Student Senate to hold elections for top offices

By Paul Biasco

Last year’s Illinois Student Senate president and vice president external ran uncontested, but senators voting Thursday will have a tough decision to make among three candidates.

The senate will be electing a new president, vice president external, vice president internal and treasurer.

“Without question, president will be the most highly contested position,” said Justin Randall, current student body president.

The three front-runners for the presidential seat are Frank Calabrese, Jaclyn O’Day and Zenobia Ravji.

Frank Calabrese, junior in LAS, has served three terms on the student senate and said he feels this is his way of giving back to the school.

Calabrese was the author of the student abroad referendum that was passed in February. He said influencing the administration is the most important job for the president rather than focusing on specific issues.

Jaclyn O’Day, junior in LAS, is currently the ISS student rights chair and said she thinks the senate’s biggest problem is ineffectiveness. She said the most needed change in the senate is the relationship between the chairs of different committees.

Zenobia Ravji, graduate student in LAS, is the ISS chair of the Committee on Cultural and Minority Affairs. She has been a senator since spring of 2005, though she was absent from the senate last semester as she pursued an internship. She said she thinks the three most important qualities in a president should be: approachability, the ability to unite and the ability to motivate.

“I have honest energy and passion, which sparks positive attitude,” she said.

Nominations for the other positions are expected to be made from the senate floor tonight.

Some of the biggest issues the new senate will face include campus climate, liquor law changes, student rights issues, lack of state funding and campus safety issues, Randall said.

“Campus safety has been a big issue,” Randall said. “We had both NIU and Virginia Tech. It is something that has been in the back of my mind constantly.”

Randall said he will not endorse a specific candidate, but he thinks either Ravji or O’Day would do a great job as president.

“I hope that everyone acts appropriately and honestly,” Randall said. “The candidates at least.”