Wednesday afternoon Student Senate held their annual executive board debates in the Gizmo in an attempt to engage Knox’s student body and voters with the upcoming election. Common themes discussed throughout the debate included transparency, communication and bridging the gap between students, Senate and the administration.
Freshman Cayne Randle will be running uncontested for Treasurer.
There is a three-way race for Secretary between junior Kelsie Pos, sophomore Irene Stephenson and freshman Eden Sarkisian. All three candidates spoke on increasing the communication between the student body and Student Senate as a way to promote transparency and accessibility.
“[My] number one job [would be] communication between students and Student Senate and increasing accessibility,” said Pos. “Senate has a voice other clubs don’t.”
Other issues touched on by Sarkisian included making changes to the minutes emailed out to the student body, such as changing the font color to dark gray as well as changing the overall font to a more readable font. According to her, these changes will make the minutes more accessible to students with disabilities.
“[We] need to address those non-monetary needs and ask not what they need from us, but what we can do for them,” Sarkisian said.
Sophomore Sam Cohen and junior Jeannie Mora are running for Vice President. Both candidates believe that there is a lack of communication, not only with Senate and the student body, but between the Senate, the student body and the administration — especially when the Senate is acting as a liaison between the administration and the student body.
Cohen mentioned a specific example of this lack of communication between the student body and the administration with the recent debate over napkin dispensers in the cafeteria. Last Thursday at the Senate’s General Assembly meeting, Stephenson, current Chair of Dining Services, announced that the napkins will be staying as they are.
“Bon Appétit was deciding [on the napkins] with the comment cards,” Cohen said. “Students who wanted the baskets didn’t write comment cards.”
Cohen believes that this is an example on how the student body needs to be better informed on how to communicate with the administration and Bon Appétit.
According to Mora, there is a general lack of communication overall. “There needs to be a surge or a push toward making sure everyone knows what’s available to them,” she said.
Candidates running for President are juniors Sofia Tagkaloglou and Joel Vargeese. Tagkaloglu opened up her statements with outlining the three areas she will focus on as president: implementing a direct form of communication, establishing a support system for clubs and providing a mechanism for campus activism.
“There is not enough trust between Senate and the student body,” said Tagkaloglou. By focusing on these three areas, she hopes to establish that trust.
Vargeese also brought up an issue with the overall operation of the General Assembly and hopes to educate incoming and veteran senators on Robert’s Rules of Order, a common parliamentary procedure.
“It’s our job as senators to make sure all senators are educated and know how to work together efficiently,” Vargeese said.
Voting begins on Friday, April 21, and goes through the weekend.