Special election hopes to fill empty senate seats

The Minnesota State University, Mankato Student Government will hold a special election today to fill its 20 vacant seats. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of student engagement on campus, many of the senate seats that were open during the spring election were left unfilled.

The Student Government’s main function on campus is to provide a voice for students at MNSU via representatives that are elected by the student population. 

Current President Reauna Stiff and Vice President Kara Svercl were elected last semester on a platform of advocating for students’ basic needs, as well as providing support for off-campus students. 

“I am very excited,” said Stiff, excited to have the empty seats filled. “It’s going to be very nice for me and Kara to have a backing behind us while we work to complete our initiatives, while the senators work to complete theirs.”

Among the 20 positions up for grabs are various academic spots such as Business College Senator, Allied Health & Nursing College Senators, Education College Senator and more. Other open chairs include several Off-Campus Senator seats, At-large Residence Community Senator, and Student Body At-Large Senator. 

“We need senators who can fill in the gaps.” said Stiff, who is excited to see the representation expand outside of the limited view of the current senate.  “Me and Kara are only two people. We can’t reach out to every corner of campus as much as a senator would be able to in that area.”

Candidates applied to be put on the ballot, with the applications due last week. Twenty-four students applied for the 20 open positions, with only three positions being contested. 

Due to the majority of seats being uncontested, campaigning is not necessary for many of the candidates. However, at least one vote is necessary to be elected to the senate, according to the special election rules. 

“There is no minimum requirement,” said Stiff. “So if you are the only person running for that seat, and get one vote, then you win.”

Svercl said she is excited to see an increase in freshmen support, something that hasn’t been seen before due to the spring timing of the election. 

“One great thing about first years is that they have so much passion and so much free time,” said Svercl. 

International business student Riley Carlson hopes to snag the Business College Senator position, one of the three contested seats in the election. 

Carlson hopes to address funding at the University and increase transparency as to how funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic is addressed. 

“A lot of it was getting the 80-inch TVs in every room, the MavPODs, the owls, all of this stuff that is making online school easier, when I don’t think that’s what we should be striving for,” said Carlson, “I think we should be striving for tools to make it easier for students to be on campus during a pandemic.”

To vote in the election, students can vote online, or at a voting booth that will be located in the CSU all day. 

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