Student Council candidate platforms

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Hunter Bandy ’07
As the Educational Policy Representative, I will urge the Curriculum Committee to devise a long-term plan for building and sustaining an Arabic language program under the Modern Languages and Literatures department. The growing number of Tri-Co students who must commute to Penn to take upper level Arabic classes and those who study abroad in Arabic-speaking countries indicate the necessity for departmental expansion. With the recent hirings of Middle-East specialists in the Political Science and History departments and an Andrew W. Mellon grant awarded to the college to build its Islamic Studies program, the college must recognize the immediate need to expand its current 2-year Arabic program into a fully funded 4-year program. Adequate Arabic comprehension among students helps to generate more qualified perspectives on the Middle East. The Curriculum Committee also needs to reexamine the current faculty review processes, and possibly even standardize these processes across all departments. I would also like to devise a more thorough course review forum available to students online. Finally, since many students are unaware of departmental plans concerning future expansion and course developments, another of my goals is to make educational policy and curriculum decisions more transparent to the student body. These were my goals when I ran for this office last spring; I still feel that I can achieve them. Also, I will NOT be going abroad or taking the spring semester off, so a vote for me is a vote for not having another special election before the general election.

Michael Cohen ’05
Why am I running for Educational Policy Representative? For one, I really would like to have some input on educational policy issues. Swarthmore’s intellectual environment is the thing that makes us special, and even if there aren’t any major changes that need to be made, I would like to give input on improvements to the curriculum. I have already thought about educational policy issues a lot on my own, since I have often agonized over picking my own classes. From that, I have sometimes wondered whether policy changes would make it easier to find the best courses, and I have also noticed certain policies that aren’t necessarily the best. In addition, I have a variety of interests academically, primarily in biology, psychology, and history. This means that I am familiar with the curriculum in those and many other areas, and I think that would help me provide useful input on curriculum issues. Finally, I am very interested in the history of Swarthmore, and I think this also would help me fully understand what should be done to keep Swarthmore a leader in the academic world.

As for more concrete concerns, my most important goal as Educational Policy Representative would be to revive the Class Recommendation book. This is really a useful and important tool for class selection, and it should not have been allowed to stagnate the way it has.

Alex Ginsberg ’08
Brothers and Sisters of Swarthmore! I am Alex Ginsberg, a candidate for the position of Educational Policy Representative. I come to you with lots of fresh ideas and motivation to make your Academic life a little easier.

Over the last week, I have been talking to students, asking what I can do for them as Educational Policy Representative. The truth is, most students have no clue what I could do in that position, and that is a travesty.

Once elected, I hope to bring energy to this office by immersing myself in the needs of my fellow Swatties. As the Educational Policy Representative, I will fulfill my duty of attending Policy Council meetings and Curriculum meetings. But I will go beyond the call of duty by trying to bring about much needed reform. You’ve probably heard of the Class Recommendation Book, but it’s unlikely that you were able to use it with much success. One of my friends used a recommendation from that book, went to his first day expecting a “5 of 5” professor, and wind up in a hell-class. NO MORE! Over the next year I will ensure that every professor and class in that book is rated by at least 15 students. Furthermore, I believe that advisors should be rated as well, for a professor can be great in class and a bum in the office, and everyone deserves a competent advisor. With these and many other ideas, I know that I can add definition to the role of the Educational Policy Representative in your minds, because I will not rest until my goals, and yours, are achieved.

Please email if you have any questions to ask, issues to broach, or support to give.

Caitlin Hildebrand ’05
As Educational Policy representative I, Caitlin “Cat” Hildebrand would propose the following changes:

1) A recognition system that announced outstanding students each semester, based on a traditional Dean’s List/Honor Roll. This is particularly important for Course Majors who excel in their studies (all B+s or above for that particular semester) since they currently do not receive any recognition for honor-worthy work. Presence on these lists could be listed on a transcript, such as “Dean’s List Fall 2004.”

2) New CR/NC options.
A: Departments should allow students to take classes within their major, but not required by their major, for CR/NC, to allow them to learn more in their field withhold unnecessary effort.
B: If a student decides to change from CR/NC to letter grade, they should not lose that CR/NC option, but keep it for the future. They should not be penalized because they have chosen to apply more rigorous standards to themselves, and have excelled past their expectations.
C: When a student has declared a course for a letter grade, they should be able to change it to CR/NC up until three-quarters of the way through the semester. This ensures that when a student finds themselves over-burdened by work they do not jeopardize their academic standing.

3) Create a direct complaint form that allows students to report a problem student to a professor in a systematic way. For example, if a student is disturbing class-flow by monopolizing discussion time, a classmate can log a complaint with the professor, who than can then take action (perhaps discuss sharing comment-time with the whole class) if they deem it necessary. Currently, many students feel they are powerless against such students, even though this can greatly disturb the classroom atmosphere.

4) Create a course option within most majors which gives students work-study credit or Practicum credit. For example, Economics majors who are interested in banking can not currently receive academic credit for working in their field, despite the fact that it is directly related to their major, and would enhance their understanding of real-world application.

Thank you!

Rasa Petrauskaite ’08
Rasa P.
For SC

I would like to contribute to Swat as a whole by providing for more interaction between the students and the student council. This interaction ensures that the student council deals with the issues that are important to the students.

I am running for the educational policy representative of the Swat student council so that I can create an interactive web-page where Swat students can write comments to the student council about any campus issues and where each month the student council posts simple multiple-choice questions addressing each issue mentioned by the students on the web-page. Here is an example of such a question:

What is your opinion of the student 20 meal plan?

a) I am satisfied with it the way it is.
b) Students should be allowed to enter Sharples multiple times within the same
meal period/time frame, if they do not enter during another time frame.
c) Other. Comments:

I am really excited about helping the student council become more organized and interactive with students. I think that getting feedback from students is important for the council in its mission to help students. Finding out what is important to them and doing something about it are integral to the mission of the student government.

The education policy representative post ties in with this initiative because this web-page would allow students to communicate their remarks and suggestions regarding academics directly to the student council. Then, as an education policy representative, I would communicate these concerns and suggestions to the academic departments of Swat.

I think that I would end up being the person creating this web-page and doing all the reading and writing on it, which is great! I would be really excited to do this. I see that this would require a great amount of work and dedication. All I can promise is that if I were to be elected for this post, I would put in all the work and dedication necessary to achieve my stated goals and fulfill my responsibilities as a student council member.

If you have any questions or suggestions, I would love to hear from you! My email is rpetrau1, room extension is 3340, and cell phone number is (650) 863-1505.

This information can also be found at

Thanks for your attention, and I hope that you will vote for me in this election.

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