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Students elect Halverson, Goettl as new Senate leaders

April 7, 2011

After weeks of campaigning and 32 hours of open polls, the UW-River Falls Student Senate election process for the next academic year is over and students have a new president.

The presidential race was close, but Tyler Halverson beat Jason Keck with 52 percent of the votes, while Keck had 43 percent. Elections Commissioner Patrick Okan said the remaining 29 votes were “write ins.”

Halverson and Okan both said that they were pleased to see clean and ethical campaigns.

“I think that this year really laid the ground work with how elections should be run next year,” added Halverson.

Consistent with his campaign, Halverson said that he has a strong goal to keep tuition affordable and and to treat students fairly. Within his proposal of fair treatment, he wants to author some legislation that would include dues paying organizations with all other student organizations.

Keck, who is the current interim Senate president, lost the election by 54 votes, said [the election] “didn’t go how I wanted it to go, but everything will work out in the end.”

“Jason did extremely well, he had a hard job filling in so quickly after Leigh stepped down,” said Vice President Ashley Goettl. “We are going to miss him as president”

Keck, who was elected into an At-large position, said he plans on applying for a dictatorship next year.

One of the prospects he plans on continuing to persue is addressing the sophomore on campus housing requirement.

Goettl said she is also “really happy” for the new president because Halverson is the most experienced senator on the Senate and that he has earned his place as president.

Goettl, who replaced Keck as vice president this spring, was elected to resume her current position next year, said Okan.

Halverson said he is happy for Goettl and said he thinks that the two of them will make a compatible team.

“For anyone that gets picked, I would encourage them to talk to who else was elected so that they can get to know each other now and begin next year with a running start,” said Okan.

“What I like about the results is that there is going to be a great group of people both new and old,” said Goettl. “It will be a great mix.”

With the seven elected At-Large positions, three will be new to the Senate. There will also be three new coming college representatives, said Okan.

Connor Sparks, who was elected as the College of Business and Economics representative, said he is “elated” with his new position and that he is looking forward to learning more about how the concerns of Student Senate, including the Falcon Promise.

Okan said the ongoings of Senate are not publicized well and that the Senate is not that invovled with the rest of campus, which is reflected in the voter turn out.

According to the official data provided by the University, 6,366 students could have voted on April 4 and 5. However, only 681 students voted for this years election.

Despite this low number Okan said, “I think that everything went outstandingly well.

More (students) would be better, but turn out was as good as you can expect. There is a lot of apathy on this campus, so 10 percent is alright.”

Vanessa Montayne said she had not thought about voting.

Josh Anderson and Rebecca Rudolph both said they did not follow Student Senate enough to vote on the elections.

Alternatively, Michaela Toth said she voted because voting is important for students if they are not active on Senate themselves.

“We are directly effected with what is happening at this campus,” said Toth. “This is your world and I think it is foolish to write off elections.”

Halverson said next year he plans on taking steps to increase voter turnout, perhaps by sponsoring a debate between candidates.

“On a personal level, I have a lot of thanks to give out, with votes and support, said Halverson.

“Support has gotten me to where I am now, even for those who didn’t support me, I hope to gain their support as well.”