SGA will hold special election to fill open Student Senate positions


Selena Favela

The SGA cabinet gives their officer reports during the first session Wednesday, Aug. 22.

At the first Student Government Association meeting of the semester, the Student Senate passed a resolution calling for a special election that would fill certain vacant positions in the senate.

The resolution, authored by Business Senator Anisia Brumley, calls for a special election to fill vacant freshman senator seats and newly introduced underserved populaces senator seats.

A previously passed constitutional amendment added underserved student populaces seats to the Student Senate, but Brumley said there was debate about whether the legislative journal would allow the appointment of new seats.

“There’s been a question rising as to whether [the new seats] should be appointed or not because they have never been filled before this semester,” Brumley said.

“To avoid that conflict, we’d rather go through the longer process of electing them.”

People who belong to an “underserved” population, as defined by the university’s Strategic Enrollment Plan, will be eligible to run for the underserved student populaces seats.

“The supreme court advised that … these incoming seats, since they’ve never existed before, should go through a general election in spring before they are considered vacant for appointment,” Student Government Association President Kenon Brinkley said.

Freshman senators have traditionally been appointed by the student body president, subject to senate approval.

“We added freshmen to [the resolution] because they’re going to be getting appointed at the same time, so it gives them an opportunity to go through an election process,” Brumley said. “Also, the freshmen who step up and say ‘I’m willing to go through an election’ are the students who are little bit more dedicated and willing to put more work into SGA.”

If all the freshman positions are not filled by a special election, Brinkley said the senate would use the traditional appointment process to fill them.

During the debate portion for the resolution, multiple senators expressed concerns over holding an election that only freshmen would be able to vote in.

“For freshman senator seats, I believe it’s probably better to have appointments since we don’t have any empirics on special elections, we don’t know what the turnout will be like,” At-Large Senator Zubair Khan said.

“Even if only five people voted in the election, the senate would have to accept that result,” Khan said.

Khan motioned for an amendment that would remove freshman senator seats from the special election, but it ultimately failed.

Now that the resolution has passed, SGA will begin the selection process for an election commission, which involves the appointment of commissioners by Brinkley. Appointees for the election commission must then be approved by the Student Senate.

Once the election commission is formed, it will be up to them to decide on election guidelines. Each session of SGA is only allowed to select one election commission, meaning that the same commission will form the guidelines for the spring 2019 election.