During spring quarter the Associated Students of the University of Washington Tacoma decided that they would hold the Executive Board and Senate elections in separate quarters, with the Executive Board having done their elections in spring and the Senate holding off their elections until fall. Now with fall quarter is in full swing, the ASUWT Senate elections will officially begin.
“In the spring quarter, when the group made the decision to postpone the Senate elections to the fall, we definitely did not think everything would be virtual,” said Elizabeth Hansen, director of Student Involvement and Leadership. “We did that for the sole purpose of wanting to avoid doing elections virtually for the Senate because we are adding five new, additional Senate positions this year.”
Those five new Senate seats Hansen mentioned include additional seats for the Milgard School of Business, the School for Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Technology and pre-major students. The final new seat is specifically for graduate students, and is not limited by any particular school — the graduate student senator’s role is to represent all graduate students on campus.
“Previously, there was nothing to preclude graduate students from running for Senate,” Hansen said. “But this is something that ASUWT has been talking about for the past couple of years. We asked ‘how can we ensure that the graduate student voice is always represented on campus?’ … We have been working on developing a position for it, and we finally added it to the bylaws.”
For students interested in running, the candidate filing forms were due Oct. 4. However, students who are still interested in running for a Senate position but did not submit their filing form in time can still run as a write-in candidate.
“Write-in candidates are great,” Hansen said.
For students planning to run a write-in campaign, they will not receive the same benefits as those who properly filed their campaign packets. This means that write-in candidates will not have the luxury of being listed on any official election material provided by ASUWT, such as the voter’s guide, as well as no official participation in the candidate public forum. Write-in candidates are also held to the same election code guidelines that apply to official candidates.
Senate election voting begins on Oct. 19 and concludes on Oct. 25 at 11:59 p.m. Students will be sent an email with a link to the ballot that will allow them to vote for their proper representative. By Nov. 2, the election results will be posted.
When asked for any advice to give to students who are thinking about running for a Senate seat, even a write-in campaign, Hansen had this to say:
“Everyone should run. I would absolutely encourage students to get involved with campus any way they can, either through running for ASUWT, or by just joining a club or organization, or by attending meetings. When it comes to the Senate, they really are the voice of the students on campus to the campus administration … some students might not realize it now, but the student voice we have on campus is really strong.”