The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Unapposed races raise concerns

Student Senate candidates Liz Healy and Drew Washington voiced concern over their unopposed races for office yesterday at a debate held in the Hughes-Trigg forum. The debate, which was moderated by current student body President Chip Hiemenz, gave candidates for president, vice president and secretary a chance to defend their interests before this week’s elections, which begin at midnight this evening.

But Washington, the sole candidate for secretary and a freshman at SMU, was the first to point out that only four students were sitting on stage to run for office. When asked how he would change Student Senate, Washington said he was upset by how few students at SMU acknowledged the importance of senate positions.

“I would hope students take these positions more seriously,” Washington said. “I see a lot of capable people at this university that have good ideas, but there are only four candidates running.”

Washington, who is also a triple major and first-year senator, went on to explain that by working with the Student Code of Conduct as secretary, he would acquire a unique learning experience many students will never have. He said that when students ignore the importance of the power they give to those they elect, they are also forgetting the importance of what their own right to voice an opinion really means.

Current Vice President Liz Healy, a sophomore at SMU and the only candidate for president, said that she was unaware of such minimal participation in past years. She said that it’s unfortunate fewer candidates are running this year, but that those who have chosen to run see the importance in the commitment it takes to hold office.

“You have to be completely dedicated 100 percent,” Healy said. “You have to sincerely care about making a difference.”

Healy said that, as vice president, she already puts in 40 to 70 hours per week. She views her work on Student Senate as critical in making sure students have the ultimate voice in everything that happens on campus. Her open-door policy, she said, is what shows her fellow classmates what her personal dedication to the school is all about.

Vice President Healy’s current position is the only seat with more than one running candidate. The two contenders, Rafael Alvarez and Taylor Russ, also voiced concern over a lack of participation among students.

Russ, the current finance chair for Student Senate, said that the cornerstone organizations like Student Foundation and Program Council are what enhance SMU’s student-administration interaction. He said that the program connecting senators to organizations needs to be strengthened.

“[We need to] get the student body to interact more with Senate,” Russ said. “If we can create more interest among students, people will be more involved.”

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