The Associated Students Board of Directors, SF State’s student government, is being determined this week. ASI strives to represent students and maintain a commitment to social justice. Students can vote online for executive officers, class representatives and college representatives through Friday, April 7, and can view the debates on the ASI website.
Meet the presidential candidates:
Major: International Relations
Jordan James-Harvill is running alongside 13 other students for the presidency with the slate Reclaim SF State.
The slate revolves around four main goals: protecting historically marginalized communities, addressing basic needs of the students, resisting the institution and empowering and mobilizing students.
“What we want to do is reclaim the idea of a school that is focused and committed t o social justice,” James-Harvill said.
James-Harvill said that since 2008 students have suffered significant cuts to services and classes and do not have the proper infrastructure to address these issues.
“We need to teach students how to voice their opinions again, but that also means that we need to be willing to listen,” James-Harvill said.
If elected, James-Harvill wants to focus on building a culture of transparency and accountability. He hopes to achieve this by establishing conditions for Associated Students, Inc. government positions, like requiring representatives visit all student organizations in their college, plan several class talks per month to keep students informed and host monthly town halls within each college to talk with students about issues affecting them.
James-Harvill also plans to form a better relationship with Golden Gate Xpress, host monthly town hall meetings, post weekly Facebook live events to update students and from the college council.
According to James-Harvill, the college council, a priority for him, is something that has been in the works for years but has yet to be implemented. The council would be comprised of college representatives, ideally involving a student within their college and relevant faculty members who would help bring in deans and assistant deans to listen to the students they serve.
“It would be an open space,” James-Harvill said. “Any students from the college would be able to come in and get involved.”
Other issues James-Harvill wants to focus on as president include helping undocumented and AB-540 students, Islamophobia, food insecurity, student homelessness and the tuition increase.
James-Harvill joined ASI during his freshman year as an intern for the board of directors. After one semester in the program, he was then appointed to the board as a freshman representative at large, a position that no longer exists. In addition, he led interns for the board. James-Harvill became the vice president of facility and services during his sophomore year. He chose to step away from ASI this year, his third year at SF State, to get more involved externally.
James-Harvill is currently serving as the alternative representative to the California State Students Association Board, which he says is considered to be the top tier of student government.
“It is important to have a president with this external background so that we don’t get taken advantage of at the state level,” James-Harvill said.
The candidate is also working to create a Bay Area student coalition that will bring students from all Bay Area public universities together to work on local and regional needs.
Past accomplishments include being involved in striking down the pouring rights contract in 2015, rejecting the privatization of Panda Xpress in the Cesar Chavez Student Center and helping propose the pop-up student food pantry that recently opened.
James-Harvill said the role of the president is not to feed his or her own ego but to serve students’ interests instead. “This is about making sure students actually have representation at the table.”
Major: International Relations
Minor: Global Peace Studies and Social Justice
Jaqueline Foley is running for the presidency along with eight fellow students under the slate Stronger Together.
The slate motto, “we will not be silenced,” emphasizes empowering students to come together to have their voices heard. Foley said mobilizing students is more important than ever in fighting campus-wide issues, like the tuition hike, as well as nationwide problems.
“I think that all of us (on the slate) came to the conclusion that we are stronger when we work together when every marginalized, undocumented, underrepresented community is spoken for,” Foley said.
Foley plans to unite students, faculty and administration, as well as bridge the gap between the groups through forums.
“A lot of people have been hurt by the administration in the past couple of years,” Foley said. “It is making sure that (administration) knows that we are ready to know when to compromise, but also know when to be unyielding.”
Foley also worked to obtain approval for the social justice and equity committee and the student organization committee in order to bring students together who share the same ideals and are fighting for the same causes. The committees are projected to be up and running by fall 2017.
Foley said she will lead as president with a more personal focus, through the lens of a non-profit versus a political organization.
“At the end of the day it is a non-profit — this is not our money to be using,” Foley said. “The $9 million that we have within Associated Students is the student’s dollar and we should be allocating it in that way and in that mindset.”
Foley was introduced to ASI through campus sports and became a member of the student-athlete advisory committee during her freshman year and the treasurer during her sophomore year. Foley currently holds the presidential position as a junior. She became more closely involved with ASI government after taking on the role of athletic representative.
Foley is the current ASI vice president and serves on the University’s academic senate.
Her past accomplishments include work on the new wellness center and the Gator Pass, which was approved last summer.
Major: Mathematics, Latino/Latina Studies
Ricardo Ceja, along with two fellow students, is running for the presidency with the United Leaders for Change slate.
The slate’s platform commits to fighting for educational equity, social justice and community. If elected, Ceja plans to create a stronger campus community by bringing more visibility to Associated Students, Inc. through tabling, attending events and talking to student organizations.
“A lot of students don’t know who the board of directors is,” Ceja said. “They don’t know who they can come to with questions and concerns they may have.”
Ceja said creating a connection between students and the government that serves them on campus is essential to representing students accurately.
“I see my vision, I see my ideas, but I am straying away from the ‘I’ idea,” Ceja said. “I want to work on the ‘we’ community.”
Hosting biweekly open forums with students, deans of colleges and professors is one way Ceja plans to give students the opportunity to share their perspectives. He hopes the forums will help lessen the disconnect between the groups.
Ceja said the most important issue impacting students is the tuition hike, and he plans to work on creating new financial aid programs whether he wins or loses.
“We need to think more long term,” Ceja said. “The programs that we have today were not created in a day, were not created in a year, they were created in past generations.”
Ceja’s other priorities will be to address student homelessness and food insecurity.
Ceja was introduced to ASI spring of 2015 when he began his internship with Project Connect. From there, Ceja went on to become the program coordinator in their book loan branch. Ceja, currently in his fourth year, is now Project Connect’s assistant director, although he has not held any previous positions in ASI.
He believes that being president is the best way to achieve his goal of uniting students.
“I picked running for president because the president gets to work with everyone,” Ceja said.