Midterm elections

by Karl Lang

The Student Government Association is working to replace its senior class president and the sophomore class representative, but the group’s leaders are optimistic about the future.

SGA is holding elections this week because two of its past representatives are leaving for new things. Erin Disney, the former senior class president, is studying abroad in Ireland this semester. Katie Case, the previous sophomore class representative, is transferring to Iowa State University.

This leaves two pivotal positions open in SGA. Currently, there are four candidates for the senior class president election: Chris Erickson, Ashley McGraw, Andrew Mitchell and Nicole Muell. There are 14 people running for the sophomore class senator position.

The sudden need for new representatives has caused some debate about how the elections should be handled. Junior Class President Evan Shaefer suggested the vacancies be announced via e-mail to the senior and sophomore classes and elections be held this week

According to Shaefer, the elections needed to be held quickly.

“I proposed we do it this way because we have a Feb. 2 meeting about commencement, and the senior class president has to be sworn in by Feb. 1 [to attend that meeting],” Shaefer said.

According to SGA’s election code, “All vacant offices shall remain as such until a qualified candidate, requests the SGA to hold a special election for the vacant position.”

SGA decided the two positions should be filled, so the organization didn’t wait for a formal request from a candidate. Previously a senator had gone abroad and her position was left vacant, but in this case that wasn’t an option.

Senior Kaela Phillips, the student body president and student senate president, said every position in SGA should be filled because “every decision made needed to have everyone’s voice heard, and it [needed] to be a voice that represented the sophomore and senior classes.”

The way these positions are being filled will set a precedent for future vacancies in SGA. One suggestion from a senator was to fill the positions with students who were already members of SGA. Other senators said the positions should be open to all members of the respective classes.

Phillips said SGA decided to open the positions to all eligible students in order to be fair.

“I think the overall feeling of the senate was that they wanted it to be a fair process,” she said.

There are several responsibilities that come with both positions. The senior class president oversees the Distinguished Teacher Award, gives a speech at graduation and helps determine who the speaker will be at the graduation ceremony – and these are just some of the responsibilities this position requires. The sophomore class representative must serve on a committee that oversees the budget requests and other day-to-day operations of the student senate.

Shaefer said he was looking forward to the elections.

“It will be nice to get some new ideas, and it will be nice to open it up again for students to get involved,” he said. “I had no idea that there was going to be that much response from [people in] the sophomore and senior classes who would be interested in doing it. I am very happy that there are students who want to take the initiative to get involved on campus.”

Students voted online for the two positions Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The winning candidates will be announced Monday or Tuesday next week.