Presidential candidates should focus on issues
April 7, 2006
Elections for the new president of the 2006-2007 UW-River Falls Student Senate will be held April 11 and 12. Petitions for candidacy are currently being accepted.
As a graduating senior, current Senate President Nick Cluppert will not be running for re-election.
To become an eligible candidate for Senate, a person must obtain 100 signatures from currently enrolled students, according to the election rules prepared by the Student Senate Finance Committee.
The purpose of the candidates completing a petition is to ensure the potential candidate is sincere and dedicated in their decision to run for office, said Vicki Hajewski, Senate advisor.
It is also “a way for them to get out and meet other students,” Hajewski said.
Hajewski said in the four years she has been advising the Senate, there have been as many as four candidates running for the position of president, and there has never been an uncontested election.
In a case when more than two candidates run, a primary must be held to narrow the candidates down to two.
This process is used for multiple reasons.
“It allows students that are not in the top running for a position to save their money first of all, instead of continuing to run a strong campaign,” said Senator Cali Smithback.
There are both new and old issues that Hajewski said would influence voters during the election.
“[There are] a lot of things that will create a lot of controversy and debate,” Hajewski said.
The possibility of banning smoking on campus will be a very prominent new issue along with skateboarding on campus, disability services and the new grading system, Hajewski said. Student fees will most likely be an old issue that will still be highlighted.
“It is hard to say what will be the big issues. It kind of develops as the campaigns go on,” Cluppert said. “I think one issue we may see debated is seg. fees, since there was a lot of debate in the Student Senate recently, and also the upcoming state budget.”
In the past, voter turnout for Senate elections has been a problem.
A major problem is the lack of student knowledge of issues.
“I think that as far as voting on this campus, many times students don’t even really know what Student Senate on a college campus is, nor do they know the issues that are discussed in a Senate meeting,” Smithback said. “I think that Senate does a poor job when it comes to educating the students of the issues on campus, and many of these issues do not matter to a majority of the students.”
Candidates will continue to use old methods of campaigning such as sidewalk chalk, posters and ads in the Student Voice, Hajewski said.
Facebook also is a method being used this year.
“Facebook has been a big thing to help increase knowledge of issues on this campus,” Smithback said. “Many students are exposed to only one side of issues because people are just looking for support, however, I do believe that Facebook will help to remind people as to when voting is, and a quicker link to the voting site.”