Senate Results Posted, Runoff in Progress
After countless e-mail alerts and campaign posters, the fall Student Senate elections are over and the results for the 11 open Senate spots are in.
After last year’s anemic turnout, it seems that life has been once again injected into the student body politic. Twenty-four candidates ran for Senate and around 1000 students cast over 4,300 votes, four times the number cast in the elections of spring 2007. These numbers point toward vastly increased student interest in the Senate.
Many speculate that this increase may be partly because of the ease with which students were able to vote. Prompted by e-mail reminders, many Obies took the time to go onto the website and select the candidates that they wished to represent them in the coming year. The experience, according to College sophomore David Petrick, was both “interactive and invigorating.”
College senior Colin Jones was re-elected for the third time with a resounding 458 votes, over 100 votes more than the second place finisher, College senior and senatorelect Ian Hilburger. Jones will now be serving as SFC co-chair and Senate Liaison in the coming year.
Jones applauded the fact that “for the first time in recent memory, we have representatives from the Con (Lillie Chilen) as well as from the freshman class (College first-year Luke Squire).”
College junior Justin Brogden, founder of the Reform Oberlin Student Senate group, was also elected to the Senate, but was the only one of the five ROSS-affiliated candidates to win a Senate seat.
The members of the newly-elected Senate claimed in their election statements that they are ready to start solving problems that have plagued the Senate and the College for years, such as allocation of funds, College-Conservatory relations, support for club sports and increasing Oberlin’s diversity, as well as for any new issues that may spring up.
One issue is still left to be resolved. In the final tally of votes, juniors Matthew O’Connell and Marc Shinn-Krantz both received 189 votes, tying for 11th place. With only 11 spots open, this presents a problem that must be addressed by the Interim Senate. In October 2006, the Senate faced an identical dilemma and opted to hold a run-off election; there is a runoff between the two going on now.
Despite the smoothness of the election, it was not perfect. Though turnout is up from previous years, only one-third of the student body voted for its elected representatives. Newly elected Senator and senior Louis Grube, however, feels optimistic: “It seems like Senate is the new cool thing.”
Oberlin’s new student senators are, from most to fewest votes garnered, Colin Jones, Ian Hilburger, Nancy Nguyen, Sara Green, Luke Squire, Louis Grube, Ben Klebanoff, Lillie Chilen, Justin Brogden and Kate Riley.
A run-off election between Matthew O’Connell and Marc Shinn-Krantz began at midnight on Wednesday and will end at 12:01 p.m. on Sunday, or when 20 percent of the student body has voted, whichever occurs first.