Story by Austin Cannon
Student Senate focused on issues concerning the recent executive officer elections during its meeting Thursday.
Sen. Anh-Ton Dang brought up the issue, citing concerns he had received from students.
“I guess after the election I was kind of disappointed,” Dang said. “I’ve gotten a lot of concerns from residents and students alike, saying that they were getting judged, ignored or criticized for who they voted for. And it’s just kind of one of those things where that’s not really the environment that we want for our campus, especially during elections.”
Earlier in the week, Vice President for Student Life candidate and current Senate Technology Liaison Joey Gale had been disqualified from the race for office. He then appealed the decision, was reinstated and won the election.
Dang went on to voice his concerns over students not taking the elections seriously and how he thought the election was being viewed as a popularity contest between fraternities. He was worried that this environment would deter students from showing interest in running for a senatorial position.
The issue quickly sparked discussion from multiple senators.
Sen. Breanna Thompson said Senate should encourage candidates to take a positive course, focusing on how they can better the university.
“I really think we just really need to encourage the candidates to stay positive and to stay focused on what their platform is, not going at each other, no matter who it might be,” Thompson said.
Sen. Stephen Slade introduced the idea of a Senate-sponsored event that would help students familiarize themselves with the candidates, mentioning a possible speed-dating themed event called “Canid-dating.”
Drake University Dean of Students Sentwali Bakari posed a question asking if the Election Commission had addressed student concerns fairly.
Sen. Daniel Pfeifle attributed confusion as the central issue students had with the Election Commission’s decision-making, how a candidate could be disqualified and then be reinstated.
“It wasn’t so much the process of how the Election Commission made decisions but that those kind of decisions could be made … ” Pfeifle said.
There was only one item of new business Thursday, approving the Drake Outdoor Leadership Club as a travel organization for next year, meaning that it would be able to include travel expenses in its funding requests. The motion was passed with no opposition.