Story by Anna-JO Stuart, Reporter
The Aquinas College student body gets the opportunity to choose which of their peers will represent them in Student Senate. These student representatives are important, as they are the voice for students when decisions are being made at Aquinas. Thus, who is representing students is quite important.
A democratic election means that student representatives with a majority of votes are representing students, but what happens when a student representative is not able to complete their term during the academic year? According to Annie Newton, academic affairs director of Student Senate, “it is typical to have to fill one to three vacancies throughout the academic year” due to students studying abroad, graduating, etc. This academic year has been an exception as there was a high turnover rate in the fall semester, noted Newton.
Student Senate has a very specific answer for this in their bylaws, available on the Student Senate website. If a Student Representative is unable to complete their term, that representative is to offer at least two nominees to fill their position. Those nominees are then voted on by the remaining class representatives, and the elected nominee becomes the new representative until the academic year ends. If the representative that is leaving office is unable to offer nominees, the Executive Board of the Student Senate will appoint an eligible student themselves.
Though this process is not completely democratic, it does seem to be efficient in filling vacant positions quickly. According to Sarah Cervenan, vice chair of Student Senate, two vacant positions were already filled this semester.