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Holden Bale wins VPSA position

Holden Bale ‘12 was announced this morning as Vice President of Student Affairs (VPSA) for the Student Government Association (SGA). Graciela Guzman ‘11, who was elected VPSA last spring, went on leave this semester and therefore resigned.

“We’re looking forward to Holden’s dedication to the SGA cabinet,” SGA Treasurer Gabe Schechter ’12 said.

Six candidates ran for VPSA. Bale won in a runoff election against Grace Hazeltine ’11. He won 46% of the initial vote, just below the 50% needed to win outright. He will begin immediately.

Guzman stepped down over the summer for personal reasons. She informed SGA President Ben Offenberg ‘11 of her decision to go on leave from the college last June. Offenberg sent an email to all students saying Guzman stepped down and a special election would determine the VPSA.

“It was a really torturous decision. I made the decision to go on leave and that made the decision for me. I needed to go for family reasons,” Guzman said. “The campus deserves someone who can fully engage in SGA.”

Though not registered at the College this semester, Guzman is still living in Grinnell. She plans to return to the College in the spring.

“I’m still around as a campus resource,” she said.

Bale is bringing many ideas to SGA. At the candidates’ forum last Sunday, he emphasized the importance of student mental health. “I desperately want a third full time psychologist,” he said. “Outreach is the way to destigmatize mental health issues.”

Bale also said he would consider advocating to cut funds of organizations such as the football team if they were associated with future bias motivated incidents. In an interview, Bale clarified his comments. “Do I think the Cunnilingus Party is a reason to cut funding? No,” he said. “If this went on and some kind of education wasn’t enough, then yes.”

Adam Lange ’11, who lost to Guzman last semester, decided not to run again after making commitments to other organizations after the election. “[I’m] very frustrated. I tried very hard for it. I was pretty dedicated, and [I thought] if I’m not selected I’m okay assuming the person would be dedicated.”

Guzman and Lange both offered suggestions for the new VPSA.

“Ben Offenberg did a great job with ‘Donuts with Ben,’” Guzman said. “We need that innovation, seeking the opinion of people not usually involved in SGA.”

“One of the major issues is addressing issues of campus climate. That’s left over from last year,” Lange said.

Bale thinks the campus climate has greatly improved from last year, but also thinks more can be done.

“I would like to be better at communicating with student staff,” Bale said. He praised Student Affairs’ actions this year. “They’ve become proactive instead of reactive.”

SGA Administrative Coordinator Liz Maltby ’11 is ready to move forward.

“I think all the candidates would have done a good job. I think [Bale] will do a good job and I’m looking forward to working with him,” Maltby said. “It is lucky that [Offenberg] was the VPSA last year and we’ll try to get [Bale] caught up as fast as possible and just go on.”

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