Senior Caucus: Katerina Corr and Ayala Sela
Issue 2, Volume 111
Having served as co-presidents of both Junior and Sophomore Caucus, the Corr-Sela ticket wields impressive Student Union (SU) experience. They have helped formulate successful initiatives during their time in caucus and have built positive relationships with the administration. That being said, they have fallen short of expectations in the past, especially in this new remote environment. As the new administration takes over, the Corr-Sela administration has missed too many chances to successfully connect with the senior class.
Corr-Sela hit all the check marks for a successful campaign: an organized website, a strong social media presence, and a solid debate showing. Yet their dynamic and outreach efforts felt artificial. In our interview with the candidates, one dominated their responses, and there was minimal chemistry between the two. It should be acknowledged that the interview was conducted via Zoom, which can easily diminish chemistry that could otherwise be apparent in-person. Still, responses in the debate and interview felt scripted, and though Corr-Sela’s social media and website are impressive, they lack the personal touch of the OnLee campaign.
The Corr-Sela campaign’s platform reflects the work of a duo that has been part of an organized student government for many years. Continuing numerous old projects and adding a few new ones to the roster, the team’s platform is reliable but not groundbreaking. While most policies are competently outlined, the group’s platform begins to fray when large-scale policies are discussed, lacking the clear direction and realism that are required to implement the projects that they discuss. For the most part, however, the Corr-Sela platform possesses an incredibly solid set of focal points from which to build their campaign.
As the incumbent candidate, the Corr-Sela ticket faces an uphill battle as they attempt to convince their grade to grace them with the caucus vote for another year. Best known for their past projects, including the Spanish Pen-Pal program and the “So You Want to Be A…” career initiative, Corr and Sela have had ample experience as caucus leaders. The duo, however, found themselves stumbling after last semester’s virtual turn, demonstrating a lack of transparency that was sorely felt by many members of the then junior class. While the Corr-Sela campaign is undoubtedly the safe choice for this year’s Senior Caucus election, it will likely take a lot of effort and promises to ensure that the seniors won’t find a repeat of their faulty junior representation.
“We had no idea whether or not we were going to be able to implement the [junior prom],” the Corr-Sela campaign said regarding their lack of transparency last semester. Corr-Sela repeatedly alluded to their “lack of clarity” concerning the release of prom tickets to the junior class as the main cause for their insufficient communication. Many of last year’s juniors expressed that they didn’t receive adequate support from their caucus, especially as Stuyvesant transitioned to remote learning. In response to these sentiments, the duo said, “We did a pretty good job” but acknowledged that “there is definitely room for improvement in terms of transparency.” Corr-Sela said their shortcomings from last year were a valuable experience, and they hope to learn from the past and expand upon their initiatives, though they did not elaborate upon their failings or how they hope to improve.
The strongest aspect of the Corr-Sela campaign is their extensive platform, in which they comprehensively detail their policy on matters from college to traditions and nearly everything in between, even going as far as promising an effort toward altering various long-standing and outdated Stuyvesant traditions.
With years of experience, Corr-Sela have the smaller-scale aspects of their platform down. The duo has long-standing relationships with many members of the current Stuyvesant administration, and they have strong bonds with many other caucuses and SU members. This unique advantage puts them in a prime position to execute the more nitty-gritty aspects of their campaign. The duo also spawned several projects over the years that they can continue to expand through a senior year term.
Some smaller-scale projects that the duo will likely be able to continue into their senior year include their trademark “So You Want To Be A…” newsletters and their college preparation efforts. These tasks incorporate skills the team has used extensively in the past and can jump right back into if given the office.
Their platform, however, begins to falter when their more complex policy proposals are examined. While the duo is able to dream big about what they would like to achieve as Senior Caucus Presidents, some of their ideas seem unachievable, even during a normal school year—especially their plans to amend school-wide policies, such as altering the curricula for various English and history classes. This promise feels somewhat empty, especially when it is looked at through the lens of their previous record as well as the sheer effort, dedication, and years of persistence that it would likely take to make a dent in this long-standing institution.
And while Senior Caucus does not have the jurisdiction to carry out any large-scale racial equity projects, Corr-Sela’s plan to address implicit biases by releasing a “comprehensive document that compiles free online resources on the training and combatting biases” feels insufficient to tackle all racial injustices at Stuyvesant. Furthermore, their implicit bias training for the senior class would be very difficult to execute, regardless of Corr’s prior training.
Though some of their written platforms lack the realism needed to inspire maximum confidence, Corr-Sela have created and are continuing a strong set of policies and projects that at the very least should make for a smooth transition into senior year. Several of their senior traditions, such as their senior slogan Zoom background competition or second term senior stickers via Facebook frame, feel especially promising.
The Corr-Sela campaign is invariably 2020’s safe choice for the Senior Caucus. With years of caucus experience and existing bonds with current members of both the SU and Stuyvesant administration, there is no doubt they know what they’re doing when it comes to student government. But with such an experienced ticket, one would expect a more impressive and extensive list of accomplishments as well as a better grasp on effectively connecting with their grade.
Moreover, their faulty record, especially over the past few months, has led to serious doubts about their ability to put in the appropriate effort and energy needed to energize the senior class as a whole and lift the duo out of the transparency and communication issues that have been plaguing their ticket.