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​UCS, UFB election process begins for prospective candidates

Information sessions provide campaign timeline, position overviews

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Undergraduate Council of Students’ Elections Board held three information sessions this week for prospective candidates, marking the beginning of the spring election process for UCS and the Undergraduate Finance Board.

The information sessions were held to help “make sure that everybody that’s potentially going to run has the same information … and to answer clarifying questions,” said Kathryn Stack ’19, UCS elections board co-chair.

Students considering running for office must attend one information session and will not be officially considered candidates until a meeting scheduled for March 14.

A student interested in running for chair of student wellness, a UCS position that aims to enhance health services, mental health and sexual assault prevention resources on campus, said that the information session added a personal element to the start of the election process.

The information session “could’ve been done online,” said the student. “But I guess this kind of makes it more … human,” so students can “see what (they’re) getting into in person.”

Individuals interviewed by The Herald who had attended meetings could not be named due to eligibility requirements for potential UCS candidates.

Another student, interested in running for chair of student activities, said serving in this role would provide the opportunity to increase student engagement with UCS resources.

“I’ve realized that even in college, (student government) can be really fun and fulfilling,” the student said. “I think when students know more about (the student activities committee) we can get more student groups involved.”

Last year, the races for UCS president, vice president and three UCS chair positions were all eventually uncontested, The Herald previously reported. UCS Elections Board Co-Chair Katie Barry ’19 said the board has worked to make elections more competitive this year.

“I think we’ve definitely done more in terms of encouraging people to run at (UCS general body) meetings (and) sending out information to the whole campus,” Barry said. For “people who were on the fence about running, we’re encouraging them to at least learn more about it … because we want the campus to have more options.”

UCS President Chelse-Amoy Steele ’18 has proposed altering the election process to make it more fair at multiple general body meetings this semester. For example, UCS could reduce the number of signatures it requires potential candidates to collect from students, Steele suggested at a meeting Feb. 8.  The current number of signatures needed to declare candidacy for UCS president and vice-president as well as UFB chair and vice-chair is 400, and all signatures must be collected by the March 14 meeting.

The UCS general body planned to discuss possible changes to election rules at its weekly meeting yesterday evening, Barry said, but the meeting was cancelled due to weather concerns. Members of UCS will meet separately this week to decide on changes, and any new policies will be announced to all candidates by Friday, Steele wrote in an email to The Herald.

The election process includes an open-to-the-public debate between candidates March 18 and voting occurs online from March 20-22 through a survey sent to all undergraduates, according to UCS’ website. The successful candidates begin their tenure after the end of the spring semester.

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified Katie Barry ’19 as Katie Garry ’20. The Herald regrets the error.