Final candidates run unopposed for executive positions

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

The elections for student government begin Monday, and the final three candidates for the executive positions are running unopposed.

Shirmeen Ahmad, Catie Witt, and Stephen Simpson are running for the positions of student body president, executive vice president, and vice president for academic affairs, respectively.

Simpson said one of the things he wants to accomplish as the vice president for academic affairs is peer-on-peer interaction through a series of forums.

“I was kind of thinking of one forum a month, that way it’s kind of showing the progression of the year,” Simpson said. “So at this point of the year, you should be doing this or using this resource.”

Simpson said the peer-on-peer forums are designed to show students how to use the different academic resourses on campus as the year goes on. Unlike Ahmad and Witt, Simpson is currently a senator and does not have a position on the student senate executive board.

He said in his new position, it should not affect the current cohesion of the executive board.

“Catie and I were debut leaders over the summer and we were partners, so I know a lot about Catie and I know how she functions and how she works,” Simpson said. “I know me and Catie are pretty good with working together and working through situations.”

Simpson also said he works with Ahmad a lot because he is the committee chair for academic affairs, and he has worked with the members of the executive board, only now it would be with the title of vice president for academic affairs.

Witt, the current executive vice president, is running for a second time this semester for her current position, after winning a special election earlier in the semester.

“When I was running the first time, I knew the responsibilities and the expectations of the executive vice president,” Witt said. “After being the executive vice president for this small amount of time this semester, I feel like I learned a lot more and I actually have hands-on experience.”

Witt also said she does not just read items off a sheet of paper; she actively participates in her duties.

“I learned a lot about the university and what this position has to offer to EIU,” Witt said.

Witt said at her first meeting at the Illinois Board of Higher Education-Student Advisory Committee, she met with other student representatives from each university to discuss the different issues affecting Illinois students.

Witt also said with a full term as the executive vice president, she wants to start Student Action Team early in the fall semester to get more students involved.

“I really want to get started early in the fall, maybe not the first week we get back, but when there is Pantherpalooza, maybe mention (to students) when they walk by the student government table, mention Student Action Team for those students who do want to get involved,” Witt said. “Also, I want to reach out to different departments.”

Ahmad, the current vice president for academic affairs, is the only candidate running to be the next student body president of Eastern.

“It makes me smile every time I think about it,” Ahmad said. “Even running and getting to that point and knowing I have support from so many people and seeing that they want me to take that position, and it just means a lot.”

Ahmad said since her freshman year, she worked hard as a Student Senator and wondered what would happen if she found herself with a position on the executive board.

“It was last year that I talked to Kaylia Eskew, who was the student body president at that time, and we talked about it, and she said it would work perfectly if you just did academic affairs then you jumped up to student body president,” Ahmad said. “I did go back and forth this year, I’m not going to lie, maybe I don’t want to do student government next year, maybe I just go back to being a regular senator.”

Ahmad said after hearing from everyone about how she is going to be the next student body president, she wants to tackle the issues that come with the position and make a difference.

“What I’ve always wanted to do with student government is to be able to make that difference,” Ahmad said. “Last year, I just thought, you know what, I’m going to go for it, I’m going to do it and the rush isn’t about having the title, it’s about the progress and successes that you can get.”

The elections begin Monday at 12:01 a.m. and will close Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.


Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]