Student Senate Elections

The 97th Student Senate Executive Board is (left to right) Secretary Abha Niraula, President Asma Hassan, Vice President Kirayle Jones, Treasurer Debrielle Patee-Merril.

The election results of the 97th Student Senate Executive Board were announced at the April 9 meeting.

Students elected President Asma Hassan, Vice President Kirayle Jones, Treasurer Debrielle Patee-Merril and Secretary Abha Niraula, who all ran on together on the same ticket with the slogan “for change.”

Voting was open to students April 1-5, and 633 students voted.

The vice president and secretary ran for the positions unopposed, the president and treasurer positions had two candidates each.

Hassan said she hopes to bring accurate representation and change to Student Senate as president. A goal the group campaigned together with was to make senators more accessible to students and easy to contact. Hassan also wants to recognize exceptional students on campus.

Jones said his primary goal as vice president is to have a legacy of inclusion and bring students to Student Senate either in elected positions or as associate members.

“I think Student Senate is one of the biggest organizations on campus, but I feel like we’re not reaching out to the students as much,” Jones said. “I want to bridge the gap between the students and us as elected positions.”

Patee-Merril said she ran for treasurer to give experiences to students they normally wouldn’t have because of the financial burden of student loans.

“The biggest thing I can do as treasurer is support student organizations in a financial way, whether that be providing opportunities for students to get co-curricular experiences and go to different conferences, or to just follow their passions,” Patee-Merril said.

A double major in psychology and human services, Hassan heard about Student Senate as a freshman at the student organization fair and was elected as a freshman class representative. She later served as a sophomore class representative, the organizational affairs committee chair and the executive secretary.

Hassan said running for Student Senate president has been a dream of hers since she was first elected as a class representative.

“I saw (former Student Senate President) Hannah Sears lead, and I was like, ‘Damn, I really want to lead the same way she’s leading,’” Hassan said. “I give everything to her and she’s pushed me to run here.”

Secondary education major Jones was encouraged to join Student Senate by a senator his freshman year and was elected as class representative. Jones serves as an off-campus representative and a governmental affairs committee co-chair.

“Since my first semester here on campus, I’ve always been interested and in love with Student Senate,” Jones said.

Jones said he hopes to gain leadership experience and skills as an executive member.

“Ultimately, my goal is to be the president someday of this organization,” Jones said. “So I just kind of want to keep working with the leadership that we had in the past and keep picking up things they had and help me moving forward.”

Patee-Merril is a double major in accounting and geography, and she is a member of Bearcat Steppers, Alpha Sigma Alpha and College Republicans and serves as a student ambassador.

Patee-Merril said she joined Student Senate after attending the legislative reception in Jefferson City her freshman year and was inspired by the senators she met there.

Patee-Merril said the biggest thing she brings to the treasurer position is a sense of approachability to an often intimidating role.

“I don’t want anyone to be afraid to ask me for help,” Patee-Merril said. “Whether you’re an organization or a single student with any questions, everyone can come to me comfortably.”

Niraula, a double major in psychology and creative writing, is an assistant complex director of South Complex and the president of the International Student Organization.

Niraula said she joined Student Senate because she had friends who were senators and encouraged her to join.

Hassan said she wants the legacy of the 97th Student Senate to be representation and recognition. She said she hopes to push the role of Student Senate and give more to students.

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