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Dex Coen Gilbert '21 (left) and Evan Moon '21 (right)

Third Time’s the Charm: Students’ Council Finally Gets Members

Following the third election in five months, students elected Dex Coen Gilbert ’21 and Evan Moon ’21 as Students’ Council Co-Presidents. The pair had been serving as interim Co-Presidents since last June when they won a majority of votes in the regularly-scheduled Students’ Council elections. However, they could not officially take up the roles because quorum—set at 40% of the student body for contested elections—was not reached.

In the months after the failed June election, a series of interpersonal and institutional failures exposed the weaknesses in Haverford’s election processes. The Students’ Constitution, in particular, proved lacking: if a Students’ Council election falls short of quorum, Section 5.07(c)(v) of the Constitution requires only that the election be rerun at some point in the future. As such, Elections Coordinator Asher Porphy ’23 chose to wait until the fall to hold a new election.

With Students’ Council in a state of limbo, Coen Gilbert and Moon stepped into the role of unelected interim Co-Presidents, a position that does not exist in the Constitution—a bending of the rules that no one seemed to mind, given the need to run StuCo over the summer to prepare for the fall semester.

By the time September rolled around, however, Porphy’s term as Elections Coordinator was technically over. Yet without anybody to replace him, he went forward with running the second election. Unfortunately, Haverford students failed to reach quorum yet again.

With Porphy’s term lapsed and the path forward for filling the seats on Students’ Council unclear, the interim Co-Presidents decided to appoint Nick Lasinsky ’23, the Students’ Council Librarian, as interim Election Coordinator to manage the next round of elections.

But the news of this appointment must not have made its way to everyone. In late September, Porphy sent an email to the student body, announcing that he had scheduled a third election. Because his term had expired, Lasinsky reached out to Porphy to postpone the election, but was unable to get a hold of him prior to the poll going live on Haverford Engage.

In the end, with the help of several reminder emails, Porphy announced on October 4 that the third election had hit quorum, finally making Coen Gilbert and Moon’s position official.

Despite the electoral comedy of errors, Coen Gilbert and Moon had a productive, if low-key, tenure as interim Co-Presidents. The pair had to shoulder much of the usual responsibilities of the position; recently, that included taking a large role in planning the college’s COVID response for the fall and spring semesters.

Over the summer, they met biweekly with the Campus Life Operations Committee, where they acted as a voice for students. “We represent student voices and provide feedback on plans based on what the student body’s primary concerns are,” said Coen Gilbert and Moon, via a joint statement to The Clerk. They thought that their interim status didn’t have much effect on this role: “We have worked as a channel for student voices, but not necessarily as a position of power, we haven’t felt that the interim status has limited us in the work of COVID planning.”

Once they were formally elected, the Co-Presidents wasted no time in working with Lasinsky to fill the rest of Students’ Council. (These positions are normally chosen in the spring alongside the Co-Presidents.) Fortunately, the down-ballot elections hit quorum in just one attempt, with results announced on October 11:

Co-Vice Presidents: Margaret Chen ’21 and Katie Chung ’21
Officer of Academics: Fiona Kegler ’21
Officer of the Arts: Lyvia Yan ’23
Officer of Athletics: Jessica Lopez ’21
Officer of Campus Life: Erin Martin ’23
Representative of International Students: Kimberly Aguero ’22
First-Year Representative: Lukas Austin ’24
Sophomore Representative: Vic Brown ’23
Junior Representative: Stephen Flanders ’22
Senior Representative: Isabel Clements ’21

Coen Gilbert and Moon had been working around a Students’ Council with no acting members for much of the fall, rendering them unable to dedicate time to planning Fall Plenary. With the support of a full Council, however, those efforts are now underway.

Even after all this, Students’ Council is still not quite complete: no one ran for the positions of Co-Secretaries and the Officer of Multiculturalism, so they remain empty for the time being. A second nomination process for those roles, a pair of Community Outreach Multicultural Liaisons for Honor Council, and JSAAPP co-heads, followed by another election, is still to come.

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