BC student body elects Fowler as new president

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BC student body elects Fowler as new president

Marcus Castro

Clayton Fowler, the president-elect for the 2015-2016 academic year, finishes up his duty as SGA senator.

Elizabeth Castillo, Editor in Chief

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The Bakersfield College Student Government Association announced the winners of the 2015 general election, and Clayton Fowler will serve as president of the SGA.

Fowler won the election by receiving 183 of the 595 total votes casted. According to Megan Lonsinger, an SGA senator and member of the Elections Commission, voter turnout was underwhelming.

“Turnout was lower than expected,” she said. “Three percent of BC voted, but that’s normal.”

As of fall of 2014, there are approximately 19,143 undergrads at BC and only 595 students voted. The total voter turnout was 3.11 percent. Although turnout wasn’t high, the race for the president-elect was close. Fowler received 183 votes, and runner-up Colton Nichelson received 177 of the votes as well. The vice president-elect position came between Janell Orozco and Sahar Forouzanfar with Orozco winning the position by 23 votes. Chad Hidalgo ran unopposed for the director of student organizations position.

Although elected positions have been decided, SGA has applications still available for appointed positions. The student body does not vote on these positions, but students running for appointed spots should still engage with students, according to Lonsinger. Applications are available at bcstudentlife.wufoo.com/forms/bcsga-appointed-position-application/

The winners were announced at a reception in the Fireside room on April 16. Fowler gave a short speech on his win, and Orozco did not attend. Fowler has been involved previously with SGA and hopes to utilize his past experience in his new executive position.

“This past year I’ve been really immersed in what it takes, being one of the more involved senators has really prepared me for the role,” he said.

Fowler, 20, is finishing up his service as the Allied Health and Fire Technology senator. He said that when he joined SGA, it was important to him to make improvements to the SGA’s constitution. He found it unsettling that there were no checks and balances within SGA and wanted the constitution to resemble the U.S. constitution.

“I really saw a lot of problems with how SGA was being run,” he said. “If someone was having a problem with someone else, they could just impeach them.”

While there was originally little oversight in the old SGA constitution, Fowler said that constitution changes include a three-branch system composed of the executive, legislative and judicial review branch, similar to the U.S. constitution. According to Fowler, both BC President Sonya Christian and vice president of student affairs Zav Dadabhoy encouraged the changes of the SGA constitution.

Fowler is also keenly aware of issues important to the BC student body. He said that SGA began working on a smoke-free campus but experienced a lot of negative feedback with the decision. After further polling on the issue, Fowler believes that students are split on the issue pretty evenly, but ultimately he wants all students to have a say on a final decision.

“I want to make sure it’s something that all the students weigh in on,” he said. “Let everyone’s voice be heard.”

Another issue that Fowler hopes to handle is student apathy toward SGA. He said that he wants to create a more community-like feel at BC via school pride. He wants students to be aware of SGA and utilize the association as a resource.

“Students didn’t really know about SGA,” he said. “I really didn’t like that. Students should know who we are and to be able to come to us.”

A few more initiatives Fowler hopes to bring on campus include utilizing a BC alumni network more effectively for internship and volunteer opportunities and creating a student life app. He also hopes to bring a farmer’s market to campus.

“It’s something that SGA has talked a lot about lately, but no one is really pushing for,” he said. “With ag being important to Kern County, [a farmer’s market] just makes sense to have.”

Fowler was originally a fire technology major, but said he’s always had a passion for history and politics. Now, he is leaning more toward politics by majoring in political science with an emphasis in domestic policy. Although Fowler has a hefty list of initiatives he hopes to implement during his term, he is also confident regarding the rest of the executive board and the senators elected to serve next year alongside him.

“I can’t wait to start working for the students,” he said. “This is going to be a great year and a great team. We’re all really excited to get going.”

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