Pitzer Senate Presidential Debate: Rough Notes

Miller Saltzman



  • Vice President Josue Pasillas
  • Secretary Elija Pantoja


  • President Andrew Lydens


  • 16 people attended at the beginning

Below are notes I took from the debate. Keep in mind not everything the candidates said is noted here:


  • First generation
  • Stand up for students, not exclusive
  • Need committed leader
  • Advocate for students
  • Focus on:
    • campus climate
    • priorities as institution
    • listen to students


  • Talked about his parents here (mom went to Pomona, dad went to CGU)
  • 5Cs have made little headway since his parents were here
  • He’s been part of this community for 10 years
  • Want to take a the college in a new direction


  • Josue: new agenda with new president
    • maintain current academic spaces
    • change priorities with new president of the college
  • Elijah: focus on current issues

Including faculty/staff

  • Elijah: faculty staff should come on first year orientation adventures
    • should be more present during first weeks of school
  • Josue: collaborate with staff and faculty
    • events
    • recognize them
    • at college council they get things done

How to improve low voter turn out

  • Josue: Senate lacks in outreach to clubs
    • needs to reach out to orgs
  • Elijah: develop relationship between students and senate
    • students need to respect senate
    • there needs to be transparency

Are there potential new resolutions that are hindered by precedence

  • Elijah: affinity group funding
    • per member basis for affinity groups
  • Josue: senate funding is bad
    • need more representation on committees (more voting members)
    • increase diversity in faculty and staff

How to increase accessibility

  • Josue: senate doesn’t reach out to minority groups to increase diversity of senate
    • “Communication is worst I’ve ever seen since I’ve been here. Senators don’t even know what’s going on.”
    • marginalized groups need to join senate
    • better training at retreat
  • Elijah: senators are political studies or economics majors, we need to get people from other majors to join too
    • pass resolutions that actually matter

Leading senate vs. executive board

  • Elijah: natural social skills, enjoys being around other people
    • talks to wide variety of people
  • Josue: all about collaboration
    • president needs to collaborate with senate
    • he is the only person on executive board that works with other senators to write resolutions

Greatest fear that can be prevented in next 5 years

  • Josue: concerned that Pitzer will cost more
    • put a freeze on tuition
    • we don’t need an increase every year
    • we don’t need new buildings/land
  • Elijah: tuition is an issue, can’t be solved in 5 years by students
    • focus on divisiveness
    • changing Student Voice Week to create dialogue between community
    • implement program for new students around micro-aggressions and privilege
    • help students with marginalized backgrounds

Would you like the power of the president to be increased or decreased or stay the same?

  • Elijah: same
    • it’s who you vote for that matters
  • Josue: doesn’t have much power
    • limitations

Should there be quotas for underrepresented students on senate?

  • Josue: outreach to affinity groups
    • senate should be over 45% students of color or first generation
    • students of color should be on every committee
  • Elijah: no quotas
    • diversity should match or surpass population
    • outreach

Relationship with new Pitzer president

  • Elijah: monthly meetings
    • discuss relationship with students, issues on campus
  • Josue: mandatory meetings every month with president and cabinet
    • whole exec board should meet with president in order to get stuff done

View on resolution to ban smoking on Pitzer’s campus

  • Josue: against it
    • already have a rule in place (25 feet away from buildings)
    • it won’t be enforced
    • use RAs to enforce it
  • Elijah: no preference

View on Pitzer funding for TSL

  • Josue: Pitzer gets publicity in TSL
    • Pitzer underfunds them
    • we need a section in TSL
  • Elijah: they will cover Pitzer regardless of funding
    • We should fund The Peel—it’s Pitzer’s newspaper
    • TSL is Pomona’s newspaper with 2 billion in endowment

What resolutions will you instate that matter and how?

  • Josue: student body should be part of the conversation to see what the issues are
    • 1) make intro to Pitzer more educational
      • learn about alcohol in better way, sexual assault
    • Elijah: 5 point platform
      • create diversity: bring action to that, introduce resolutions
      • new outlet for affinity groups
      • bylaws
      • tenure track faculty: more students involved

View on Pitzer underfunding 5C organizations

  • Elijah: funds should stay at Pitzer—we’re young, low endowment, already spent a lot of money
  • Josue: Pitzer students are deeply involved in 5C organizations
    • we need to support students (on TSL, IDEAS)
    • on-campus festivals don’t need to be funded (Kohoutek, etc.)
      • advancement isn’t funding Kohoutek but using it for alumni advancement
    • build relationship with other offices, get funding from other offices
    • there’s money out there

View on affinity groups

  • Elijah: affinity groups will present solution to senate that they’re comfortable with (LSU, BSU, APAC)
    • definition is difficult with consensus of affinity groups
    • funded by student senate
      • $60,000 reserve in senate, college’s budget is tight
    • funding is not there: Pitzer doesn’t have extra money lying around
  • Josue: ask institution to do more—spaces, funding
    • Funding is there: needs to be reallocated

Constitution (heated disagreement)

  • Josue: students never saw it
    • executive board failed, closed doors
    • didn’t support framework
    • opposed at first
      • can we release this? they said no
    • Elijah: he apologized for not reaching out to students about their feelings about the constitution
      • didn’t want to tokenize students to speak out for all students
      • we should all be at fault for this constitution

If people running for executive board don’t get along, how are we going to get things done next year?

  • Josue: collaboration
    • no one has collaborated, we needed to replace people who wouldn’t collaborate on executive board this year
    • he will stay neutral in this race and not support other candidates
  • Elijah: it’s okay to have disagreements
    • put issues aside to work on helping student body
    • healthy to argue and disagree


  • Josue: he said he stood up against the constitution not being shown to students
    • senate meetings need to be more town hall style than structured around Robert’s Rules of order
    • not done much so far for student body
    • bring back student voice to senate
  • Elijah: my past experience with disadvantage groups has spoken for itself
    • helped author Latinx list of demands
    • Refering to Josue: “He’s a Bernie supporter but he’s playing his politics like Hillary.”
    • Josue opposed constitution publically, but not privately

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