Yates could have been first female president in 10 years

By Daniel Ucko

While presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s chance at
securing the Democratic nomination for president is dwindling,
current ASI Vice President Brittany Yates’ hope for a female
student body president has already disappeared.

Yates, who was deemed ineligible April 25 and formally withdrew
April 28, found out she had taken too many units based to a rule
from the CSU Chancellor’s Office.

“It was kind of a shocker to all of us,” said Yates.

Yates was discouraged and wished she had found out earlier in
order to try and find a replacement.

“A lot of the females who had been vice presidents were seniors
graduating so there wasn’t an opportunity for them to step up,” she
said. “I’m not sure if females are intimidated or what the cause
is, but there’s definitely a trend of the male machismo of males
wanting to run for the president position.”

If Yates had been able to compete in this year’s election, it
would have been the first time in 10 years Cal Poly had seen a
female ASI president, according to Cora Culla, executive director
for ASI.

“There was a lot of people that were concerned there hadn’t been
a female in many years,” said Yates. “That would’ve been a big
honor to win and be the first female in that many years to win the

Election advisors gave Yates the option to take a smaller unit
load next year, but Yates said she is planning for medical school
and couldn’t accept the potential solution.

The California State University Minimum Academic Qualifications
For Student Office Holders determines student government
eligibility, stating that undergraduate students are allowed 225
maximum quarter units, or 125 percent of the units for their

“[The] main objective [of the rule] is to ensure students
successfully progress towards their academic degree objective,”
said Ray Murillo, associate director of student programs for the
CSU Chancellor’s Office. “The CSU policy is the minimum standard
for campuses to comply; however, that does not preclude a campus
from establishing higher standards for the student leaders on its

Ten years ago was also when John Yokoyama and Maryann Tolano
were elected into the executive office uncontested, similar to this
year’s winners Jeffrey Weintraub and Mercy Daramola, who were the
only names on the ballot for presidency.

“I’m happy that we at least have a male president and female
vice president so that we have gender balance within their ticket,”
said Culla.

Halfway through the 1998-99 year, Yokoyama, the ASI president at
the time, dropped out for personal reasons, according to Culla.
Tolano, the vice president at the time, replaced him.”She took on
the presidency after fall quarter,” said Culla.

While Tolano only served a half-year, she was the last female
president the campus has seen.

Cal Poly had multiple female ASI presidents in the early 1990s.
Culla said Annie Lu, Susan Leahy and Marianne Dieo all served
around that time.

“We all have to comply with the CSU regulations on eligibility
for holding student office,” said Culla. “So whether you’re male or
female, you’re bound by those regulations. [While] it would have
been nice to have another ticket running for office, unfortunately
it’s my understanding that those criteria were not met. So I think
that’s just the way it is.”

Yates campaigned for her Team R.E.D. senators even after she
couldn’t run. However, she didn’t agree on all the decisions voting
students made.

“It shouldn’t be based on male or female,” said Yates. “It
should be based on experience. I think that plays the biggest role.
It’s really down to experience and knowledge of the

Yates could have been first female president in 10 years

Joseph Muldoon/Poly Post

Yates could have been first female president in 10 years

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