From all corners of campus, Wildcats gathered Friday to meet the new student senators who will serve as next year’s Weber State University legislative branch.
“I think that everybody that got elected today is going to do an awesome job as senators next year,” said non-traditional student candidate Larry Robinson about this year’s legislative elections.
Active campaigning for the legislative elections began March 30 and ended on Friday with the announcement of 22 new student senators.
Along with five days of student government campaigning, grievances and sanctions were also issued to a few candidates during the legislative campaign.
During the week, the WSUSA elections committee addressed grievances filed towards two Hispanic candidates, Andrea Mancilla and Jackeline Bedoya Wilkinson.
The committee also issued several sanctions to candidates Jarrod Mau, Juhi Dubal, Slim Khalifa and Larry Robinson who failed to hand in their spending forms before the deadline.
According to the election rules, failure to hand in spending forms and receipts on time resulted in docking 25 percent of total votes during the time period their forms were not handed in.
However, out of the four candidates who were sanctioned, Robinson was the only one who lost votes based on the rule. According to the final results, Robinson lost five votes out of his 56 vote total, adjusting the final tally to 51 votes. He lost to his opponent Tarl Langham by 11 votes.
“The guy I was running against is great and he’ll do a great job,” said Robinson, “But I feel as though there are a lot of things within the elections committee that needs to change.”
Robinson felt his sanction was based on lack of communication from both parties. One of the issues he said he ran into was not getting his photograph posted on the board during the elections, which he said left him with an “unfair disadvantage” at the beginning of his campaign.
However, he said the overall elections went really well, despite his penalty.
“The whole Senate process was actually really good. I think it was a learning experience, and I appreciate the fact that I was able to run and it taught me a lot,” he said.
Although the other three candidates had a 25 percent sanction applied to their campaign, they did not lose any votes because there were not enough votes during their sanction time to be docked, said Sheldon Cheshire, coordinator of student leadership programs.
“What happened was there was a lower amount of votes for that period of time that votes were being cast. So because of that, there was no penalty of votes for the other three candidates,” he said.
Despite all the sanctions and grievances, the elections committee chair Melissa Reese said the legislative elections went well this year because the elections committee made sure the rules were made clear.
As the chair, her purpose was to make sure candidates knew the expectations of their campaign and the consequences that could follow if rules were broken. She said this year’s legislative elections went smoothly.
“We had a few things happen, but overall I think that candidates understood the rules and followed them,” she said.
After triple-checking the vote count that morning, the Elections Committee announced the 2015-2016 student Senate body shorty after noon in the Shepherd Union building.
According to Cheshire, the next year’s student Senate will be looking into new changes. One of those changes will be implementing more student body input and voter participation.
Cheshire said tasking this new student senate to come up with new ideas to improve the legislative branch should be “the first order of business.” However, he is eager to start next year with a new branch.
“I am excited to find out what kinds of things are going to be put into place and what kinds of ideas the new student senators are going to come up with to make next year even better,” he said.
Here is the new student Senate for next year’s legislative branch:
African American: Jennifer Wyllie
American Indian: Shai-anne Nalder
Arts and Humanities: Maria Huerta
Asian: Juhi Dubal
Athletic: Terrell Womack
Honors/Bachelor’s of Integrated Studies: Alexis Jackson
Business: Samuel Hobbs
College of Applied Science and Technology: Jared Smith
Davis: Haley Tomney
Disabilities: Cavan Cochrane
Education: Carson Smith
Graduate: Maria Georgiou
Health: Chelsea Bybee
Hispanic: Jackeline Bedoya Wilkinson
International: Hasan Nezam
Pacific Islander: Tyson Edwards
Residence Life: Jayme Simpson
Science: Stephanie Mitts
Social Science: Andrea Salcedo
Veterans: Dean E. Austin
Traditional: Amber Fast
Non-traditional: Tarl Langham