54 PM


Jackson April 13, 201512:53 PM

Kate is like “lol same” but now she’s saying other things. Kate encourages people to vote for her.

Maya April 13, 201512:53 PM

Kate’s final remarks: “I’m on the same page.” + we have the tools/relationships already in place to *make* the changes that the wsa needs

Jackson April 13, 201512:53 PM

Madison says that the WSA isn’t what it could be but he wants the school to be represented by the WSA.

Maya April 13, 201512:53 PM

Madison’s final remarks: 2 yrs wsa experience gives him inside perspective of how the wsa needs to be fixed — wants it to be “the best it can be”

Jackson April 13, 201512:52 PM

Aidan also wants to represent the student body. He’s talking about the things he’s done for/with/on behalf of first gen students.

Maya April 13, 201512:52 PM

Aidan’s final remarks: “I’ve gotten stuff done.” cites first gen resolution + task force — wants to make the wsa a truly representative body

Jackson April 13, 201512:52 PM

Victoria is talking about working with “you” and not against “you” to do things.

Maya April 13, 201512:52 PM

Victoria’s final remarks: reiterate that she wants to be “a representative of all of you” — listening to u, working with u

Jackson April 13, 201512:51 PM

lol 30 second final remarks

Jackson April 13, 201512:51 PM

Kate: streamline the SBC process thing

Maya April 13, 201512:51 PM

cullen: create a list of what funds have been used for in the past — ‘this is what you have to expect’ + make sure the website is actually updated

Jackson April 13, 201512:50 PM

Aiden: Create an appeals board for the SBC so it isn’t accountable to the WSA but to a separate body (shoutout to Nila Ravi ’18 for helping me decipher this stuff)

Maya April 13, 201512:50 PM

martinez: create an appeals board of three students / make the sbc chair an elected position so they are accountable to the students

Maya April 13, 201512:49 PM

Jenna Starr, formerly on the WSA, gives the last question and speaks to her problems with the WSA.

Jackson April 13, 201512:48 PM

Victoria: Make the SJB more accountable to the WSA … i’ve been here for a year and I’m still not sure what’s the difference between the SJB and SBC

Maya April 13, 201512:48 PM

moore: reducing the judicial roles of RAs

Maya April 13, 201512:47 PM

we’re bad at this, i apologize

Maya April 13, 201512:47 PM

question 5: how would you respond to the wishes of students who …???
martinez: have someone on the board of trustees
cullen: sbc stuff is at the top of their agenda
hammitt: to make the sjb more accountable to the wsa and therefore more accountable to the student body at large

Maya April 13, 201512:45 PM

cullen’s constitutional proposals: require administration to respond formally to every resolution within one week + strong communications department + more interaction with the board of trustees, have whole committees on the board of trustees

Jackson April 13, 201512:45 PM

Kate is talking about requiring the administration to respond to resolutions within one week. Like Maya, still not sure what question 4 was, but I’m sure Kate’s answer is relevant.

Maya April 13, 201512:44 PM

moore mentions the resolution to push the growth of caps staff through the administration but i missed the bulk of question 4

Jackson April 13, 201512:42 PM

Aidan’s back! He says that it’s important to have students that want to be part of the WSA but haven’t ~historically~ been part of the WSA to ~become~ part of the WSA.

Maya April 13, 201512:42 PM

martinez: we are trying to dismantle the wsa’s history and get people who haven’t historically been on the assembly to be there and to represent their voices

Jackson April 13, 201512:41 PM

Madison said some things, but his voice doesn’t carry as well as Aidan’s :(

Maya April 13, 201512:41 PM

moore: talking to student groups about the things that are important to them: “make a place where they feel safe [because of] the issues that are represented” in the body

Jackson April 13, 201512:41 PM

Victoria says that no one should feel excluded, from low-income and SOC groups to all the other groups on campus.

Maya April 13, 201512:41 PM

hammitt: no one is excluded, and this means students of color and minority groups, but also everyone else

Jackson April 13, 201512:40 PM

Aidan is hearable. That rocks. He’s saying that it’s important to understand the WSA’s history and recognize that the WSA began as an institution that supported white men. Wow everyone should just tell Aiden their answers because his voice rocks.

Maya April 13, 201512:39 PM

question 3: what is the diff btwn having representation by faces and representation by having people who actually represent your issues? how do you get these voices directly onto the wsa?

Jackson April 13, 201512:38 PM

They need a bullhorn i think

Jackson April 13, 201512:35 PM

Maybe whomever the student body elects as the next reigning leaders of the wsa will orchestrate better debate venues lol

Maya April 13, 201512:35 PM

we missed all the answers for question 1 bc usdan at noon is maybe the worst place to have a debate?

Jackson April 13, 201512:35 PM

Victoria believes in the power of elected representatives, I think. I can’t really hear anything.

