112 students voted for unopposed candidates in Exec Cab election

Madisyn Morin, Reporter

Just over 100 California Lutheran University students voted in unopposed candidates for Associated Students California Lutheran University Government’s (ASCLUG) 2021-2022 executive cabinet. 

According to a March 3 ASCLUG press release, Josh Gatison, who ran unopposed, was reelected president with 94.64% of the vote. Junior Senator David Bryant, who also ran unopposed, was elected Senate director with 94.64% of the vote and Melody Wachtel was elected Programs Board director as a write-in candidate with a majority of the write-in vote.

Only 112 students voted in this year’s election, conducted via BlackBoard March 2-3. This is down from the 570 students who voted in 2020, according to an ASCLUG press release from March 5, 2020.

Melody Wachtel, junior and ASCLU Programs Board director-elect, said in a Zoom interview that her new position will consist of overseeing the Programs Board while working side by side with ASCLUG President Josh Gatison.

Wachtel said her role will include being a leader for representatives on Programs Board–the event-planning arm of student government. Wachtel said participating in her high school’s student government was what first motivated her to join ASCLUG.

“Being able to take a stronger leadership role I thought would be a really good opportunity for me, and I love the board that I’ve been working with,” Wachtel said.

Wachtel said the Programs Board director and other members of the executive cabinet meet and go through “transition meetings,” so incoming leaders “have the tools and information we need to know to fit us into this new position and get us more acclimated.”

Alyssa Frausto, senior and current Programs Board director, said in a Zoom interview that there was a lot of “trial and error” within Programs Board when COVID-19 hit. They had to pivot and come up with events that could be held virtually or–for the select few that were on campus–that could be socially distanced.

“Last spring was our first virtual transition ever,” Frausto said. 

Looking ahead to the 2021-2022 school year, Frausto said it will be important for the incoming board members to learn from this year’s unprecedented times. She also said how proud she is of the other Programs Board members for all they have done this past school year to push forward.

David Bryant, junior and Senate director-elect, said in a phone interview that he will oversee the other Senate members that represent each class, plan meetings and help with Senate projects.

Bryant was previously a junior senator. He said next year he hopes ASCLUG can bring a more typical college experience to the students, who didn’t get one this school year.

“Bringing back a more normal college environment, to get people more involved,” Bryant said.

Josh Gatison, junior and the re-elected ASCLUG president, said in a phone interview that it was validating for him to be re-elected as president in terms of the work he has done and the direction he wants to go with ASCLUG.

“It was great to see the students supporting me in the election last year and then continuing to support me in the election this year,” Gatison said. “It inspires me to do even more work and to be an even better president.”

Gatison said he is looking forward to taking in students’ concerns, having more in-person events, and getting participation and attendance at events up next school year. He also said he wants to build a better community in person.

“That’s what I’m really looking forward to in the fall is just being able to see everybody, communicate in person and build that strong sense of community,” Gatison said.