Senate will be holding special elections this week to fill the empty president and secretary positions, in addition to an open junior senator seat.
Student Senate President Leonard Monterey resigned from his position, via email, on Dec. 20, 2018. In his email, he appointed Vice President senior Irene Stephenson to fill his position.
However, according to Section 1, Article F of the Student Senate bylaws, “if any position of the Senate will be vacant for over one term, the Executive Board will organize a special election to fill the position within two weeks of being notified of the opening.”
Junior and Chairperson of Health and Wellness Carolyn Ginder realized the bylaws contradicted Monterey’s appointment of Stephenson in his email.
“This information was common knowledge which should have been referred to prior to the email being sent to appointing someone as president since the former president did not have the ability to do that. I had messaged Anne Ehrlich in which she had checked the bylaws and conveyed to me this information which I then confirmed,” Ginder explained to TKS in an email.
Stephenson was then re-appointed as the interim president while special elections were planned.
Typically, the Vice President runs elections, as stated by the bylaws. But as Stephenson is running for president, an impartial special elections committee had to be created.
At the beginning of Winter Term, the senate secretary, sophomore Tehreem Anwar, also resigned from her position, as did Class of 2020 senator Momin Zahid.
After Stephenson sent three campus-wide emails regarding the elections, the special elections committee was created, comprised of junior Flora Florova, sophomore Tina Jeon, sophomore Robert Draper and senior Rachel Watson. The committee then sent additional clarifying emails on Tuesday, Jan. 8, requesting ballot statements from those interested in running for the open positions. They will be taking ballot statements until 11:59 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Jan. 10.
The official ballots will be sent out on Friday, Jan. 11, and voting will close on Tuesday, Jan. 14, according to Jeon. Results will then be announced.
In order to run for president, candidates must have served at least one year on executive board. Because of this rule, no matter who is elected president, a spot on the executive board will be vacated. Then, another special election to fill that executive board spot will be held, in the same nature as this special election.
“I personally think it’s silly that we are running elections this way because we will practically have elections all term now. … We also have to hold elections for next year’s exec this term,” Stephenson told TKS in an email. “I think the bylaws should be rewritten to streamline this process.”
Student Senate will still be holding their General Assembly meeting tonight, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Alumni Room of Old Main. As always, the meeting is public. It will be run by Vice President Stephenson.
The Knox Student will be posting updates as the election progresses, as well as developing this story further in print.