The Association of Amherst Students (AAS) announced the results of the 2021-2022 AAS Executive Board (E-Board) election on April 18 at 12 a.m. EST. Presidential candidate Angelina Han ’22 came out on top with 64 percent of the vote. Basma Azzamok ’22, the Vice President elect and Jae Yun Ham ’22, the Treasurer elect, took 58 percent and 52 percent of the vote, respectively. Secretary candidate Lucas Romualdo ’24 and Judiciary Council Chair candidate Jasper Liles ’23, who both ran unopposed, collected 90 percent of the votes. Forty-two percent of the student body, 582 students, voted online for the E-Board election, which was the first to use ranked choice voting. Click here for further information on the election breakdown.

After they had received the news that they won their respective E-Board positions, The Student sat down with the winning candidates to discuss their reactions and plans for their time in office.

<strong>President: Angelina Han ’22</strong>

Q: When did you find out that you had won? What was your immediate reaction? How did you feel?

A: I actually didn't know [that I had won] until my friends had called me at 12 a.m. on Sunday. I was still trying to load the results when I got the call and put the pieces together. It felt completely surreal, and I had to keep refreshing the page to make sure I wasn't being pranked. 

I'm just so excited to get started! I have felt so supported during this campaign and I plan to work hard to make sure [students] know that [their] support was well-placed. 

Q: What was a recurring theme throughout your presidential campaign?

A: While running for president, a recurring theme was a need for accountability. How can we continue to push for the college to make changes and hold them responsible for their words and (in)actions, when the AAS is not doing the work to reflect themselves? There are a lot of practices [that the] AAS takes as given, and we need to start critically reviewing what we do as a governing body to make sure we actually work for our community without creating harm.

Q: What were some core principles of your platform that you believe spoke to the Amherst community?

A: My platform focused on diversity and sustainability. These are pressing matters that need to be addressed now — we cannot stay passive on these issues.

Q: Now that you have won, what do you plan to do first? During your time in office, what other initiatives would you like to accomplish?

A: I plan to first work with the [AAS] Senate and other campus partners to implement a process that will allow community members to submit complaints and hold AAS senators [and] E-Board members accountable for our actions [and] words that may go beyond the scope of our Constitution. 

While in office, working with other campus leaders and the Five Colleges, I hope to continue to further the #ReclaimAmherst demands by working towards disarming ACPD [the Amherst College Police Department], establishing Amherst Acts as an annual campaign and publishing diversity data. I also want to establish a Five College Fund for Indigenous people in acknowledgement of the violent taking of the lands our colleges stand on today and expand the composting system at school.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say to the Amherst community?

I sincerely thank everyone for voting! Please continue to stay engaged with AAS. [I] hope you will reach out with ideas and or concerns so that we can all work towards a better community for us and future students. 

<strong>Vice President: Basma Azzamok ’22</strong>

Q: When did you find out that you had won? What was your immediate reaction? How did you feel?

A: I was in my room, on my phone, when I found out that I won. I remember just staring at the results page, trying to take it in. It was definitely a surreal moment!

Q: What was one thing that you learned from running for vice president?

A: The most significant thing that I [have] learned from running for Vice President is that Amherst students want representatives that truly support and understand them and their needs.

Q: What are some core principles of your platform that you believe spoke to the Amherst community?

A: One of the core principles of my platform was accountability. Over my two years in the [AAS] Senate, I remember feeling frustrated during several instances where I felt as though Senators were not being held accountable for their actions or statements. I firmly believe that all elected officials in AAS need to be held accountable by their constituents, and that is something that resonates with the Amherst community as well.

Q: Now that you have won, what do you plan to do first and what  other goals would you like to accomplish?

A: The first thing I plan to do is implement community standards that outline how Senators should [conduct themselves] on the floor. These will ensure that [members of] the AAS are conducting business effectively while remaining respectful of their peers and constituents. I also want to support the creation of caucuses in the Senate for minority identities. This will ensure that those [minority] communities have their voices heard and [are] directly represented. Additionally, I want to create more direct avenues for students to interact with the Senate beyond public comment — and that will look like town halls and fun events in the Powerhouse hosted by the AAS.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say to the Amherst community?

A: I want to thank everyone for coming out to vote and for their support. This upcoming year will be amazing, and I look forward to all the great things that this E-Board will accomplish!

<strong>Treasurer: Jae Yun Ham ’22</strong>

Q: When did you find out that you had won? What was your immediate reaction? How did you feel?

A: I was honored [when I found] out that I had won and [was] happy that a majority of the voters decided to put their trust in me as [next year’s] Treasurer. I found out a few minutes after [the] votes had been released through the school-wide AAS email. It was a close election between myself and Senator [Sydney] Ireland [’23], and while I felt pleased with the outcome, I knew that the position would have gone to a qualified candidate regardless of who had [won]. 

Q: What was one thing that you learned from running for treasurer?

A: I think the most important thing in all AAS-related elections is the importance of positive messaging. While there are issues that are involved in all facets of AAS, including the Budgetary Committee, I think that having an exciting message and platform that revolves around changing the system is important and helps to engage the student body in effecting change in AAS.

Q: What were some core principles of your platform that you believe spoke to the Amherst community?

