As our entire academic reality has shifted onto Zoom, fundraisers have begun to raise money on behalf of the Zoom School of Law which many thousands of law students now joke is where we all go to school.
And yet in some ways the world keeps turning, and that provides minor solace to those who crave a scheduled life. We press on, talking about final exams, registering for fall classes, and daydreaming about future plans.
In that scheduled rhythm, we find ourselves in LSA elections. ‘Tis the time of year where our peers campaign for our vote to lead us through the twists and turns of the next year of law school. It involves campaign promises, town hall style forums, and this year, a very stable internet connection.
Our current LSA president Tyler Hendricks had these wise words to share with us on why we should continue to care about this election cycle:
“Students should always vote for the candidate they believe will do the best job. But now more than ever, given the current challenging circumstances, students should realize just how important their vote is. During this unprecedented time, we have seen countless student leaders rise up and use their voices to back a stance that they believe in. BC Law should be relying on these student leaders to represent and advocate for their needs all of the time and not just during a time of crisis.
It is crucial to vote in the best representatives for the job because you never know when crisis will strike, or when you will need assistance from someone with institutional knowledge. Anyone can get in touch with an administrator, but when that idea is backed in force with the representative chosen to advocate on your behalf, who has already built up that rapport with the administrators, that message becomes so much more powerful. At LSA election time, it is crucial to deeply consider what you want the future of BC Law to look like.
This is more than a popularity race and way more than just voting for who you are familiar with. This is a time to truly consider who, when given the chance, can rise up to any and all occasions to represent the entire BC Law community, internally and externally.”
I personally agree with Tyler. We have all been robbed of so much normalcy by this horrible virus, but the seemingly small act of voting in student government elections is a way to shape our future right now without having to get off the couch.
I also had the opportunity to check in with our two presidential candidates, Ike Frankel and Kayla Snyder. Here’s what they had to say:
1. What are you most proud of that you’ve accomplished at BC Law so far?
Ike: I can’t think of anything that has been more impressive to me in two years of law school as the State of the Law School event that happened last fall. Keep in mind that at the LSA the normal attendance range for any event is somewhere between 10-20 people (if not absolute 0). Going into that event, I heard that the attendance figure for last year’s event was about 40, so that is what me and my committee members planned for. When all was said and done, 100+ people showed up. Every seat in EW 120 was taken! I was absolutely astounded at the amount of interest students had in the actions of the administration. I knew then that this was going to be a special year for student involvement, and that there was interest in BC accountability. I just wish I bought more pizza!
Kayla: Does generally not crumbling under the pressure of law school count as an accomplishment? Because 1L was a ride, let me tell ya. But in all honesty, I’m most proud of the relationships I’ve built here. It’s not an “accomplishment” in the resume sense, and there are no quantifiable results to boast of, but these relationships drive my involvement on campus and my desire to serve our student body. BC Law is an incredible place, not because of rank or status or job placement stats, but because of the people. I survive and thrive because of the brilliant and compassionate people around me, because of how we care for, encourage, and help each other. Both professional and personal, these relationships are far and away the best part of my experience at BC and what I’m most proud to take with me when I am forced to graduate.
2. If elected, what’s the one big thing you want to accomplish in the next year?
Kayla: My platform is the culmination of a lot of ideas and plans that all center around fostering community and connectedness. However, if I had to pinpoint one thing, it’s going to be pushing for student seats on boards and different administrative committees. I think now more than ever, it’s apparent just how vital those student voices are. I’m hopeful that creating these openings for students will not only increase transparency and accountability but will encourage a greater sense of connection between the administration and students. Additionally, this is an important initiative not just for our current student body but for future BC Law students as well.
Ike: The key concept behind my campaign is student unity. When times are as chaotic as they have been for the last few weeks, the main priority should be bringing everyone together as a community and helping those of us that are in the most need. I suppose my priority would be creating a support network for students as this crisis continues. It doesn’t have to be a full scale emergency outreach (or even any of the suggestions I made in my candidate statement), but it has to be something to both communicate the needs and perspectives of all students while also assuring them that they will always have someone to talk to. I know this is a pretty vague answer to your question, but I think that it is important to show everyone that the LSA does actually care about their well-being, and that we will be there to support them. Campaign promise or not, that should always be the case.
3. What is something that the students at BC Law might not know about you that you want them to know before voting?
Ike: Fun fact: I’m actually from the Chicago suburbs. It’s not super important, but I thought it was funny seeing how both LSA presidential candidates are not even remotely Boston natives! Also I think it’s pretty obvious I’m not as social media savvy as Kayla is. I mean I don’t even have instagram, so I’m pretty much hopeless! It’s a good thing those sorts of skills aren’t going to matter much when choosing who to vote for. Truth is, this election has never really been about me personally. People have expressed their fears and concerns to me as the coronavirus crisis has unfolded, and I felt that I was in the best position to make those concerns known to the LSA and student population at large. I’m here for them, not my own personal interests. That being said, I regret nothing about the gold jacket I wore to the candidate forum! Swag jacket is swag, and I will take any opportunity to wear that thing when I can!
Kayla: In middle school, I started over three times. I was the new kid, with braces and glasses, horribly styled hair and questionable taste in music three different times. I was also one of the few, if any, faces of color at each of my new schools. It’s an experience that would build an incredible amount of resilience in any person. Over the years I look back on that time with both visceral embarrassment and a grateful heart. In addition to hard-earned resilience, I learned early on to stay true to myself, to be open to new ideas and new people, and to put myself out there testing the boundaries of my own vulnerability. Years of practicing these things have led me to this point. It has made me confident to lead and ready to take on whatever challenges come my way.
Also, I’m a Yankees fan. As a San Diego native, this makes zero sense and as a Boston transplant, it’s fairly damning to my reputation. However, I feel like it’s important to come clean.
As we all vote in the election tomorrow, it’s important to remember that voting matters. Even in law school. That voting by itself is an act of hope. So vote for the candidates who you feel best align with your goals and dreams for our beautiful school. Though it doesn’t feel this way, what’s happening right now will eventually end. And when it ends, let’s ensure we have an LSA that’s as capable, steadfast, and ready to go as we all are!
Voting will take place online via OrgSync on April 1st and until April 3rd. If you’d like to watch the LSA candidate forum, the recording can be found here.
Tatiana Becker is a transfer student finding her way through the new reality of #coronavirus lockdown. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.