Concern surfaces at ill attended ASDVC forum


The ASDVC forum took place in the commons on Monday, April 15. (The Inquirer file photo).

Pavlina Markova, Staff member

As plans changed last-minute, a candidate forum to-be, became an open-microphone forum and the involvement of students in the election process suffered.

Associated Students of Diablo Valley College were supposed to hold a candidate forum Monday, April 15 to promote their campaigns and the election. However, the candidate forum was switched to an open mic and the quad was more empty than usual while candidates tried their best to turn DVC students’ attention towards the election.

“They switched the candidate forum to open mic so… nobody showed up,” said Yuvia Mendoza, who is running for president.

ASDVC members advocated not only for themselves but for the elections, too, as they handed out flyers and, sometimes, even candy to get more students to go cast their votes and so “make their voices heard,” as Michael Gaetos, current Vice President of Executive Affairs said.

“I’m not campaigning for myself, I’m campaigning for the election,” said Jiacheng Howard Li, running for the post of Controller.

Gaetos wasn’t surprised by the turnout.

“It’s always been historically low,” he said. However, he would like to see more students getting involved and heading to the polls to cast their votes.

Last semester, the turn out for the previous candidate forum was also significantly low.

However, Gaetos hopes that the number of voters will be higher this year than the previous years, and he said that so far, the turnout seemed to be a “good number.”

Gaetos had overall a positive outlook on the event, not only because he expects the number of voters to be higher this year but because he liked how the candidates advocated for themselves.

“It’s really nice to see all the candidates here running. … (It) gives me great confidence in ASDVC,” he said.

His hopes for higher voter turnout were partly supported by John Michaelson, the current Controller who is running for the post of the Director of Activities.

“It’s probably gonna be the same as usual, might be slightly higher. But I think there’s not gonna be more than 700 (voters),” said Michaelson.

However, Michaelson was worried about security during the event, saying that it wasn’t that good in the past years.

“I hope the security is doing better. (But) I don’t have that much confidence,” he said. Michaelson stated he is concerned that there might be violation reports, mainly about people casting more than one vote per person.

The lack of student interest didn’t go unnoticed by the students themselves, however, their opinions on the situation differed fundamentally. While the almost empty quad was disconcerting to some, many more expressed and even explained their indifference to the elections.

“Who the (expletive) cares about (expletive) student government in a college?” said Sean Alexander, one of the DVC students who passed by the candidates promoting themselves. According to him, students at community colleges are “just trying to get out of here as soon as possible,” and that is why there’s such a lack of desire to get involved.

The opinion that students don’t care enough was a widely spread one. Wentao Leon Zheng, who is running for the post of Director of Public Relations, said that the problem lies in the relationship between students and the college.

“(The students) don’t have a strong relationship with the (college),” said Zheng.

Yifan Zhang, who is running for the post of Vice President of Executive Affairs, said that he partly understood why the situation turned out to be the way it was.

“We can’t expect people to go out of their way to vote for (us),” said Zhang.

However, members of the student government would like to see more students coming to the polls to choose their representatives.

“Your voice matters,” said Jiacheng Howard Li when he got hold of the microphone.

Students will have one last chance to go cast their votes Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the cafeteria. The results will then be announced on Thursday.