ISS schedule conflict jeopardizes 8 votes

By Michael Logli

The Illinois Student Senate internal elections allow representatives from each college to choose their future leaders. But with those in the College of Engineering possibly not attending, election results could be biased, said Jason Webber, ISS external vice-president.

The College of Engineering Student and Faculty Awards Banquet takes place at the same time as the internal elections. If those invited attend the banquet instead of elections, the entire college may not be represented.

“(Losing) eight votes out of 53 would be disenfranchising to the second largest college,” said Student Senator John Yu, senior in Engineering and coordinator of the banquet.

This ceremony honors the top 100 engineering students and the top 10 percent of all engineering faculty for excellence in the college. Seven College of Engineering students and one engineer from the college of LAS were invited to attend the ceremony, and their absence from the election can have negative results on the outcome, Webber said.

“I think the biggest impact would be on the vice-president internal elections, which has four candidates,” Webber said.

Of this race’s four candidates, junior senator Patrick Sykes is also in the College of Engineering and the Engineering Council President.

Webber said that if senators vote by college, it would greatly decrease Sykes’ chances of getting elected because others from Engineering would not be there to vote for him.

“I’m skipping the awards banquet, but it would have been nice to go,” Sykes said.

While the awards banquet and internal elections have historically taken place on the same day, they usually occur at different times, Webber said. Also, the awards banquet is usually scheduled three months ahead of time, and the time of the internal elections was released a week and a half ago, Yu said. After realizing the conflict Webber and Yu worked together to try and change the time of the internal elections.

“There’s really no way to change the date,” Webber said. “Especially with the big push for finals at the end.”

They sent out e-mails to try to find out the number of conflicts. However, some responses did not come back fast enough to appeal to the Student Elections Commission, the independent group that runs the elections, Webber said.

The banquet itself is not mandatory, with the exception of Yu who is master of ceremonies. Yu encourages all College of Engineering students to attend the elections, but finds the end resolution a disappointment.

“I tried,” Webber said. “But it’s very unfortunate.”