Elections commission regroups, prepares for November student referendum

By Estefania Florez

The Campus Student Election Commission has regrouped and is prepared for a new start after all of its members resigned last spring.

The commission oversees student elections and coordinates referendum questions. Students will vote on upcoming referendum questions Nov. 12-13.

The deadline to submit questions is Friday.

Shawn Gordon, graduate student and chair of CSEC, believes things will be different this time around, and that communication between CSEC and the Illinois Student Senate will be handled better.

“We are going to be more communicative and work with people and not just operate,” Gordon said.

He said the commission is focusing on having a good communication line with ISS.

No significant changes will be made to election procedures or the process to submit referendum questions, Gordon said.

“There really have been no substantial changes to the referendum process. There are no bans on questions that can be asked,” Gordon said. “What we have done is we’ve fixed some of the issues that came up in the past,” Gordon said. The only change, Gordon said, is that referendum questions are now submitted through an online form, which asks additional information to evaluate the question.

“(We can) make sure that we can help (the submitting process) be structured in the right way, and that also facilitates any involvement that there may be with the student senate in allowing the number of signatures to be reduced.”

Currently, CSEC is composed of two members: Gordon and Vice Chair Howard Liu. Only graduate students can apply to be members of CSEC, a process Gordon said he wants to change. He is currently undergoing discussions to open the commission to undergraduate students.

So far, only one question has been submitted for the ballot.

Grace Kyung, graduate student in urban planning, submitted a proposed $1 student-initiated fee each semester to be spent toward bicycle-related projects. She believes the fee would have a great impact on campus because it would pay to pave and paint bike lanes, expand a bike rental program, fund the Campus Bicycle Shop and hire a bicycle coordinator.

“This will affect the campus in a positive way because until recently, the University did not fund any bicycle-related project,” Kyung said. “So this fee will be essential in working toward creating positive change for everyone on campus, because it will benefit not only those who ride bikes, but those who do not, because there will be better education and encouragement programs.”

Kyung also believes the goal of this fee is to create a conversation on how students can work with the University to try and fund projects.

Student Body President Mitch Dickey is optimistic about the new relationship ISS has formed with the CSEC.

Leading up to elections last year, CSEC did not communicate with ISS regarding candidates and the misrepresentation of the senate’s constitution.

“We talked about the way we can clarify things such as the application. The fact that I already met with the chair of the CSEC, that just speaks volumes, and the communication is already better,” Dickey said.

Estefania can be reached at [email protected]