All eligible candidates elected in spring MSA Senate election
One potential senator, Joe Davis, was ruled ineligible because he is an incoming MU freshman.
Jul. 21, 2016
This year’s spring Missouri Student Association Senate academic college elections saw 20 new senators elected. Every candidate who ran was elected because there were more open seats in every college than candidates.
Senators can be elected two ways: through academic college elections, in which students elect senators to represent their schools, or through at-large elections, in which Senate elects additional senators. Academic college elections take place once a semester, while at-large elections take place at the Senate speaker’s discretion.
Board of Elections Commissioners Chairwoman Bridget Everson wanted to promote campaigning in her newly written senatorial election handbook. While the MSA bylaws call for a creation of a Senate election handbook every year, the practice has lapsed in recent years.
Everson said that because of an increase in campaigning, there were more votes cast, though she could not say definitively without the exact numbers from last semester. However, of the almost 28,000 undergraduate students enrolled, only 519, less than 2 percent, participated in the election.
Arts and Science had 224 votes cast, Business had 116, Engineering had 105 and Journalism had 74. Four colleges — Health, Education, Natural Resources and Nursing — had open seats but no applicants, based on the most current Senate roster. None of those colleges have representatives in Senate at this time.
“I think the current climate in MSA requires students to know what’s going on,” Everson said. “Because we’re in this developing and changing situation, I think it was really important that students aren’t just getting the vote.missouri.edu link and picking the one friend that they know and picking random names for the rest.”
This year’s election process also included a different sign up method for the ballot due to revelations last semester that five students on the ballot did not sign up to run themselves. This semester, students signed up through a secure OrgSync login.
“That was the biggest initiative,” Everson said. “We wanted to make sure that people weren’t signed up just because people could use the Google Doc to mess around.”
This election cycle didn’t pass completely without issue, however. One potential senator, Joe Davis, was ruled ineligible halfway through the first day of voting because he is an incoming freshman. According to the MSA bylaws, he is not currently a member of the association.
Davis’ running mate and platform-sharer Dylan Cain was conflicted over the decision. He said he understood that because Davis had yet to take an MU class, he shouldn’t be representing the college. At the same time, he thought the decision made other incoming freshmen underrepresented.
“He’s an MU student, just without any classes,” Cain said. “So in that sense it did make me a little irritated that he couldn’t do it.”
Davis was also frustrated by the decision, citing the ambiguity of the MSA bylaws and constitution as an issue. While the bylaws state that students must be current members of the association to serve, they do not specify if they also need to be current members to sign up.
“I feel disappointed,” Davis said in an email. “I felt that the bylaws were ambiguous and did not specifically say that an incoming freshman can't participate in spring senate elections. I don't understand the phrase ‘member of the association’ and their interpretation of that. I guess that is the same as attending classes. I wish their bylaws/constitution were more clear about that guideline.”
Despite her ruling, Everson also stated that she hopes Davis runs in the at-large election. She thinks that anyone who is so eager to run in high school will make a good senator. Davis also said he plans to run in the at-large elections.
“I am not offended or angry at MSA at the BEC,” Davis said in the email. “I regret the way the elections went, no matter who made what mistakes. I really look forward to participating in MSA Senate - with my peer and elected senator Dylan Cain - when I am eligible. Fiscal frugality, efficient energy, and food programs are a few things I'm excited to be an advocate for on behalf of Mizzou students.”
Edited by Emily Gallion | firstname.lastname@example.org