After a postponed transition process, the 12th Undergraduate Senate was finally sworn into office nine weeks into Spring Quarter. The election process for the Chair and Deputy Chair positions proceeded swiftly despite the delay, and the new senate seems ready to jump in and start working.
At the first meeting of the 12th Undergraduate Senate, the only incumbent, Michael Cruz ’12, was the first and last senator to throw his hat into the race for Chair. After being nominated, Cruz delivered a prepared speech to his colleagues detailing his plans for the coming year.
Despite the lack of opposition, two senators abstained from voting to approve Cruz as chair: Carolyn Simmons ’13 and Rebecca Sachs ’13, both staff writers for the Review.
When asked to comment, Simmons stated: “I believe that the Undergraduate Senate comprises a unique, highly qualified group of individuals and was disappointed that those contemplating, or even who had expressed a commitment to running for Chair, decided not to. Competition is an important factor in elections. Clearly Michael is experienced leader, and I’m really looking forward to working with him this year.”
Similarly, Senator Madeline Hawes ’13 ran unopposed for the position of Deputy Chair and was not unanimously approved. This time, however, only Sachs abstained from voting.
Hawes said, “I do not believe it was a personal thing at all. [Sachs] was opposed to the open ballot, and [abstaining] was her way of showing that.”
She continued, “If you don’t want to vote for me, I don’t want you to feel obligated. I wanted to make sure everyone is comfortable with their vote.”
This was the first time in several years that the elections were conducted through an open roll call.
“How the elections are conducted is not necessarily a certain way. The last two elections have been by secret ballot; yet, it is the prerogative of the senators to request different types of voting,” said Cruz.
Despite the abstentions, Cruz and Hawes were easily voted into their respective positions. The duo have worked together before and have an idea of each others’ strengths and weaknesses. They noted, however, that they did not plan to run together.
“People knew we were going to run—it was public. But we never talked together. We definitely were not a slate,” said Hawes.
After being elected, Cruz and Hawes have already started brainstorming how their senate will be different from years past.
Cruz wants to focus on changing how people view the ASSU.
“I want to work on getting the ASSU back to it’s core: getting it to be more proactive, reaching out to students for input, and getting a line of communication going,” said Cruz.
More tangibly, Cruz plans to initiate more senate office hours and bring back the town hall, which he believes were especially successful during the administration of former Executives Fagan and Dorsey.
Hawes’ vision is geared more towards the Senate Associates program, which falls under the purview of the Deputy Chair. Apparently, any possible changes are still in the planning stages, but will most likely be structural.
Already by week two, Cruz and Hawes finalized the placement of senators into the various committees.
Cruz said, “The assignment process was very simple and transparent. I sent out a Google document that is public to everyone, and had people rank their committee preferences.”
Everyone received two out of three of his or her top choices.
Hawes added, “At this point we have spoken to everyone and everyone is happy.”