Voting change causes confusion


This year, the  position of PCM High School student body president was elected by Student Government members, rather than by the student body, as has been done in the past. The voting change is  a decision made by Principal Kristen Souza and Student Government Director Tara Williams.

“This year, we opted to have the student government vote on who student body president was going to be rather than having the entire school vote,” said Souza in a recent interview. “We felt that the student body president is the spokesperson for student government, so we wanted the student government to have a say in who was student body president.”

The decision came as a surprise to the PCM student body. Many students didn’t know how voting was being conducted or when voting would take place.

A sophomore female who wished to remain anonymous stated she was unaware of the change.

“I was confused on why we saw Chris Ver Heul’s posters everywhere but we didn’t get to vote,” she said.

Candidate Ver Heul said it’s important to create open forums and strong lines of communication.  He wants everyone  in the school to understand the voting process and know the people representing them in student government. He is “appalled” by the communication gap between the administration, staff and students, and the fact that students didn’t know whether or not they could vote.

“Even now, weeks after the election, people come up and ask me when the election is,” he said.

The PCM Student Body Presidential Election was voted by the student government on Thursday, Sept. 16. An email was sent out the morning before, stating: “There will be Student Government meetings both Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 7:45 in Mrs. William’s classroom.” 

No information regarding a vote or the voting process  was  sent out. 

Principal Souza explained that every student was told they “could attend student government meetings on the first day or two of school.” 

“If we [the student body] don’t get to vote then it [should be called] student government president, not student ‘body’ president,” said a senior female who chose to remain anonymous. 

Senior Chelsea Bird, PCM’s 2021 Student Body President, likes the new voting process. she stated in an interview,

“—Just student government voting was good because the whole school doesn’t have anything to do with student government and not everyone is involved. After the voting is done the whole school doesn’t include themselves in student government,” she stated in an interview. 

“I was thinking about [putting up posters], but I take a lot of classes and I was just very busy and then I got told it was just student government voting so then I’m like, well, I don’t need to put them up around the school because the school isn’t voting.”

When asked if she thought that she had an unfair advantage in the student government class, she said, “Definitely I do feel that way, but on the other hand anyone is welcome to student government and if people really wanted Chris [voted as student body president] then they could show up on the day we voted.” 

Thursday, Sept. 16 was the official voting day for student body president, although many students seemed unaware that they could attend or even that the voting was taking place. she responded, 

“We were told at student government so just by people talking about it, it wasn’t [formally] announced but people were talking about it, I was talking about it,

“People just show up, but I don’t know –  maybe people don’t know that it’s optional [to show up without invitation],” she added.

“The election was ran [sic] through Student Government only,” said Tara Williams in an online interview. “The reason for this is because for the past few years doing it as an assembly with speeches has created a lot of behind the scenes issues and problems that students don’t always know or hear about (and they shouldn’t). So, by strictly voting within Student Government, we were able to eliminate those issues. This was decided early this fall after many conversations with some staff members and administrators in regards to some of the issues in years past.” 

She did not elaborate on what kind of issues or problems had occurred previously.

In reference to the communication process, Williams said, “Both candidates were told over a week in advance and students attending student government were also made aware of this in advance.” 

Since many students are disappointed about the fact that they didn’t get to vote, they are wondering if this is how voting will be conducted from now on, if there was additional input from students.

“Most likely [this will be how voting is conducted in the future] unless there is enough interest in changing it. We can certainly examine that, if so,” she said.

PCM student body president has been going on for decades, the process has stayed the same throughout the years and PCM’s Student Body is confused as to why change it now. Senior Chelsea Bird, is PCM’s Student Body President for the 2021-2022 School Year. Student Government hosts meetings most weeks on Thursday morning at 7:45 a.m.. Anyone from the PCM Student Body is welcome and are encouraged to attend.