New student senators elected
With nine of 15 Student Senate positions up for election and only one senator re-elected, new faces will comprise the majority of the senate this fall.
The semi-annual Student Senate elections ended on Saturday, Oct. 1, having run for a week. Newly-elected senators include: junior Lindsay Baruffa, junior Peter Collopy, junior John Marquardt, sophomore Colin Jones, sophomore Anthony Osei, senior Adam Vogel, senior Dani Levine, sophomore Brendan Morris and junior Ezra Temko, who was re-elected.
The new senators met on Sunday for senator training. That evening, they attended the weekly Senate plenary session.
“I’m really excited about the new senators,” said College senior Marshall Duer-Balkind, communications coordinator for the Senate, who has served for one semester. “I think they’re all really good people, and Senate is going to do lots of exciting things this year.”
The new senators span a range of classes. Although no first-years were elected, there are three new sophomores, four juniors and two seniors.
Of the 15 Student Senators, four are women and four are people of color.
“Both of those numbers, I think, are tragically low,” said Duer-Balkind. “However, they are also reflective of the numbers of those who ran.”
Elections, which opened Saturday, Sept. 23, lasted one week. 1069 students, roughly 35 percent of the student body, voted --well over the required 20 percent quorum. According to Duer-Balkind, this percentage is comparable to past years when the election has been held on-line and far better than when the elections were conducted by paper ballot.
Although more students vote electronically, the election software has caused problems in the past. Last year, the online ballots got caught in spam mail.
“Senate, I think, learned a lot from the last election,” said Duer-Balkind. “We spent a lot of meetings discussing what happened in last election and talking about how we could do better.”
This semester, to avoid similar problems, Duer-Balkind designed new election software. A small glitch in the software, which Duer-Balkind fixed, at one point required Senate to restart the elections.
“Aside from the initial problem on the website, which got fixed and didn’t hurt anybody’s ballot, it went really smoothly,” Duer-Balkind said of the election.
In addition to appointing students to faculty committees, Senate reviews student proposals and acts as a liaison between students and the administration and faculty.
Thus far this semester, Senate has worked with ResEd on issues of student housing and with residents of Lord-Saunders over the recent sewage leakage problem.
Senate has also already commenced appointing students to faculty committees, which is one of its main responsibilities.
“I think we’re doing a good job,” said Duer-Balkind. “We’ve tried to do a lot of democratic outreach and a lot of students have responded.”
Shozo Kawaguchi, associate dean of community life and faculty advisor to senate, said that he thought that the senate had improved the selection process over the past couple years.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, but I’ve seen change
there,” he said.