Executive team running unopposed in spring senate elections
This spring’s student senate elections may be less of a “horse race” and more a horse trot.
The executive team of David Kuenzi and Alicia Smit will be winning 100 percent of the votes cast next Thursday and Friday, as they are running unopposed to become Calvin’s next student body president and executive vice president.
Neither candidate has been on senate before, and their election would mark the first executive team with no prior senate experience.
Despite the lack of opposition, Kuenzi and Smit will still have to accumulate a total of at least 500 votes to be deemed eligible to serve. But what will happen if the votes don’t accumulate remains uncertain — there is no direct course of action written into student senate’s constitution.
Current executive vice president, Josiah Sinclair, said that if the team does not tally 500 votes, current senate would have to deliberate and make a decision.
“What that [decision] will look like, I have no idea,” he said.
This unique situation has not altered Kuenzi and Smit’s campaign. In fact, Smit said that she would have loved the competition.
“It’s unfortunate,” she said. “Regardless, we’re still working hard on our campaign and we want the student body to know that we take this job very seriously.”
Sinclair noted that running alone might actually be more difficult than it would be without the competition.
“In some ways it will be harder because having two teams raises the profile of the election,” he said.
Smit agreed saying, “Since we’re the only ones running, students might not have a lot of interest in voting, which is exactly why we still plan on running a great campaign.”
Kuenzi and Smit had not even considered the possibility of running unopposed, having only heard confirmation of this condition at the beginning of the week; however, Kuenzi was certain that the election would remain legitimate.
“The fact remains that Alicia and I still need at least 500 votes to win the positions. Such a number represents strong support from the student body and is certainly something that we must work for,” he said.
Sungjin Yoo, a senior at Calvin, was concerned with the lack of student interest, especially in light of the school’s ongoing prioritization process.
“Because [the students] show a lack of interest, they have no right to complain about any decisions that will be made,” he said.
Yoo added that the executive team is the voice of the students, and the student body needs their advocacy more than ever in this time of uncertainty.
“It’s up to the students to decide whether they want to make a difference and whether they’re willing to invest the time and effort to bring about change,” he said.
Indeed, there has been limited interest in all senate positions for the upcoming election. There are only five people running for six senator positions, and four running for the three cabinet positions.
Election to these positions is also contingent on the candidate breaking the 500-vote threshold, and any vacant seat will be appointed to first-year students who have met the criteria.
Sinclair said it was unfortunate that more students didn’t apply, and that a number of current senators are either too young or are studying abroad next year, causing a “perfect storm” for limited competition.