With all of the hype behind the Students Association Presidential elections, it is important to not lose sight of the SA Senate and how it runs its elections.
Senators ideally serve a vital role on campus as representatives of the student body. In order for senators to become a useful resource for the students, they need to become more prominent and approachable. To accomplish this, the senate needs to do a few things.
It should increase advertising for upcoming elections, find a more efficient way to fill seats when senators do not finish their term and all senators should hold office hours.
Candidates draw signs and hang posters for themselves, but the senate should also advertise the elections so that people know the kinds of things they should talk about with their senators.
In order to fulfill its representational role, the Senate needs to find a way to fill seats of senators who do not finish their terms in office. Currently, there are four empty seats left by senators who did not finish their terms, and there needs to be an active effort for senate to fill these positions. Overlapping senators, like at-large senators, have the added work of over-representing that one part of the student body.
The standard policy is to offer the position to the candidate with the next highest number of votes in contested elections. However, when the race is uncontested, there is no system to replace the empty chair and hence no one to represent the larger group of students that the senator was representing.
Sight has been lost of what makes a good senator. It isn?t just attending the mandatory meetings. Senators must represent the needs and wishes of the students who elected them. They need to go out and find what these needs are and make sure people know to go to them with problems. They are there to be a resource for students.
Increased efficiency and student support will also drive all senators to work harder as they will be held more accountable for their actions or lack there of. Maybe then SA Senate elections will become more than just a popularity contest.