BY MEREDITH MCKEE
Settling some races that were hotly contested and others that were mere formalities, HLS 1Ls, 2Ls and LL.M.s selected representatives during the Law School Council election last week.
The winning 1L candidates were: Lucas Osborn and Maria Meginnes for Section 1; B.J. Trach and Alex Venegas for Section 2; Farzad Samimi for Section 3; Rachel Saldana and Maya Alperowicz for Section 4; Jeri Colbert and Chrystie Perry for Section 5; Tony Phillips and Peter Massumi for Section 6; and Daniel Smith and Yohannes Tsehai for Section 7. LSC will appoint an additional representative to fill the vacancy for Section 3.
Shortly after he first met with the representatives who will make up this year’s LSC, president Mike French said he was excited.
“I believe this is a unique opportunity for the Law School Council because we have a committed group of students coupled with a very willing and student-oriented administration,” he said.
Some of the new 1L representatives also said they were looking forward to launching this year’s LSC.
“I attended … West Point,” Jeri Colbert said. “Although it was a positive experience, we did not have a student council. All of our decisions were made for us.
“I was very excited about an institution that embraced student input and was eager to represent a section that had plenty to say!” she said.
For the first time in the institution’s memory, LSC President Mike French said, the 2L class also held a competitive election, choosing nine representatives from the 10 candidates running. The winning 2L candidates were Paul Krieger, Joi Chaney, Niki Fisher, Gary Slossberg, Greg Parets, Bill Dance, Bryan Daley, Kathy Gainey and Garin Muranaka. Among others, Paul Krieger, Joi Chaney, Greg Parets and Bill Dance served on LSC last year.
In addition to wanting to work with the people he met on LSC last year, 2L Bill Dance said the Strategic Plan spurred his return to the Council.
“The implementation of the Strategic Plan can benefit from a lot of student input, and I want to make sure our voices continue to be heard loudly,” he said.
Joi Chaney said she ran for LSC again because she felt it was the best means to “touch the lives of every HLS student by making the school better.”
“I would like to see the HLS sense of community strengthened,” she said. “I feel there are some simple things we can do to make students feel more valued and at home.”
Specifically, Chaney advocates improving the Gropius Complex, giving the Hark a “face-lift,” expanding the Office of Career Services and initiating programs to assist students in their personal lives.
The LL.M. students elected five representatives last week – four to advocate for their own interests and one to represent the S.J.D. students, who did not advance a candidate of their own. The LL.M. representatives are Mario Zambrano-Abrego, Kerrie Burmeister, Yongseok Kang, Simon Fitzpatrick and Santiago Boccardo.
Mario Zambrano-Abrego cited a strong commitment to his LL.M. classmates as the basis of his decision to run.
“My big plans are responsibility and hard work to enhance the way this year runs for LL.M.s and to define, together with my LL.M. friends, an agenda of our main academic concerns,” he said.
The International Tax Program students elected Mohammad Saeed to represent them in the LSC.
Though there were not enough 3L candidates to warrant an election, the 3L class will be represented by a combination of class marshals and LSC veterans.
“Last year, lots of people migrated away or toward other groups and journals,” French said. “We lost a lot of our then-2Ls who traditionally would have continued to 3L year. I’ve been trying informally to get a lot of those people to come back.”
As a result of that coaxing, French said, the 3L class will be represented by seven students, as well as French himself and Sarah Brackney, the LSC vice president.
That there are fewer 3L representatives than 1Ls and 2Ls will not disadvantage the Class of 2002 when it comes to decision making, French said.
“Nothing we really face is class-oriented,” he argued. “If you think about the issues that face our school, they’re either of one of two varieties: They either bother you every year, or they affect you in a specific year, but everyone in that year.”
Because of that dynamic, French said, problems tend to elicit similar reactions from students of all classes and programs.
Some of the 1L representatives have already identified areas that they believe are begging for LSC attention.
Yohannes Tsehai, for example, said his biggest goal will be improving student quality of life by “augmenting section pride, spirit and camaraderie” with events like inter-section competitions.
Others expressed reservations about settling on goals too quickly.
“At this point, I’d just like to do a good job of representing Section 5,” Jeri Colbert said. “I usually feel it’s best to see how well things operate before deciding you want to change everything or anything!”
Lucas Osborne echoed Colbert’s wait-and-see approach.
“I would like to find out how much actual power the representatives have for change,” he said. “I have heard it is minimal. We can see if we can change that.”
French said he believes LSC’s power this year will be maximized because of an unusually student-friendly administration.
“We have all these people on the administration side who are really pro-student,” he said.