Jarmaine Santos officially won the election for the 2020-2021 Highline ASHC president.
The Associated Students of Highline College (ASHC) is Highline’s student government.
This year, Highline had two candidates running for the president position. Jarmaine Santos and Hector Pina. Santos got 40 out of 67 votes cast.
Thomas Bui is the director of the Center for Leadership and Service at Highline.
“ASHC publicized the event through email to all students, Facebook, and Instagram posts,” Bui said. “Our team did our best to provide notice with the limited opportunities we had.”
This year’s elections are different than other elections in the past because Highline has gone virtual for Spring Quarter.
“Due to the pandemic that we are experiencing during this time, many challenges and barriers exist to elections that our team has had to work around to provide support to our elections process this year,” Bui said. “Ways we tried to create engagement new to this year’s process was reaching out to all students to submit questions to candidates.”
Bui said that the ASHC team reached out to students multiple times over the span of the last month, noting that ASHC would have visited classrooms on campus to campaign if it weren’t for the lockdown.
“With campus closed many of the communication and methods of campaigning that would be in place all shifted to virtual platforms like email and social media,” Bui said. “This can be difficult for many students in our community who do not have stable access to internet.”
Although the pandemic has made it more difficult to reach students virtually, the ASHC team communicated with students offering answers to their questions. They also campaigned with emails containing reminders, election timeline, candidate release, and more.
“Our student community had a week to provide questions, and the candidates had a week to respond,” Bui said. “This allowed our whole community to have the opportunity to submit questions whereas in years prior they would of need to be in attendance of a forum.”
Some of the struggles that came with the virtual campaigning caused the ASHC team to think weigh the option of pursuing the election in the fall instead.
“Ultimately, while we knew we would face many challenges holding an election during a pandemic, we also know it would have created a larger impact waiting until fall,” Bui said. “Summer is when student government does a great deal of training to be ready to serve our student community when our academic year starts.”
Bui said that this upcoming year is an accreditation year at Highline, which is a main reason why ASHC could not postpone the election until the fall. “ASHC holds an integral role in the process and will need to be ready by the start of the year to speak to accreditors.”
Even though the position for vice president of ASHC was supposed to be open as well, they did not receive applicants and that election might be pushed until the fall if Highline students do not show interest.