From the Editor
As sick as I am of talking about Student Senate (or the U.S. Senate for that matter), both inside and outside of the paper, some of my predecessors made a couple of interesting points and voting in the Student Senate election this year certainly felt anticlimactic. First of all, knowing you are leaving Dickinson for good in a little over a month offers minimal reason to get excited about the election. Moreover, of the handful of things I could vote for as a senior, including cabinet members and senior representatives for all-college committee senators, only one position was contested. Aren’t non-competitive, especially uncontested, elections usually trademarks of repressive regimes? Clearly, I jest and I’m not saying that Senate runs a coercive camp or actively blocks fresh faces from participating by any means. I think it’s fair to say we have seen a profound difference in the work that the Senate has been doing since the start of Student Senate President Austin Farneth’s tenure.
However, we need to ask if the lack of candidates, especially for positions on the cabinet and all-college committees, arises because there really aren’t enough qualified candidates, because students are unaware of the open positions, because students are generally too lazy to participate in Senate or because students are just so disillusioned with the Senate that they won’t even run?
I’m sure it’s several of these factors and more, and it is encouraging that there was a record high number of freshmen running this year and rising seniors do not elect representatives until the fall. Additionally, it is important to note that this is not the first year that we haven’t had a choice as voters for the arguably more critical positions of who sits on cabinet and who serves as an all-college committee senator. That being said, I think based on this year’s election there is room for improvement, so I present one take-away point from each of the two editors before me who chose to write on Senate elections. Though a few years old, these points are still relevant in our discussion of Senate elections:
1. “Student Senate, will not however, be able to effectively represent you if you do not do your part and either run for office or vote in the upcoming election,” Alec Johnson
As tempting as it may be to blame all the Senate problems on the institution itself, change cannot be made and progress achieved if you do not participate in the process. It is discouraging, though not surprising given the non-competitive nature of many of the big positions, that there was very low voter turnout.
2. “I believe that led well, the Senate is an instrumental mechanism of change on our campus, but to be led well, we must elect qualified office holders. And to elect qualified office holders, we must be informed about the intentions and qualifications of the candidates,” John Jones
John’s point is more about the mode of student campaigning at Dickinson—a process that definitely needs to be more substantive and less about the colorful posters. A key point to keep in mind from John’s quote is that there is a burden on you to ask additional questions of the candidates who are running on their intentions and qualifications. These questions were not prevalent during this election, but hopefully that can change.