By SARAH DEAKINS
Thelmo announced the eleven candidates running for open positions on the Senior Executive Board on Wednesday night at the weekly meeting in the Hannon Room. Campaigning has officially started and candidates are expected to follow the appropriate guidelines outlined in their meeting with Elections Chair Raymond Price.
“I’m stunned because this is more candidates than we’ve had in the last two elections combined,” says Price. As a result of the constitutional changes passed last week, Price and the current executive board were unsure how many applicants they would receive. “I think the student body is beginning to see the amount of influence Thelmo has on both students and senior staff and understandably students seem eager to get involved,” says Vice President of Senate Affairs Alli Shea.
After determining if candidates were eligible, the following eleven students are running for the four open positions:
President: Andy Chan ‘14, Ted Blewett ‘13, David Bowers 15’, Rob Montgomery 14’
Vice President of Senate Affairs: Stephen Cash 14’, Christina Robichaud 14’, Ye “Amy” Yao 15’
Vice President of University Relations: Zach French 14’, Jack Holby 14’, and Alexander Hoimes 14’
Secretary: Iris Longo 13’
Price is pleased with the constitutional changes made for the upcoming election and is happy that the Thelmo senate was able to agree. Amendments to the Thelmo constitution regarding the election now require students to have a GPA of a least a 2.70 and to be in good standing with the university. The requirements prohibit students with major judicial violations from running. In addition, students cannot have more than three minor judicial infractions and cannot have been previously condemned for academic dishonesty.
“The average GPA at St. Lawrence is a 2.90. As an educator, I believe the primary reason for being at school is to do your school work,” says Dean Tolliver the Thelmo faculty advisor. He explains that while student activities are important for students, they are secondary to school work. In light of the constitutional changes, he expresses his support.
Skidmore College, a peer institution and similar in size to St. Lawrence, does not have a GPA requirement for the student government’s students but leaves the decision up to the student body. Skidmore College Student Government President Jonathan Zeidan explains that students applying must obtain up to 200-250 signatures as opposed to Thelmo’s 30-40 from the student body dependent on the position they intend to run for. “Elections are such an important part of campus and student government is integral to the school so it’s important that they’re run efficiently,” says Zeidan.
Tolliver argues that the GPA requirement is only exclusionary to the people who must spend more time on their studies. “If we were putting the GPA requirement at 3.0 or higher, than it would be out of reach with the average at 2.90. To have an academically elite group running would not be representative but I would argue that a 2.70 is fair,” says Tolliver. “It might be an exclusive policy but I would point out that this is the first year we’ve done it and it’s a record year for applications,” says Price.
Constitutional amendments also included an elimination of paper ballots. “We are moving to strictly electronic voting and we’ll be outsourcing to companies until IT can work with us directly,” explains Shea. Due to past controversies in elections, electronic voting is the most efficient way to elect candidates. Shea also says candidates are prohibited from being present when students are voting. “However, candidates are permitted to submit a description along with a photo to be submitted to have next to the voting ballot online,” she says.
Tolliver explains that the constitutional amendments are a direct reaction to the events that happened last year. He expresses regret for Thelmo during the election in 2010 because Thelmo was not on top of having a fair and open election. “The changes are nothing but positive,” says Tolliver adding that there is more upside to the modifications.
Due to the high number of candidates, debates have been divided into two nights. Presidential debates will be held Monday, November 14 in the Winston Room and all other positions on Wednesday, November 16. “Ultimately the people that will decide the outcome of the election are you the students by choosing to hear the candidates and vote,” says Price. If you see any problems or feel uncomfortable with a candidate’s campaigning, report to Raymond Price or e-mail email@example.com.