SBP candidates take student questions


Financial District, NEW YORK--The student body presidential candidates participated in a discussion-focused debate led by current SBP, Samuel Tran Feb. 21. Before the event, Tran expressed his hope that students in attendance would walk away with “a clear understanding of the job of SBP.”

AJ Aran went first, offering an passionate speech that expressed his goal to foster the school’s great potential with “feasible, concrete solutions.” In describing his passion for King’s, Aran fondly referred to the college as “one of the most wildly audacious academic experiments.”

Photo by Carly Hoilman.

Pete Flemming, after saying he “loves this school,” called the role of SBP an “effective leader to facilitate meetings and communicate roles,” explaining that the SBP must be prepared to communicate with donors and alumni, manage media relations and interact with the new president and provost as an advocate for the student body.

Emily Collins described what she thinks are the two main roles of the SBP: a managerial role and a vision-casting role. As SBP, her goal would be to “address disjointedness and foster community.” Collins hopes to achieve this vision by focusing of student life--organizations, athletics, student events and the House system. “I want to see students have more fun at our school and not take ourselves too seriously.”

The debate was civil, characterized by a discussion of the role of SBP and the future of the college.

“I loved the informal format,” Serenity Richardson (‘15), former possible candidate, said. “You got to see the people be genuine.”

Each candidate emphasized the cruciality of spiritual life within the King’s community and their ideas for improving the school.

“A school-wide context for spiritual life is largely important,” Collins said. She explained her vision for a spiritual community at King’s that extends past primarily academic, theological discussion. In order to realize this, Collins said, “We must first create unity and identity within the school, and then branch out.” In other words, students must become comfortable with the new campus and with each other before they can focus on “pouring into the community.”

Aran said that as SBP, he would employ his “relentlessness,” insisting on a strong cabinet and a strong exec team for each house. In addition to creating “openness and unity within the House system,” Aran wishes to improve the “atrocious” communication system within the school. He emphasized that great relationships--between students and with the administration--will bring forth the change this school needs. Aran described himself as “an innovator and a builder,” who is “prepared to listen.”

As all of the candidates agreed, the SBP should be someone who is able to do his or her job behind-the-scenes, fostering the sharing of ideas and concerns within the King’s circle.

Flemming said that his position as president of the House of Bonhoeffer has equipped him with the leadership skills needed to “focus on ground-level management,” and “see the vision of the students through.” He pointed out that next year is the 75th anniversary of the King’s College--an opportunity to orchestrate events and interact with donors, alumni, and the new college president. This, Flemming said, will require a strong leader. “I know how to run a meeting well,” he said.

After each candidate gave a brief closing statement, Tran urged the King’s community to “vote carefully.” Following the debate, Tran reflected on his goal of “trying to get candidates to interact” in way that would “shed light on their ideas.”

“Now I know all of them. I know what each candidate is going for instead of just having a name,” Ashley Kohut (‘16) said.

Aran, Flemming and Collins will give their speeches Monday, Feb. 25, at noon in the City Room. All students are asked to attend. Voting will begin directly after the speeches, and polls will remain open until Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 11:59 p.m.

At the start of today’s debates, Tran asked students. “Help me find a successor--someone who will really invest in this community.”

By reviewing the platforms of each candidate and listening to their speeches, students will have the opportunity to impact their school and serve the current SBP.