After last Friday’s deadline to file for candidacy, those running for Student Senate Executive Board positions are gearing up for next week’s elections and some have more work to do than others.
Candidates have been campaigning for about two weeks through Facebook and word-of-mouth ahead of this Saturday’s “Politicians and Pizza” event in the Taylor Student Lounge. This will be held in conjunction with debates among those running for highly contested positions.
Because junior and current Senate Treasurer Gordon Barratt is running for the presidency unopposed, there will be no debate for that position. The candidates for vice president will debate on Saturday, and those for treasurer Sustainability Committee chair will debate Saturday.
Senate Vice President senior David Barton, who is in charge of running the elections, was not necessarily surprised that only one person is running for president, due to the prerequisite. The Senate constitution states that a candidate for presidency must have served at least three full academic terms on Senate before being eligible for the position.
The vice presidency, on the other hand, is being sought after by four candidates: junior Samuel Frank, sophomores Michael A. Gasparro, Rup Sarkar and J.C. Weinberg.
In all, the Senate Executive Board is comprised of nine members, including the president, vice president, communications officer, treasurer and chairs of the Sustainability, Residential Quality of Life, Technology, Dining Services and Safety and Services committees. To put those nine positions into perspective, there are currently fewer than 30 senators.
“To me, what would be most important would be to have members who are reflective of all the different demographics and interest groups on campus,” freshman Matthew Flesher said. “Optimally, it would be best to have individuals in these posts who are a wide array of different types of people, ethnically, culturally and ideologically.”
Flesher added that academic diversity is also important and that officers should take it upon themselves to attract to Senate those who normally would not run for office but who are still important to the campus.
This round of executive elections is taking place in the midst of a set of constitutional changes being proposed by the Special Committee on Rules (SCOR) this week. SCOR has been working this year to study the Senate’s constitution and survey student representation organizations at other schools for ideas that could benefit the Knox system.
One provision of the SCOR proposal is to combine the Safety and Services committee with the Residential Quality of Life committee. In the case that such a provision remains in the package after the amendment process and the changes as a whole are passed by the Senate at large, those elected to chair the two committees would assume co-chairmanship of the Residential Quality of Life committee.
Freshman Senator Allison Bader observed that the president is essential for advancing certain goals and policies in the Senate.
“I feel like [current Senate president senior] Sam Claypool has really taken most of the initiative and she’s the one who has organized everything,” Bader said. “If it weren’t for her, half of the stuff we did this year wouldn’t have happened.”
In describing what she would like to see in future Executive Boards, Bader mentioned having officers who are knowledgeable and excited about their respective policy areas.
The “Politicians and Pizza” event is scheduled to take place Saturday from noon until 4:00 p.m. in the Taylor Student Lounge. The Sunday debates will run between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. also in the lounge.
President: Gordon Barratt (’12)
Vice President: Samuel Frank (‘12), Michael A. Gasparro (‘13), Rup Sarkar (’13), JC Weinberg (‘13)
Treasurer: Sara Ahmed (‘12), Kenton Tilford (‘13)
Communications Officer (Secretary): Claudia Brooke (‘12), Justin Steele (‘13), Esther Farler-Westphal (‘14)
Dining Services: Karl Bair (‘12), Kaitlyn Duling (‘13)
Residential Quality of Life: Philip Bennett (‘14), Ellen Jackson (‘12)
Safety and Services: Paul Brar (FY), Ian Malone (JR)
Sustainability: Alex Faulkner (‘12), Nora McGinn (‘14), Max Potthoff (‘14)
Technology: Johnathan Ebbers (‘13)