New LUCC executives elected

Michael Schreiber

The results of the Lawrence University Community Council Executive Elections were confirmed by LUCC Jan. 26. Kaleesha Rajamantri was elected president with 246 votes, or 50.93 percent of the 483 ballots cast for the Office of President. The voter turnout represents an 80-percent increase from the previous year. Elizabeth Crean, who ran unopposed for the Office of Vice President, was elected with 408 votes. Rajamantri and Crean begin their terms in office March 2.
Outgoing LUCC President James Duncan-Welke had some wisdom to share with the new executives, having learned much from his time in office. Duncan-Welke also expressed his concern that a few works-in-progress of the current administration be completed under the new leadership.
One particularly important project is the constitutional reform package that LUCC has been working on for some time, Duncan-Welke said. The ambitious reform package reorganizes and modernizes the LUCC cabinet, converting the secretarial position responsible for correspondence to one that handles public affairs.
Duncan-Welke said the reform is necessary because “public affairs is our Achilles’ heel. … It’s not that we don’t do what we need to do, but no one knows we’re doing it.”
Another priority Duncan-Welke would like to see maintained is getting Lawrence staff represented on LUCC. Duncan-Welke pointed out that LUCC is a campus government, not a student government, and that Lawrence “treats staff like second-class citizens” by not giving staff members representation. According to Duncan-Welke, staff members who are a part of the Residence Life staff or Physical Plant are more likely than faculty to be affected by student-life issues.
Duncan-Welke’s advice largely consisted of urging the new LUCC executives to know their limits. Duncan-Welke said that, under him, LUCC “addressed most problems, but hasn’t been able to fix [all of] them.”
He added that LUCC will “make many mistakes and missopportunities, but these small gaffes don’t make an executive a failure.”
Duncan-Welke concluded that he has “reason to be proud of what has been accomplished” and that the incoming administration is “capable and well-suited” to continue making good progress with LUCC.
Rajamantri, who said she was happily surprised by her win, largely agrees with Duncan-Welke’s assessment of what LUCC should do in the future, but she also has some priorities of her own.
Rajamantri said that updating the constitution is still a “main priority,” as is granting staff representation on LUCC. She noted that residence life staff and other staff members have enough contact with students to “warrant staff suffrage.”
An economics major, Rajamantri is “very aware of how bad the economy is.” She would like to see Lawrence “go green as a method of cutting costs,” citing the fall-term date change as an example.
Should her LUCC presidency be ideally successful, Rajamantri said she will have “completely overcome Lawrence apathy, fostering a sense of school spirit.”
“We are a community of people who know each other,” Rajamantri added. “We should be able to do better.”
To facilitate student participation in campus activities and reduce apathy, Rajamantri realistically plans to increase the transparency of LUCC decisions, having open forums before committing to big decisions.
Rajamantri is eager to add new faces to LUCC as she embarks on her presidency.She urges students to contact her at any time by e-mail (kaleesha.a.rajamantri@lawrence.edu) or phone if they would like to become more involved or join a committee.

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