The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


This poll has ended.

Do you treat student evaluations seriously?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

Loading Recent Classifieds...

EDITORIAL: Despite delayed elections, Student Senate is in the same predicament

Jenna Minor

Student Government has seen a considerable dip in interest and engagement since the aftermath of the budget impasse in 2017.

Back in 2016 during the heat of the budget impasse, an organization named Fund EIU rallied to encourage the state to appropriate funds to Eastern

Beginning on July 1, 2015, the state of Illinois couldn’t appropriate state funding to any public state schools in the state. The 736 day-long process dwindled not only Eastern’s finances but also tanked admissions, employees and spirit.

For the next few years the Student Senate would be an active body on campus advocating as a governance body on campus to help our school. 

As the impasse trailed into its third fiscal year, funds were finally appropriated allowing Eastern to function as it was. 

Throughout this time, from previous stories written and insight from staffers during the time, the student body started to lose interest in involvement on campus. Going from activism to crickets, the Senate started to lose its presence on campus and members started to slim out. 

Jump to this year, the Senate only met quorum three times last semester and during those meetings, the group had to approve a whole semester’s worth of RSO’s and other bills, revisions, budgets and more. 

The Senate also managed to change their quorum bylaw to allow them to continue to hold meetings despite each Senate seat now representing 800 students instead of 300. While this is an outlandish amount to have one individual represent given our population size, we do not agree with the choice but can understand why it was made. 

This quorum problem negatively impacts Eastern’s student life by not allowing dedicated student groups to be registered through the Student Life Office. While unable to register, groups lose the ability to tools and materials the office provides. 

In addition, because of the lack of interest, elections were delayed five months with hopes to attract a larger group of students to run. 

Monday morning, an email with the ballots was sent out and despite the effort to allow a more diverse student election pool, three spots did not have contested races.

Candidates Nidhi Patel (student body president), August Biernbaum (student executive vice president), and Carlos Rodriguez (student vice president of academic affairs) are all running unopposed. The only other executive positions running opposed is the student vice president for student affairs with candidates Nicholas Macaluso and Brianna Hull-Dennis.

A couple weeks ago, Lucy Ade, a former student body president, who had been helping with elections said she had seen a jump in engagement. The ballots say otherwise.

Did students go out to get petitions but did not receive enough, or perhaps just lost motivation and quit?

It is not the fault of the Student Government and its candidates. The group has done its due diligence to help recruit and inform new and current students about the resources they have. 

Due to the each year’s roster of senators dwindling, it becomes progressively harder to recruit new members as the years go on.

Current and former members of the Senate held tabling and outreach events all of first week to encourage students to run for office, but it seems the offer fell on unwilling ears. 

For those who did not know:

  • The Senate is open to all majors, not just political science,
  • All positions come with a form of stipend,
  • Leadership roles look amazing on resumes.

So what is the deal? Why is there such limited engagement and participation? 

The lack of interest or concern leaves us to assume students just do not care. 

Is it a time commitment issue? Did aspiring senators think the position would eat all their free time and got scared away? Are students feeling a sense of caution and unwillingness to step out of their comfort zones? 

There are so many questions we can ask as to why there is such low engagement. The root of the problem is asking and addressing those questions to students. 

Hopefully the people who are now running can find some answers to these questions and address them. If students continue to not show any level of interest, this will put the entire student body in a hole that will become quite the task to climb out of. 

The Editorial Board can be reached at 581-2812.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Commenting on the Daily Eastern News web site is a privilege, not a right. We reserve the right to remove comments that contain obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. Also, comments containing personal attacks or threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
All The Daily Eastern News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest