Seeing candidates she knows running in the Student’s Association (SA) freshman elections this week has first-year Meghan Cerino in high spirits.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to vote for my peers who I think will make a difference in the UR community,” she said while on her way to hang out with her hallmates.
The general feeling among Cerino’s classmates, however, stands in stark contrast to her enthusiasm.
Some are completely unaware there are freshman elections for SA Senate and Class and Hall Councils on Thursday and Friday. Many who are aware of the elections are unfamiliar with the who is being elected for what, and have very little knowledge of the process as a whole.
The only people who seem to know what’s going on are the candidates and those close to them—a concerning state of affairs even to freshmen who aren’t in the loop.
“I hope that those that are voting are informed enough to make educated decisions on who will represent the freshman class this year,” freshman Mike Tufano said before admitting, “I’m not well informed.”
When asked about the lack of familiarity with the freshman fall elections, junior Jake Braniecki, SA Elections and Rules Committee Chair, stressed the importance of freshmen getting involved.
“These people are going to represent you and your voice to the administration,” he said. “The most important thing is to read people’s platforms. If you have any questions, you should reach out to the candidates.”
He continued, “I hope people realize our Senate has a lot of power to do things people want to get done,” adding that students should attend Senate meetings.
The Class of 2020 will elect four freshman senators to the Senate on Thursday and Friday. They will also have the opportunity to elect both a Hall Council and a Class Council cabinet.
SA officials said interest in Senate has been high this year, despite the freshman class’ general unawareness of the elections, with solid showings across the three mandatory SA info sessions.
Prospective candidates were required to express their candidacy by noon on Sept. 8 by providing the Elections Committee with a portrait and platform.
The SA Elections and Rules Committee has put in place specific rules governing the elections. Violations of these rules result in point violations, which can lead to a partial or full ban on the campaigning ability of a candidate or, for serious violations, result in a candidate being disqualified from the race.
Current senators are enthusiastic about the upcoming election.
The freshman class is full of talented, kind people,” Senator Nick Foti, a sophomore, said. “I’m excited to have them at the table since they will bring a new, unique perspective.”
A full list of all 19 freshman candidates and their platforms is available online at http://sa.rochester.edu/savote/elecsenate.html.
Voting begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15 and runs until 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16. Voting can be accessed at sa.rochester.edu/savote.