Twelve senators were elected to student government April 24 to fill 16 vacant seats for the 2017-2018 school year.
About 12 percent of the student body voted in the senate election, which took place online from April 19-24, said Director of Elections Justice Crudup. There are 6,094 eligible voters, meaning that about 740 students cast votes in this election.
The student body passed a proposal April 3 to restructure the senate, which reduced the total number of senators from 29 to 16. The four remaining senate seats – one underclassman seat and three student organizations seats will be filled this fall so that incoming freshmen and transfer students can run.
Freshman political science and economics major Alex Ballard, who was elected as the Wilkinson College senator with 83 out of 122 votes, said that he thinks reducing the total number of senators with the restructure amendment will lead to fewer resignations this year.
“I think the changes we’ve made with the constitutional election will help with that in ensuring the most passionate, caring individuals have a better chance getting those positions because they’re campaigning more because they want it more,” said Ballard, who served as an at-large senator this year.
Six of the newly-elected senators ran uncontested to fill the upperclassman senate seat and seats for the College of Performing Arts, Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, School of Communication and Argyros School of Business and Economics.
Not including the student organizations seat, which allows the entire student body to vote, the three senate seats with the most eligible voters were uncontested. The upperclassman seat had 3,411 eligible voters, the Argyros School of Business and Economics seat had 1,475 eligible voters and the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts seat had 1,182 eligible voters.
In senate elections, students can only vote for senators that represent the school that they hold a major in, but the entire student body can vote for student organizations senators.
“I actually scheduled all of my classes around having specific times when I could hold office hours and make sure my schedule was clear on Friday, obviously, so I could attend meetings,” Harris said. “There’s no scheduling issues, I planned it out ahead of time.”
Sophomore screen acting and peace studies major Jackie Palacios, who currently is a College of Performing Arts senator, was elected to the second student organizations senator with 207 out of 643 votes.
Courtney Wong, a freshman pharmacy major who was elected as School of Pharmacy senator, received all 15 votes cast for the seat. She ran against write-in candidate Dong Yeop Kim, a freshman pharmacy major who received zero votes.
Ansley Wong, a junior integrated educational studies major, said that she hopes that the new senate structure will ensure that senators understand the commitments of the position.
“I hope that we do see the (change in senate) structure help in making sure those who are coming on to the senate are passionate about what they’re doing,” Ansley Wong said.
Ansley Wong is the current College of Educational Studies senator and was re-elected into the same seat, receiving 41 out of the 46 votes cast.
Alyssa Nowlen, who was elected Schmid College of Science and Technology senator, received 41 out of the 70 votes cast for the seat.
Six of the newly-elected senators ran uncontested to fill the upperclassman senate seat, as well as seats for the College of Performing Arts, Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, School of Communication and Argyros School of Business and Economics
This election comes after 11 student government members – 10 of whom were senators – resigned from their positions this academic year.