By: Micah Price ~Staff Writer~
The SGA senate election took place last week, and the winning candidates have been announced. The senators-elect are: Anthony Luster, Brennan Mullins, Chris Harding, Jacob Jansen, Johnny Srsich, Michael Krauza, Sarah Ochieng, Sunny Guo and Sylvia Chemweno. In addition, the winning write in candidates are: Benmun Damul, Brandon Luther, Dan Celani, Ethan Alter, Johnese Sherron, Jonathan Pickman, Josh Tye, Luis Gomez, McKenzie Lauver, Owen Grieves and Valerie Okpadile.
The voter turnout was about 9 percent of the undergraduate population, with 420 votes cast. First-year student Jacob Jansen expressed his hopes for the coming term.
“I hope to make legitimate change in making printing more efficient, as well as keeping residence halls open later,” Jansen said. Jansen said he will propose printing stations in each residence hall so that students will not have to leave their halls to print, as well as create a system in which students can swipe into any dorm until 11 p.m. or midnight.
“It means a lot to represent the freshman class because they are a class that rarely has its voice heard, and I am in a position where I can make that change for the freshmen,” Jansen said. Sophomore candidates Zeina Farhat and Shelby Lauter were disqualified due to their failure to turn in documentation of their campaign spending to the Board of Elections on time. Both Lauter and Farhat served on Senate last year.
Farhat voiced frustration that write-in candidates who didn’t have to turn in any documentation were given Senate positions. “It is my fault because I didn’t turn in a budget, but I think the one thing that’s disappointing for me is that write-ins who didn’t have to do anything get to take my spot and that the majority of Senate now is writein candidates who didn’t have to do anything to get the position. They just had to be written in at least one time and accept their nomination,” she said.
Farhat also expressed concern about the write-in candidates’ lack of experience in Senate. “People who have no experience with the clubs are now going to be in charge of distributing over $800,000 to the campus, and they have no idea what they’re doing.” Farhat said she missed the deadline to turn in the documentation by 45 minutes.
“The Board of Elections code says you must turn in your budget by 4 p.m. and they texted me at 4:30 and said that if I emailed my budget right then then I could still be a candidate. I checked my phone at 4:45,” she said. “If you’re going to let people who didn’t go to a Senate meeting have a couple extra weeks to get their verification forms then give someone who forgot to turn in their budget an hour extra, especially when there’s absolutely no interest in SGA anymore as an organization on campus.”
Farhat said she forgot to turn in the documentation since she did not spend any money campaigning. Lauter said she also did not have any spending to report. “It sucks. I want to be a senator, and I can’t because I forgot to turn in my $0 budget,” Farhat said.