Columns / Discourse / January 17, 2019

How to prevent future Senate special elections from failing

The resignation of the former Student Senate executives has not only left the Senate in an uncomfortable position, but also revealed a large number of issues regarding the special election process. Not only were emails sent out several times with differing timelines (and on one occasion by a person who was running for office), but the decisions made about election procedures were confusing to outsiders.

The repeated lack of concern/consultation of the Senate bylaws by various members of both the Executive Board and Election Committee turned this process into more of a guessing game than an organized predetermined procedure. There was no clear path of communication throughout the special election process; members were unsure of who to report to and had an unclear understanding of what steps needed to be followed. Additional resignations throughout the processes caused a turbulent and unclear path forward, which was not properly communicated by Senate to the student body as a whole.

Senate bylaws state that 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…” This is unclear about whether or not separate elections should be held for the seats of the class of 2020 senators that were vacated during the special election for the Senate president and secretary. The bylaws should be amended at the end of the year to reflect the proper process, as deemed fit by the Student Senate, instead of being left to the whims of whoever chairs the committee at the time of elections. Additionally, a better system for communication between Senate and the student body needs to be established so that concerns over too many conflicting emails being sent don’t become an issue.  

Rachel Watson
Michelle Dudley

Tags:  senate elections special elections

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