Student Senate president called out for his campaign speech

Originally published Nov. 8, 2011 by

Students campaign for roles in the City College student government, now called the Student Associated Council. Former ASG President Leedell Williams is running for president of SAC. Photo by Evan E. Duran.

Newly elected Student Senate President Kevin Kayhanian found himself in the hot seat over comments he made in his speech during the student government forums last month in the Quad.

On Oct. 14 Kayhanian introduced his C.L.A.S.S. initiative — Care, Leisure, Athleticism and Social Synchronization — at the forums. Some students said they had issues with portions of his speech.

“Not everything can get worse, but everything can get better,” said Kayhanian during the ‘C’ part of his candidacy speech. “’C’ is care for students, and the majority of people just come here, manipulate others, manipulate teachers, cheat and go on. That cheats yourself, cheats everybody else. We can easily get along with one another and easily learn.”

Nursing major Savannah Perman was one of the students who disliked the way Kayhanian portrayed City College students. She said she doesn’t think Kayhanian’s comments were appropriate and his arguments were invalid.

“We come here to further our education, not to manipulate people and cheat,” Perman said.

Kayhanian explained the meaning behind his speech at an Oct. 28 ASG meeting, where a few members of the board raised concern over the comments.

“There are classes I have attended where I have seen individuals blatantly cheat,” Kayhanian said. “There are times when teachers turn a blind eye and there are times when students turn a blind eye. I’m not saying this happens on a regular basis, but it happens in general and it needs to be addressed.”

Kayhanian said that he meant well with the comments and were intended as generalizations than they may have come across.

“When I said these comments, I didn’t mean any one student nor did I mean all students,” he said. “There shouldn’t be cheating. If there is no cheating, there will not be problems. If there is cheating, I will address it. I believe that this case may have been taken out of context far more than necessary.”

Concerns by members of SAC were also raised over Kayhanian’s comments in his speech on the explanation of the ‘A’ in C.L.A.S.S, in which he talked about City College students not getting enough exercise.

“’A’ stands for athleticism. Not enough people are moving around like these great cheerleaders over here and everyone else who works out,” Kayhanian said. “It’s very important to get some sun and move around. It makes you healthy.”

Kayhanian said he was merely felt more students should partake in daily cardiovascular exercise and it’s important to be healthy.

City College student Manuel Alvizar, major undecided, said he felt that maybe people were upset with Kayhanian’s comments because they hit too close to home for some students.

“If the shoe fits, wear it,” Alvizar said. “If you’re offended, maybe there’s a reason. If you’re working hard even if you’re getting C’s, it shouldn’t offend you.”

Despite Kayhanian’s comments he was still elected into office during the Oct. 18-19 elections. He said when it comes to student approval of his comments; he would just let the numbers speak for themselves.

“I addressed the members [of the ASG] who felt that my thoughts were incomplete and needed to be clarified. I’m thoroughly under the impression that the issue has been absolved and moved on from.”

Kayhanian said he wants anyone who has concerns over this matter or any issue on campus to feel free to raise those concerns to him directly.

“I am available for students that want to come speak to me personally and raise any concerns they may have,” said Kayhanian. “I encourage that.”

View Kayhanian’s speech here.

About Daniel Wilson

Daniel has been a writer for over 25 years and recently earned his Bachelor's degree in journalism. Portfolio:
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