Candidate Statement: Anser Abbas '14

1. For what position are you running?

I am running for the position of Junior Prefect.

2. What makes you feel that you are qualified for the position? Please describe any leadership experiences you’ve had, if applicable.

I have been proud to serve in Student Government for the past two years. This has given me an insight and a deep understanding of the needs of the Harvard-Westlake community. Serving as your representative across two campuses has prepared me for the inherent challenges of communicating with the administration to make your ideas heard. I feel that this experience puts me in a better position to serve the student body in the future.

3. How do you feel about the Honor Board and what has led you to feel this way?

While serving on the Honor Board this year, I have witnessed many cases, each with its own unique context and result. Because of these experiences, I strongly believe that the Honor Board is absolutely necessary to our community as a means of repairing the relationship between faculty and student. However, I do not believe that those who serve on the Board are to act as moral superiors and judge their peers. It is certainly true that as representatives of the Harvard-Westlake community, they have the responsibility to hold themselves to a higher standard, but to believe that they possess an innate ethicality greater than others is absurd. There is a strong misconception that the intention of the Honor Board is to act as “morality police”. It is not. The purpose of the Honor Board is to repair trust in our community when that trust has been broken and to ensure that there is a fair process for those in violation, as opposed to a system wherein the administration has the power to arbitrarily make decisions with finality. It was on these grounds that student body created the Honor Board, and I believe it still suits that critical function.

4. Please describe one thing in Harvard-Westlake’s community you would change. Also, how would you use the influence of the position of Junior/Senior Prefect to change our community?

As I mentioned in the last response, I feel that a major problem in our community is the wealth of misconceptions about the Honor Board. I believe that part of the reason is the Prefect Council’s failure to clearly and effectively explain the function and process of the Honor Board at the beginning of the year. I believe this problem has a few simple solutions, for example, a re-signing of the Honor Code for 10th graders and a greater effort on our part to give a detailed explanation of the process. No one should have to sit in front of the Board without a full prior knowledge of the system. I understand this problem from being a Sophomore Prefect, and I will do all in my ability as a Junior Prefect to resolve it. 

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