Campus / News / February 21, 2019

Senate elections have delayed start

This article has been updated with new information received on Feb. 21.

The Student Senate elections for the 2019-2020 executive board have been delayed, although ballot statements have been accepted. Voting will begin Monday, Feb. 25 at 5 p.m.

Junior Cayne Randle is running unopposed for president. Randle has been on Senate exec for all three years and ran for president last year as well.

“So something I really want to do is work on Senate itself, because I feel like we have so much potential that’s just not being harnessed,” Randle said.

Randle also says she wants to work on figuring out why there have been so many resignations from Senate in the past few months.

The elections are currently being run by Senate President Sam Cohen after Vice President Irene Stephenson resigned on Monday night for what is being described as personal reasons. Typically, the vice president is responsible for running elections.

Stephenson’s resignation follows the resignations of former President Leonard Monterey and former Secretary Tehreem Anwar, which occurred in late December and early January, respectively.

TKS will host the debates for the executive positions on Monday, Feb. 25 at 4:00 p.m. in the Ferris Lounge. Questions can be submitted at bit.ly/senate-debates. The audience will also have an opportunity to ask the candidates questions during the debates.

Unopposed candidates will also be subject to questions from TKS, as well as from crowd members wondering how they will wield their power to improve Senate, and the campus as a whole.

Voting will end on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 11:00 p.m.

Freshman Carly Rieger and junior Robert Draper are both running for vice president. There are two candidates for treasurer, sophomore Andrew Liput and junior Monika Woldegiorgis.

The secretary elections have been pushed back further. Junior Eliza Dehlin, who is currently serving as the secretary after being appointed earlier this term, submitted a ballot statement for treasurer but then  transferred it to be for secretary.

According to an email from Cohen to TKS, Dehlin asked for her statement to be transferred after the deadline for ballot statements. In response, Dehlin has withdrawn her ballot statement and the secretary elections will be held with the chairperson elections later this term.

While Dehlin knows the perception of Senate among the general Knox community has been largely negative recently, she hopes the debates focus on more than just these recent issues.

“I think there is a lot of turmoil, but I don’t think it will be a central part of these debates, nor should it be. I think we should more be asking these candidates how are you going to steady the ship, so to speak,” Dehlin said.

Cohen, meanwhile, is looking forward to hearing the visions of those running for future executive positions, as this will allow the current exec the opportunity to prepare for the transition to next year’s group.

“If there’s an area which they’re a little bit weaker with, we can assist them and help prepare them for it, and also it’s good to see who’s the better candidate because that’s what debates are for,” Cohen said.

After seeing all of the recent resignations pile up, Cohen and what remained of exec met with Vice President of Student Development and Senate adviser Anne Ehrlich to formulate a plan to ensure a smoother transition for next year’s Senate leadership.

Ultimately, Randle wants Student Senate to have a fresh start in the upcoming year.

“Things got a little out of hand in a couple of ways,” she said. “I think it’s getting better now. I think we’re on an upswing, but it’s still sometimes hard to get over, once you’ve hit so many snags, it’s hard to keep going.”

Erika Riley, Editor-in-Chief
Erika Riley is a junior majoring in creative writing and minoring in journalism. During her sophomore year, she worked as a news editor, and during her freshman year, she worked as a layout editor. She is the winner of the 2017 Ida M. Tarbell Prize for Investigative Reporting and the recipient of First Place Front Page Layout from the Illinois Press Association in 2016. Twitter: @ej_riley
Jonathan Schrag, Managing Editor
Jonathan Schrag is a junior majoring in Political Science and double minoring in Educational Policy Studies and History. He has been writing for TKS since Fall Term of his freshman year and has contributed to News, Sports and Discourse. He served as the Sports editor during his sophomore year and has won several awards from the Illinois Collegiate Press Association.

Tags:  elections Exec Board senate senate exec Student Senate student senate election

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