After running unopposed, junior Kawena Phillips and sophomore Kiso Skelton will be leading the Chaminade student body next school year.
The two will replace seniors Antonio Bonnetty and Claire Riggan next school year as president and vice president of the Chaminade Student Government Association.
Phillips, who is the chair of the House of Representatives on this year’s CSGA board and an executive council member for the Hawaiian Club, said that he is excited about taking the new position next fall.
“It feels really great, but it wasn’t so much about me winning,” said Phillips, an Oahu native. “It was more about getting the opportunity with [Skelton] and getting the chance to be the advocate for the students that we always talked about being.”
Skelton, who serves on the Samoan Club as its secretary, is grateful for the all support they received during the election.
“We’re just so humbled and blessed to have been elected to serve in these positions that we’re about to take on,” Skelton, who is originally from American Samoa, said.
Phillips and Skelton were elected to the board on March 20. Following the certification of the election results, they appointed Symone Perez as their vice president of Finance, Pohaikealoha Artates as their vice president of Communications and Marketing, and Valerie Angel Miles as vice president of Internal Affairs.
Also serving on the new board is Marvin Trantham, who was re-elected as the vice president of Programming.
They will now shadow the current CSGA board for the latter part of the semester in order to get acquainted with the policies and procedures of the association.
‘A need for oversight’
For Skelton, the want for lower tuition and students fees was why they felt the need to run and take office.
“The cost of attendance at Chaminade is one of [the many issues] – it’s too expensive,” Skelton said. “Student housing is another issue that students I have spoken to seem to have a problem with, it’s too expensive as well.”
The cost of standard tuition and fees for an on-campus resident for school year 2019-2020 is $26,134, according to the Chaminade University website.
Phillips said that the first order of business once they take office is to work on those issues.
“We need to really address where they are now in terms of status and what we can do to begin the process of changing those things,” Phillips said.
Their plan next school year is to propose a standardization of the tuition and housing fees for students. Instead of a continual raise of tuition and housing fees each year, the two believe that students at Chaminade should be able to pay the same amount during their entire stay at the university.
Phillips also said that they will push for more accountability when dealing with the finances.
According to Phillips, when he was the sophomore senator, he tried to find out where the fines collected by the Residential Life Office were going to. However, he was unsuccessful in that task.
“We tried to follow a paper trail but we hit roadblock after roadblock,” Phillips said.
During his campaign, Phillips and Skelton talked with the accreditation committee that deals with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ visits to the university, and how there was a “need for oversight.”
“We definitely want to see is oversight of [Residential Life] more so,” Phillips said. “I think that will help keep the costs under control more so they can’t just raise it without having to go through the proper authority.”