Lack of participation at ASDVC election forum


Chi Lo speaks at the ASDVC election forum on Oct. 8 at the first session. (Isabel Villalobos/The Inquirer)

Emma Hall, Assistant Editor

The Associated Students of Diablo Valley College set up their open forum for upcoming election candidates on Oct. 8, however, despite the entry of fifteen candidates on the electoral ballot, only six actually spoke.

The forum was optional for candidates, where two open sessions for students were held. The first one was at 12:45 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. followed by the second one at 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the commons. The candidates who spoke at the forum were Geraldo “Panda” De La Torre, Michael Gatos, Chi Lo, John Michaelson, Sharita Snagg, and Yifen Zhang.

“It’s Columbus Day, the elementary and high schools are closed, no one is on the freeway, but I knew that going into this,” said Snagg. “It’s okay though, you keep going and you press harder even more so.”

The coalition for hope and change were at a separate table during the forum. The hope and change coalition primarily aims to solve issues with parking on campus according to Jia Fei “Martin” Zhang, a candidate for vice president of legislative affairs. Coalition members were handing out flyers to students passing by in the commons.

Shiyuan “Isaac” Zhang, one of the presidential nominees and coalition members, said that they did not participate in the forum because they were doing homework. Isaac Zhang also said that they had class during or after both forum sessions. Some members also added that they had trouble with public speaking.

Overall, there was a strong sense of division between the coalition of hope and change and the rest of ASDVC throughout the day.

“Community is supposed to come together and work together,” said Snagg during the forum. “We have candidates who are outside, and we’re supposed to be together as a group, even if I don’t win or if they don’t win, we’re still apart of ASDVC, we still have to work together.”

The audience attendance was also low with only three to five students during the first session and seven to eight students during the second session. While the audience was small, attendees were actual listeners.

“As a student, I believe my voice should be heard,” said Nahla Harara, one of the student attendees. “If I need anything I can talk to them (ASDVC) and have my voice heard. It’s sad that there are not many people attending this forum today, don’t they want their voices to be heard?”

Although there was a minimal presence at the forum, the candidates still strongly advocated for their goals as nominees. Both sessions of the forum were 20 to 30 minutes long and candidates had through answers to the questions given by the election committee moderator.

Despite this, there was still a sense of a low turnout on the side of candidates and audience members.

“I think this is happening because we didn’t have an exact board set up for this event,” said Lo. “The only people who were responsible for putting this together was the election committee and Todd (the head of the student life office).”

Lo also added that due to the unusual circumstances of having an election in the fall semester, rather than the usual spring semester, could have resulted in low attendance and exposure to the event.

Last spring semester, the ASDVC election was nullified after several incidents of a coalition violating the ASDVC election codes and rules.

Overall, the first forum session ended a half hour early, but the election candidates present still remain hopeful.

“It’s not about those who aren’t here,” said Lo. “It’s about those who are here.”

For more information on the election candidates and the voting schedule, visit