Megaphone's Student Congress Election & Legislation Results

Junior Alex Caple Won StuCo President
Election Results
Written by Kendra Lancaster

Wednesday, April 8, students came together to vote for their representatives for the next school year. A total of 683 students participated in this year’s election.

SU decided to re-elect junior Alex Caple as Student Congress president over fellow junior Martin Fergus. This will be Caple’s second term as student congress president for SU.

As president, he hopes to get a Pub on campus, revise the Pirate Print system, replace all of the broken ice machines found on campus, and give more financial support to Competitive Academic organizations.

Caple said, “I’m really excited for the future and I’m ecstatic that Southwestern’s students have given me this opportunity. Under my leadership, I believe that Student Congress will continue to work for great things for the entire student body.”

Junior Julia Poritz, a large supporter of Caple, is quite pleased with the outcome of the election for Presidency. “I’m really proud of Caple for winning, and I’m very happy that he’s been re-elected since he really deserves the position,” she said.

For Student Judiciary president, SU voted to elect junior and Mock-Trial founder and captain Sarah Gould over junior Avery Sheppard. Gould is no stranger to the University Committee on Discipline, having participated ever since she first began at SU back in 2006.

For the position of Student Judiciary vice president, junior John Appel was chosen over sophomore Roswill Majia. Appel has been a member of the University Committee on Discipline for a year now, first beginning in the Spring of 2008.

Senior Jennifer Sinski was elected as the Class of 2009 reunion delegate. In the most interesting outcome in this election, there was a three-way tie for the position of recent graduate member of the Board of Trustees between Seniors Preston Hollis, Taylor Spalla, and Kacie Wilson.

The run-off vote for the recent graduate member of the Board of Trustees position was held today. The Class of 2009 elected Preston Hollis for this position.

Legislation Results
Written by Laura Romer

Gender Neutral Housing<last Wednesday while Southwestern students cast their ballots for Student Congress president, they also voted on three important issues – Gender Neutral Housing Legislation, Sustainable Take-Out Container Legislation, and changes regarding honor code violation implementation.

Gender Neutral Housing Legislation passed 536 for and 116 against, Sustainable Take-Out Container Legislation passed 602 for and 74 against and the changes related to the honor code also passed with 528 for and 98 against.

Sophomore Sarah Woolley, Elections Chair on the Executive Council on Student Congress, organized this year’s election. “There were 683 students that voted in this election – that’s 55 percent of our school,” Woolley said. “I was so pleased with the turn-out…because I knew it was a fair representation of our school.” For the first time, students studying abroad were allowed to vote. “This race was particularly important because there were so many issues being voted on – something that has not happened in a few years,” Woolley added.

The student passed Gender Neutral Housing Legislation states that men and women can voluntarily choose to live together, but that it would only apply to juniors and seniors living in the Dorothy Lord Center and the Lord’s Center apartments.

Sophomore Quentin Daniel expressed his support for the passing of the Gender Neutral Housing Legislation. “Especially for the GLBT community, I think it’s important for people with alternative gender identities to have the ability to live with someone you feel most comfortable with and feel least threatened by,” said Daniel, who also serves as vice president of SU Allies, a group for GLBT students and supporters.

Opposition to the legislation included concerns that couples would move in together and the potential issues that could result. Sophomore Leslie Fray, who also supports the legislation, said “I do see the other side of it, but this person decides who he or she wants to live with and the other person consents or does not consent so it’s an agreement between them. If problems arise that’s something they figure out between themselves, but never will it be a problem that arose out of some kind of imposing force saying “Well, you had to live with this person.’”

The legislation still has to receive approval from other committees such as University Council and Student Affairs Committee, while final approval comes from the Board of Trustees. Recently re-elected Student Congress president, Alex Caple said “I would think that it would not pass the Board of Trustees at its meeting in September and so the way to deal with that then is to continually bring it up in Student Congress and continually make it an item on campus and something to talk about.”

Following the news Southwestern is going trayless next semester, students overwhelmingly voted to replace Styrofoam take-out boxes with a sustainable alternative. Members of Students for Environmental Activism and Knowledge (SEAK) first proposed the legislation to Student Congress, which passed, and then received endorsements from campus organizations including Student Peace Alliance, Kappa Sigma and Sodexho.

Among these advocates was president of SEAK, Leah Jones. “By switching from an environmentally harmful to an environmentally responsible take-out container, SU can begin to be a leader in sustainability and can set an example for other universities and businesses across the state and the nation to follow,” Jones said.

The new containers are made from 100 percent post consumer recycled paper and take only 45 days to fully break down, as opposed to 2000 years for Styrofoam.

A result of this passed legislation is students will be charged 25 cents per set of box and cup. “The cost difference is the difference between what we already pay for Styrofoam in our meal plan and the cost of the new containers,” said SEAK member, sophomore Ursula James. The currently used styrofoam containers cost a little more than 15 cents individually per meal.

The last issue voted on dealt with the structure of Student Judiciary and how it handles honor code violation hearings. The approved changes include changing Student Judiciary to be further known as Honor Code Council and how the honor code is implemented. Faculty will now be incorporated into judicial hearings that are made up of a jury of three students and three faculty members as opposed to the current all student nine person jury.

Those opposed to the changes of including faculty members on the jury argued that students’ opinions on rulings could be swayed through intimidation or discouragement and that it challenges the students’ autonomy.

Junior Sarah Gould, who was recently elected president of Honor Code Council, supports the faculty inclusion. “I think it’s valuable to have a faculty perspective because a) students aren’t experts on plagiarism and don’t have that faculty point of view and b) it lessens the chance of a conflict of interest or it lessens the chance of any possible bias,” Gould said.

Woolley also said student elections are important because of “any changes the students need to know about and [should have the opportunity to] agree or disagree with.”

These changes will take effect next year.

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