Maya April 13, 201512:33 PM

student question #1: how would having representatives (like a house of representatives) would help the legitimacy of the wsa

Jackson April 13, 201512:32 PM

The moderators are now taking questions from people in the audience thing! It’s very loud. I can’t really hear anything.

Maya April 13, 201512:31 PM

hammitt: the wsa was created in 1900 and were doing good things? i couldn’t hear

Maya April 13, 201512:31 PM

moore: “a lot of the changes that we want to do can happen, and are way more likely to happen”

Maya April 13, 201512:30 PM

martinez: ‘this isn’t going to happen overnight’

Jackson April 13, 201512:30 PM

Cullen: “Voting would be cooler with a little clicker thing like people use in classrooms,” basically

Maya April 13, 201512:30 PM

the wsa meeting last night — cullen stresses the importance of voting fairly

Maya April 13, 201512:28 PM

moore: “there’s a lot of things that couldn’t happen”
hammitt: want to have office hours to increase wsa transparency

Jackson April 13, 201512:27 PM

Hi everyone! I can’t hear anything but people are clapping.

Maya April 13, 201512:27 PM

martinez: ‘again, they gave no examples of how they would do these things’
transparency: weekly emails about wsa doings, more honesty about sbc denials
“we ought to try to make something better”

Maya April 13, 201512:26 PM

cullen: want to continue to expand and support the work the wsa has done and is continuing to do — cites first gen resolution and the need to maintain this resolution through the assembly’s efforts

Maya April 13, 201512:26 PM

moore: ‘it’s hard for people to know and feel included in what we’ve done’ so it is our job to reach out to these communities // want to raise accountability for the wsa

Maya April 13, 201512:24 PM

cullen: we’re running to make the wsa “an actual representative and inclusive place” // constitutional review will be up for all-school vote.
martinez: ‘we have bold ideas and we have an idea for what we want the student body.’ names that he and cullen have been going directly to student groups to improve the wsa

Maya April 13, 201512:23 PM

final Q: what is the core of your platform / how feasible is it to impliment the changes you propose for the wsa?

Maya April 13, 201512:22 PM

martinez says: “we all have special interests, and i apologize for trying to make my community better”

Maya April 13, 201512:22 PM

Cullen says the wsa should be about making it easier for people to come together

Maya April 13, 201512:21 PM

VH: The WSA is supposed to be a place where everyone can come together and hear both sides of the issues, and that’s how we plan to be inclusive.

Maya April 13, 201512:20 PM

Hammitt addresses Cullen’s proposal: “that’s a necessarily exclusive plan”

Maya April 13, 201512:20 PM

Cullen: a WSA senate and house, perhaps?

Maya April 13, 201512:19 PM

Martinez: “Every year, a WSA candidate has run on making the WSA more inclusive and representative” but not proposed a method, and their method is to “establish a communications department of the WSA that will maintain the website” etc.

Maya April 13, 201512:19 PM

Hammitt: increasing the updates on the website, utilizing wsa social media, making sure the wsa is actually representative
Moore: to have everybody on campus recognize who’s on the wsa and to have the student body more open to / comfortable talking to the members

Maya April 13, 201512:16 PM

Q: How do you plan to ensure that the WSA doesn’t exclude anyone?

Maya April 13, 201512:16 PM

Cullen asks Moore/Hammit: what kinds of relationships to administrators do you have / do you want? Their answer: to be respected by the students and to be allies with everyone.

Maya April 13, 201512:15 PM

Martinez says that allies “are more willing to work with you” and that they have named the people they’ve worked with in the past / who would also be open to collaboration in the future.

Maya April 13, 201512:15 PM

Moore and Hammitt “are hesitant to say allies” because it reinforces the dichotomy of ally/enemy and student/administrator.

Maya April 13, 201512:13 PM

Q: Who are your allies in North College? Aidan Martinez speaks first, naming Dean Renee and others. Kate Cullen speaks next, naming the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Cullen was also a student member of the Board of Trustees, and says that they will be working extensively with these offices next year.

Maya April 13, 201512:04 PM

The podiums are up in the center space in Usdan, and the candidates are prepping for the debate. According to the WSA, today’s debate will be split with the last half available for audience questions.

  • info

    BTW: SBC decisions can ALREADY be appealed to the entire WSA. Doesn’t show a strong grasp of facts…

    • Voter

      Yes, Kate and Aidan were completely incorrect on this front. Misinformation.

      • really

        You have to appeal to the SBC before you appeal to the assembly. it has only been done once in history, so it isn’t as accessible as you think.

        • Voter 2

          So it hasn’t been used…doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible.

  • guest

    FYI: Hammitt is not a member of the WSA/has never been. A+ reporting.

    • Maya

      My bad! Thanks for the correction, I’ll make the edit.