On June 4, Sonoma State University’s Associated Student Senate announced a new AS President for the 2018-2019 term, Carley Chatterley. Chatterley, the former AS Vice President, was promoted to the position when former AS President Manny Ojeda was removed.
Erik Dickson, executive director of Sonoma State, said Ojeda was removed “because he no longer met the requirements for major student government office as outlined by the California State University.” Ojeda won last year’s election on April 10, but never officially swore in as president.
Dickson supports Chatterley in her new position, believing she is striving to be the best AS President she can be. “All of the AS Executive Officers want this year to be a year where students feel heard and they are dedicated to making sure students feel listened to and valued,” Dickson said.
Chatterley says the transition from Vice President to President has been “surprisingly easy.” She thanks the staff of the Associated Students for mentoring and supporting her.
Chatterley explained in-depth the function of the student government. “Student Government through the Associated Students is here to be the voice and advocate for the 9,000 students that attend this university. We try to improve the quality of student education and life on campus by passing resolutions, sitting in meeting with admin, faculty, and staff and demanding change, and sharing the stories that we receive. We even go as far as going to Sacramento to lobby on behalf of issues affecting our students.”
Chatterley recognizes the financial struggle of many students on campus. “There are many problems facing not just this university but all students pursuing higher education and that is the cost. It isn’t just tuition that students are struggling with but also living expenses. Many students are having to decide between buying a book for a class and eating. Along with these challenges there is also a lack of mental health programs and food affordability on campus.” Chatterley said.
The Senate has created a four-step policy agenda that includes steps to improve student life on campus. The four steps include ideals such as improving student life, creating a better campus experience, advancing academic resources and technology and aiding student for success at Sonoma State. Chatterley spearheads such efforts, saying she is excited to “be the voice for the students in these discussions, and see these changes improve the quality of students lives.”
Students have reacted warmly to the recent change. Rebecca Mitchell, a senior Kinesielogy major, knows Carley Chatterley as a friendly face around campus and through mutual friends. “Carley seems like the best fit candidate for this position. She appears to be an extremely dedicated and motivated student. Sonoma State really needs an Associated Student president that has the students best interests in mind, and Carley clearly has shown her respect for her fellow peers at Sonoma State University.”
Chatterley would have never dreamed of being the AS President of her college campus, but wants to make an impact in the short time she has here. Fortunately, she has always been in leadership positions with numerous time commitments and believes she can thrive in such environments. “I just really want every student to know that I, and all the AS student leaders, are here for students and want to know if there is something they need help with – we are here to help students.” Chatterley said.