Candidate for student speaker of the Senate not elected at meeting

Analicia Haynes, Editor-in-Chief

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The only candidate for student speaker of the Senate was not elected by the Student Senate at its meeting Wednesday night.

Student Senator Noor Ul Haash Khamisani lost 14-2 with two abstentions and was the only candidate because she served on the Senate for one semester, and according to the Senate bylaws in order to run for speaker that is one of the rules. 

The Senate did not take a roll call vote contrary to its bylaws, and instead senators wrote their decision on a piece of and the votes were counted outside of the meeting.

Cash said they did this because they wanted to “save feelings” so senators did not feel influenced by someone else’s vote. 

There were only three returning senators this semester; the other two were Ethan Osbourne and Alicia Matusiak, both of which could not run. 

Osbourne could not run because he is a resident assistant, and Matusiak is the student vice president of student affairs. 

Senators Kip Beach and Seth Yeakel spoke on behalf of Khamisani before she left the room for the senators’ discussion. 

Beach said Khamisani is dedicated and passionate about the position, and Yeakel said he spent a summer working with Khamisani in the library over the summer and called her a hard worker.

“She has some (leadership) experience from her home country,” Yeakel said, referring to Khamisani’s time as “head girl” at her former school. 

Senator Nia Douglas said she wished Khamisani reached out to every senator to introduce herself and tell senators why she wanted to run. 

Yeakel said during the discussion that he does believe Khamisani will be a leader some day, but he said he does not know if it will come this semester specifically. 

But he said Khamisani does want senate members to be “a family” and said that is something they should work on this semester. 

“I want us to work together even if she does not get the position,” Yeakel said. 

Osbourne said since Khamisani was only a senator for one semester instead of a full year, she does not have the experience to lead within the student government system. 

“Her ideas, they’re good, but there’s already solutions (to them),” Osbourne said. 

Osbourne said to give her a semester or year to learn the language, bylaws and constitution, but until then he said he did not recommend her becoming speaker. 

Beach agreed with Osbourne and said there is a lack of experience and that her ideas also have solutions already. 

“It’s hard for me because I don’t like to be very judgmental, but I do believe that one day she will be great,” Beach said. 

The executive board did not announce their opinion on whether or not Khamisani should be speaker. 

Cash and Executive Vice President Zach Cohen did however remind senators of how important the speaker position is, the amount of power the position carries as well as the amount of responsibility is needed to be in the position. 

They encouraged senators to go with what they thought was right. 

“Whenever the Senate elects a new speaker things change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse,” Cash said. “You have the ability to give your voice and do what you think is right,” Cash said. 

Since Khamisani was not elected, Cohen will continue to temporarily fill the position something that Cohen said he hopes will change because it “looks bad.” 

Although Khamisani did not win the election, Cohen said there is still an opportunity for another round of nominations under certain conditions. 

Cohen said a senator could motion to suspend the bylaw under Article I, Section D, Number 8 (the rules governing elections) of the Student Senate bylaws that requires the candidate to serve at least one semester on Senate before announcing to run. 

But Cohen said this is a tricky subject because he does not want to make it look like he is swaying senators in this direction. 

“I want to tell them that they have options but its hard because I don’t want it to look like 

I’m swaying them (to vote) in one direction (for one person),” Cohen said. “I just want them to

know what’s there for them to do without telling them what to do.”

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].