(Graphic by Michelle Dudley)
Elections have ended for most of the Senate Exec board for the 2019-2020 school year. Junior Cayne Randle, who ran unopposed, was elected president, with sophomores Robert Draper and Andrew Liput elected as vice president and treasurer respectively.
The elections for the chair positions and secretary continue until Friday, March 18. The election for secretary was delayed after no ballot statements had been submitted for it in time for the exec elections.
Junior Eliza Dehlin had originally been slated to run unopposed for secretary but had requested her ballot statement be moved from treasurer to secretary after the deadline. Dehlin is now running against freshman Kathryn Allee.
Randle won the presidency with 88.3 percent of the vote. The remaining 11.7 percent, or 38 votes, were write-ins.
The other exec elections were close. Draper won his race by just 11 votes. The election only had 326 voters, a number Draper hopes to improve next year. The Senate vice president runs the elections.
“The role of the VP is to run elections, which is, as everyone knows, probably the biggest issue with Senate right now is retention of senators and also how elections are run,” Draper said.
Draper plans to focus a lot of energy on his role in running elections because so many special elections have been needed this term. Senate used a mix of campus-wide special elections and elections within Senate to fill positions left open by resignations and other elections.
Draper was on the committee that ran the campus-wide special election after the resignations of senior Leonard Monterey from president and sophomore Tehreem Anwar from secretary. Draper said the committee received a lot of complaints about the number of emails they sent out.
“So I think just finding one, a way to help solve this problem of retention and two, finding a way to run elections that is just a bit less intrusive, maybe finding other ways to advertise elections, like postering,” he said.
Draper hopes that looking at the bylaws at the end of next term will be a chance to address some of the confusion over the elections.
“[The Senate-only elections] was just completely improvised how we did that, so maybe putting a process into place on how to do that within the bylaws,” he said.
In terms of addressing what he sees as a lack of interest in Senate’s work within Senate itself, Draper said he knows that general assembly meetings can be boring so he hopes to encourage Senators to engage more with their work in their campus committees.
“Just getting people more engaged, because obviously they’re not gonna want to come if they’re not doing anything,” Draper said.
The exec committee is not yet solidified as elections for the chair positions and secretary continue. There are 16 people total running for the chair positions and secretary. The only unopposed candidate is junior Teslin Penoyer who is running for Health and Wellness chair.
In the chairperson debates held by TKS Monday, March 4, Penoyer said she plans to focus on getting resources for students who are currently overlooked by the health and counseling resources on campus and in Galesburg. This may include getting them access to options like mental health professionals in Peoria, Ill. or the Quad Cities.
Running for diversity chair are sophomores Oluwabamise Afolabi and Tina Jeon and freshman Ty Kiatathikom. During the debates, they all addressed the non-discrimination policy proposed by Common Ground.
Jeon worried that senators an other sutdents had not received enough information to come to their own decisions about the issue. Kiatathikom is new to Senate this term and wished the issue had been dealt with in less time than it has taken. Afolabi believes there is no clear answer on the problem and stated that he hoped more attention would be given to how groups act on campus as opposed to the policies of their national organisations or backgrounds.
Jeon and Kaithathikom are currently on the diversity committee. Afolabi pointed towards his experience as an orientation leader as preparing him for the chair position, while Kaitathikom discussed his experience as a minority and participation in activism during high school which include March for Our Lives.
Two people are running for campus life chair: freshman Carly Rieger and junior Farid Freyha. Rieger is the current campus life chair, after replacing Randle earlier this term. She wants to address problems with how students interact with the campus life committee and campus life office. Freyha’s main goal would be to improve the housing selection process including moving it back online.
Of the three people running for dining services chair, only junior Pascal Ye was present at the debates. He said he wanted to improve the ways Dining Services can receive feedback from students and highlighted his experience working at a restaurant and helping plan the Hot Pot event for Chinese Club. Sophomore Aleksandra Gicala and freshman Mujtaba Hassan are also running.
Five students are running for sustainability chair: freshmen Madeline Tucker, Poornima Tata, Neori Yasumaru and Clark Shanahan and sophomore Adam Smith. Tucker sent in a statement for the debates which highlighted her experience on the current sustainability committee and building on this year’s projects like Sinky. Smith was not present.
Tata wants to bring more solar panels to campus and encourage more use of the Sustainability Fund. Shanahan wants to improve infrastructure, especially things like water pipes which have had problems this year leading to waste. Yasumaru wants sustainability on campus to focus more on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Voting for the chair people and secretary ends Friday at 11 p.m.
A previous version of this article did not include Ty Kaithathikom as being on the Senate diversity committee.