A: I think the most important principle of my platform was my focus on the FLI [First Generation Low-Income] community. I actually decided to run after some unacceptable comments were made in an AAS meeting that made FLI students uncomfortable and unwelcomed on our campus. In the past three years that I have been at Amherst, I have not worked with an openly FLI treasurer, and as a FLI person of color, I think it's critical to have someone with that background working in this position. I also campaigned on having more transparent precedents published publicly and a commitment to work with organizations with denied funding requests to get them funding from other avenues. Lastly, I affirmed my strong commitment to the #ReclaimAmherst campaign that AAS has been supporting over the past year. 

Q: Now that you have won, what do you plan to do first? During your time in office what other initiatives would you like to accomplish?

A: I want to start with two things once I've been sworn in. The first is getting a new Budgetary Committee (BC) together under a new Senate and restarting the club budgets process for the Fall 2021 semester. Due to Covid-19, we haven't had club budget representatives in a year and I think that that has contributed to inequitable access across clubs to BC funding. 

Making sure that each club understands the funding rules is so important to the way our BC functions. The next thing that I would do is to work with our minute-taker on BC to ensure that our minutes are accurate and accessible through a closed captioning program. Those are just two things that we can start from day one! Throughout the year, I want to keep my campaign promises as well by publishing our precedents, reviewing our funding policies, and also expanding our master general budget to include things demanded in the #ReclaimAmherst campaign. 

Q:  Is there anything else you would like to say to the Amherst community?

A: I just want to thank the community for their support, and want to state explicitly that FLI students and students of color will be first and foremost on my agenda as treasurer. It has truly been an honor to work on AAS for the past three years, and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to serve as treasurer for my last year here at Amherst.

<strong>Secretary: Lucas Romualdo ’24</strong>

Q:  When did you find out that you had won? What was your immediate reaction? How did you feel?

A: I saw the results when they came out — I was grateful that my candidacy received the support of the student body and looking forward to getting to work.

Q: What was one thing that you learned from running for Secretary?

A: On the morning before speech night, when the candidate statements for the E-Board positions were published, nobody was running for secretary. That moment, when I decided to run, really showed me, as an AAS senator, the importance of stepping up to fill the roles that are needed.

Q: What were some core principles of your platform that you believe spoke to the Amherst community?

A: There seems to be a lot of concern among the student body about understanding how AAS works, especially when it comes to the budgetary allocation process. As Secretary, I am going to work to make our policies and processes more transparent to make it easier for students to engage with their elected representatives. 

Q: Now that you have won, what do you plan to do first? During your time in office what other initiatives would you like to accomplish?

A: My main goals are centered around transparency and  action. For transparency, I will work to make our budgetary policies and processes better publicized and make sure that students can easily access AAS forums to communicate with their senators. Meanwhile, I plan to improve accountability for senators by making clearer plans and deadlines for AAS projects, to ensure that we are making real progress on our goals.

<strong>Judiciary Council Chair: Jasper Liles ’23</strong>

Q: When did you find out that you had won? What was your immediate reaction? How did you feel?

Since I was running unopposed, I was pretty sure I was going to be elected. That being said, it still felt fantastic when I saw my name next to the other elected candidates.  Because of my previous relationships with some of the candidates or just the way they all handled Speech Night, it felt great to be a part of that group. 

Q: What was one thing you learned from running for Judiciary Council Chair?

My biggest takeaway from the election process was the significance of being passionate. I was affected by the conviction I heard in the voices of other candidates during Speech Night, and I hope I conveyed my passion about the JC [Judiciary Council] as well as they did about the respective positions they were running for. Also, a two-minute speech is a lot shorter than I thought it was! 

Q: What were some core principles of your platform that you believe spoke to the Amherst Community?

I ran on the principle that the JC could [help] students more than it has in the past and [am looking to expand] the resources of AAS to a broad audience. I also think my idea of a more informal, outward-focused part of AAS spoke to the community. 

Q: Now that you have won, what do you plan to do first? Throughout your time in office what other initiatives would you like to accomplish?

My first move is going to be to strengthen the relationships that [make up] the JC. One of the most unique things about our branch of AAS is that it’s relatively small: It’s just me and eight JC members. I see this as a massive strength, and because the JC has been less active in the past, I think working together and bonding will help [to] convince us all that we can use our power to make an impact that ultimately will make Amherst a more just place. 

I don’t have an extremely concrete course of action because I want to make the JC a communal space where everyone’s ideas are valued equally, and I will be only a small part of that. However, right now I know that I want us to publicize our power so that students can take advantage of the resources we provide in situations where we could help, because right now that’s not happening as much as it could be. I also want to institute a much more rigorous Constitutional review [and] amendment process, and I’m very thankful that my predecessor, Sterling Kee [’23], has done a great job at getting the ball rolling on this work. 

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say to the Amherst community?

The JC is an amazing and underutilized resource! Come to us with any questions or complaints, and we’ll do everything in our power to address them. If we can’t help you, the JC members and myself have experience navigating AAS and admin spaces and we can point you in the right direction. Ultimately, I plan to make the JC a space where no one feels intimidated. Feel free to shoot me an email about anything if you think I might be of help!

AUTHOR

Sophie Wolmer read more

Sophie is a Managing News Editor for the Amherst Student. She is double-majoring in Neuroscience and Philosophy, and considering a third major in Chemistry. Sophie is in the graduating class of 2023 and is on the Pre-Med track. When Sophie is not writing for the Student, she is running for the Amherst Varsity Cross Country and Track Teams or volunteering as a part of the college's EMS squad. Sophie is an NCAA All-American Track and Field athlete. She also loves dogs, Valentine Dining Hall's gluten free muffins and Stephen King novels.