George Ji 0:02
In your eyes What is the purpose of the Student Government. What do you think it’s supposed to do?
Eric Yao 0:18
So I will refer to the student council constitution. It’s supposed to be a bridge between the students and the administration, and to review school policies and make changes to tailor to student needs and make school experience better for students.
George Ji 0:36
Yeah, that’s good. So, do you think it’s done that job well?
Eric Yao 0:45
No, I would say. They have failed to live up to its promise, because currently everything we’re doing is organizing events and doing fundraisers. I reviewed what we’ve done this past year, we’ve only had six new school policy proposals and four of them were from me so that’s kind of sad, out of a council of like 15 or 20 members.
George Ji 1:17
So how many actually went through.
Eric Yao 1:33
Three passed but one was enacted.
George Ji 1:41
What was that?
Eric Yao 1:44
It was like you could order a side from the cafeteria separately. It’s really stupid.
George Ji 1:50
What do you think needs to change like to improve the productivity, sort of,
Eric Yao 2:16
I have a plan for government reform which would include more responsibility and accountability for student council members. So first, we would make attendance mandatory, and then actually enforce it because there is a member who is representing our grade, who has never been to a meeting so far this school year so start enforcing that more strictly. And, yeah, we should have committee assignments. So, each member has a specific like part of the school which they would focus on such as academics, or like school activities or spirit stuff. And we would also keep track of each member’s voting record because last year we did anonymous voting so we had no idea which members were in favor or against a proposal. So we need to change that as well. And lastly, we should announce the percentage of votes each candidate receives in elections to make sure that elections are fair and transparent.
George Ji 3:34
Transparent. Yeah. So, sorry, I just forgot the question. Sorry. So how would getting rid of multiple absentees like people who don’t show up. Make it more productive or is that just to ensure that people show up.
Eric Yao 4:01
Well, if you don’t even show up, you can’t really represent or push for change. So I think if you’ve been elected so you should be held accountable and, like, there has to be some responsibility, and in the Constitution it says, If you missed like three meetings or something unexcused would be, you can be sanctioned but I don’t think that’s been enforced yet so you can’t vote or sponsor something.
George Ji 4:32
So, you want to make it more of a policy based institution, I remember reading. How do you plan on doing that? You just like trying to encourage a culture. Because if everyone’s unmotivated. It doesn’t doesn’t really matter what you change right.
Eric Yao 4:54
I guess. The gold pig party would be what pushes for these policies and so I hope that other members will follow suit. But currently the gold pig party are the only ones who are actually pushing for change.
So you’re planning to run this year again right?
Eric Yao 7:12
So what, what are you going to try to change this year.
George Ji 7:19
Like what proposals are you planning to put forward.
Eric Yao 7:26
I’m on my website, which has a list of all the things I plan to do. First of all, the most important thing I would like to pass is an assessment reform bill. So, currently AB students are 60% less likely to succeed in school, compared to other schools in Massachusetts so now I’m proposing a test corrections of up to 3% for every statement over 50 points. If the average is below in 85.
George Ji 8:04
So students grades and.
Eric Yao 8:07
George Ji 8:10
Did you try to push for this last year?
Eric Yao 8:14
We were still in the planning phase so you’re figuring out all the details and. But this year, I think we will actually put forward this bill. Yeah.
George Ji 8:25
What do you think is like, preventing the proposals from going through Is it the school, or is it just other students voting it down.
Eric Yao 8:36
I think it’s the school. I’ve been told that the student council can’t do these proposals like this so that’s why I’m also running for the school committee so I hope I can do something up there.
George Ji 8:59
Sorry I’m not familiar with the school committee What did they do,
Eric Yao 9:04
They’re actually elected, so I just represent students. And I will go to their meetings and stuff.
George Ji 9:12
Eric Yao 9:14
They decided to retire the school mascot and decide like budget proposals.
George Ji 9:21
Do you think your proposals reflect the ideas and voices of students?
Eric Yao 9:29
Yes. Last year I remember reading a spectrum article by Adi Raman, and it said, teachers were happy that students got low grades by giving out really hard tests so I think this proposal will prevent that and help students and ensure their future success.
George Ji 9:53
really he wrote an article about how teachers enjoy what failing students
Eric Yao 9:59
He interviewed a student who said that.
George Ji 10:03
Eric Yao 10:04
They were happy that students were doing poorly.
George Ji 10:08
teachers that seem almost like movie villain type things.
Eric Yao 10:14
I think I saved the article somewhere but I can show it to you.
George Ji 10:18
Yeah, I think they like to remove them after a while. Maybe you can I can
Eric Yao 10:23
I saved a paper copy.
George Ji 10:24
Oh, that’s nice.
George Ji 10:26
Yeah. So, do you think the school could be doing more to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Eric Yao 10:34
Yes. Actually, I was the first and only representative to protect students’ lives back in February. I proposed a mandatory quarantine for students whose direct family member has visited China in like the past month so back in February, which is around the time where Trump proposes travel restrictions. But, the school told me I couldn’t do that.
George Ji 11:07
yeah, that didn’t get passed
Eric Yao 11:10
and answering your question. I think it’s like there’s still more things that need to get done to protect our students, for example, we need to know who has a virus because they’re being very secretive about it and we don’t know who has it so they need to be more transparent. And in addition, I think we really need testing. So, we need funding for testing. So I believe that’s what we need.
Eric Yao 13:42
If you want to learn more about my other proposals, you can go to my website and check it out you haven’t yet.
George Ji 14:07
Okay, to make your opinion seem more legitimate. Okay. Well I remember you said you wanted to make advisory optional right?
Eric Yao 14:31
I did say that.
George Ji 14:33
So did any students come up to you to tell you that to voice their opinions about that.
Eric Yao 14:44
Well, there were people who said they dislike advisory, and also people who enjoy advisory. This was also a topic of another spectrum article on the problem with advisory.
Eric Yao 14:58
A significant amount of students don’t want advisory so it makes sense but it’s not mandatory. Again have advisory if you want it, you can keep it. But it’s just going to be optional.
George Ji 15:10
would that time be filled with like a free.
Eric Yao 15:14
Yeah, you can go to the commons, eat something, print out your essay, do your homework, or study.
George Ji 15:22
So I was looking on Instagram. Have you ever seen someone campaign for the school Council. Student Council position on Instagram. I know I don’t know I remember seeing some people campaigning they’re saying they’re gonna bring this and this and this. Like a bunch of things are gonna change. So do you think it’s like, it’s dishonest when the student council it only puts forward like six a year right. Do you think it’s dishonest to represent how much you’re going to get done. Like that.
Eric Yao 16:04
I’m not going to name any names but a representative promised to make the Wi Fi faster last year, but I don’t think they’ve gotten that done, but other representatives just didn’t really make any promises so I guess they didn’t have an obligation to fulfill any of them. But for my purposes, I followed through on my promises for example the highway congestion alleviation I proposed the plan but that one was rejected by the student council.
Eric Yao 16:40
And then my clock bill which we still need funding from the school. And then the coronavirus, of course I went to the administration but then they rejected that as well.
George Ji 16:54
okay do you think the problem with unproductivity is because of the school administration, or just the actions of the student council.
Eric Yao 17:04
I think it’s both because the student councils don’t really hold any power to make any meaningful changes, but also the members don’t really have any ambitious agenda items so I think it’s a combination of both.
Eric Yao 18:39
Okay, well if you have any other questions about my policies or like what I’ve accomplished, or about me, my experience and you can check out my website, or ask me directly.
George Ji 19:01
See you. Okay.
Eric Yao 19:03