Despite being able to campaign in person this year, in contrast to the virtual campaign and election from spring 2020, this election faced a similar problem as the year before: unopposed tickets.
At its April 6 meeting, Student Senate announced the election results of the 99th Student Senate for the 2021-2022 academic year. The executive seats go to junior Bailey Hendrickson serving as president, sophomore Hunter Grantham will serve as vice president, junior Chloe Kallhoff will be the secretary and sophomore Jenna Lee-Johnson will sit as treasurer.
For this election, 517 members of the student body voted for their representatives — garnering 111 more votes than the 2020 election that saw 406 votes and over 100 less votes than the 2019 election that brought in 633 votes.
Hendrickson, who started the sole executive ticket on the 99th Student Senate ballot, is currently the executive secretary but ran to replace senior Kirayle Jones as executive president. Last year, the executive ticket she was on ran with no competitors.
“We always want someone to run against during elections, but was it a bit of a relief that we did have it secured? Yes,” Hendrickson said. “But we always want as many people as possible to participate and serve.”
Grantham, current sophomore class president, ran to take over senior Debrielle Patee-Merrill’s role as the executive vice president. Junior Class Representative Kallhoff ran for secretary, currently held by Hendrickson, and Lee-Johnson ran to replace junior Connor Thompson as the executive treasurer.
Junior Kourtnie Stenwall said that having an unopposed executive ticket and other positions makes it seem like there is no reason for students to vote.
“I feel like it defeats the purpose of voting,” Stenwall said. “I feel like there should be some kind of choice.”
The 98th Student Senate bylaws state that every class must have four representatives. This won’t be a problem for the sophomore class, who has six students running for representative spots, but for the junior class, they fall two people short of being able to meet that four representative requirement. The senior class met the requirement of four people running for the representative spots.
“If in the normal election year, if we don’t get all those spots filled, we are actually able to take nominations from the current senators that are sworn in,” Jones said.
Though it is supposed to be the “backseat” option, it is likely the way that multiple representative spots are going to have to be filled.
On-campus and off-campus positions must have five representatives each. Off-campus representatives had seven students running for that position, but the on-campus representative position only had one student running, leaving four vacant spots that will have to be filled in the upcoming academic year by the sitting senators.
Of the 26 spots that are meant to be filled by the spring elections, six are not going to be filled by vote of the student body and will have to be nominated by the senators next year.
Stenwall said that she didn’t vote in the election because she didn’t know exactly when it was happening.
“I follow some people on social media that are in Student Senate, so I heard about the campaigning, but I didn’t know when or where I was supposed to vote,” Stenwall said.
Other elected candidates to the 99th Student Senate:
Senior Class President: Brady Fritts
Senior Class Representatives: Ryan Shurvington, Lexi Van Winkle and Joseph Etheridge
Junior Class President: Sydney Looney
Junior Class Representative: Kate Caniglia
Sophomore Class President: Nate Brown
Sophomore Class Representatives: Joshua Fyffe, Elizabeth Motazedi and Alison Falkinburg
On-Campus Representative: Kandace Inskip
Off-Campus Representatives: Jillian McNamara, Carson Siebert, Deja Lamb and Devan A. Rohn