Yousra el Nemr
The Student Senate elections to determine the spring 2012 senate members took place on Thursday Dec. 1. Students who were not selected by nomination ran for these elections in order to represent different student constituencies of the general assembly, which include undeclared students, graduate students, English Language Institute students, international students, and students of all majors.
The goal of the senate is to have one senator represent a constituency of 150 students and to work as a link between the constituency and the Student Union.
In order to qualify for the senate, students must be well-informed about the student constitution. They must pass a constitution exam administered by the Student Judicial Board (SJB). The senate term starts in spring and finishes at the end of the following fall.
According to Amr Abd El-Wahab, chair of the SJB who are in charge of monitoring these elections, not all the university departments had elections for its senate seats. Only nine departments participated in these elections, and this occurs when constituencies have more applicants than the number of seats available.
Senators were running to represent students in architectural engineering, construction engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, electronics engineering, computer science, actuarial science, psychology, and political science.
“The elections passed smoothly; it was organized and there were no problems during the process,” said Abd El-Wahab.
As mentioned in the university constitution, the Student Senate is the highest legislative authority of the general assembly and it is granted full access to all plans, financial statements, and documents of the SU and all student organizations on campus.
Due to the rights and responsibilities of senators, some students find it important to have a voice in such elections and to be able to choose their representative.
“Students on campus should be proactive and participate in any kind of elections that take place on campus especially when it comes to the senate, as it is the highest authority on campus and is in charge of all the activities on campus besides the SU,” said Menna Mohamed, a psychology junior.
Mohamed also mentioned that the voting process was organized and it did not take her more than two minutes to vote.
On the day of the elections, it was noticed that some of the students who ran for the senate seats of the undeclared students withdrew after they passed the constitution exams and after actually starting the campaigning process of some other students, and by asking, one of those who quitted on the elections day, he said “There were only 11 senate seats for the undeclared students and at the same time, 18 students were to run for such seats. As a result, there was a deal among those 18 that encourages that 11 students only run for the elections this semester in order to win by domination and then, 8 students of those eleven will withdraw next semester to give the chance to the other 8 who withdrew this semester to be senate members”
What Hasaballa mentioned raised a question of what could be the motive for students to apply for the senate seat? Is it only the position that matters?
Hasaballa El Kafrawy, who was running for the undeclared seat but dropped out of the race, said, “I personally applied for the elections because I have never seen a clear role for the senate; most of them do not actually serve the students as they are supposed to do, but instead they only care about the name of the position.”
This year’s senate worked to formulate a new student constitution, the implementation of which will ultimately be decided in a university-wide referendum scheduled for this Thursday.