Queens College conducted its annual student government and clubs’ election this April and the results are in. While congratulations are in order for the elected officials for the 2021-2022 academic year, there was a loss of 400 votes from the club elections.
From April 11th to April 22nd, QC students had the opportunity to vote for club leaders as well as student government officials for the 2021-2022 academic year. Emails were sent out to students’ Qmail accounts with a link to follow for them to cast their votes.
QC’s student government is an organization that bridges the gap between student needs and QC administration. Some things that the Academic Senate discusses are technology on campus, budgeting, academic ideas or concerns, and student life. Apart from day-to-day activities, the Academic Senate is responsible for Credit/No Credit policies.
For the 2021-2022 academic year election, all students were given the opportunity to cast their ballots. That’s approximately 19,700 students based on the Office of Institutional Effectiveness data on student enrollment statistics; 16,702 are undergraduate students, while 2,998 are graduate students. The Knight News reached out to the Student Election Review Committee (SERC) for their comment on this year’s election results and the loss of the 400 votes. The results for the current election will be made public during the Senate meeting on May 13th. Since the results are not available to the public yet, they cannot be compared to previous elections results to see where the loss in votes occurred.
According to the SERC, 416 students did not initially have access to the correct ballot. The situation was later rectified. The correct ballot was made available to students and they were contacted via email by the Office of Student Development and Leadership, encouraging them to recast their votes. Could it be that out of these 416 students, only 16 students re-cast their votes? The students who were encouraged to recast their ballots probably did not do so; perhaps they forgot about it or the email got buried in their inbox. This would explain the loss of the 400 votes.
When asked about how the pandemic affected the election, the SERC mentioned that “this was not pandemic-related. The Queens College student body traditionally has very strong voter turnout. A virtual environment did pose challenges, among them was the lack of opportunity for in-person campaigning.” Campaigning for the election proved difficult for the candidates because of distance learning and the campus being closed to students who were not authorized to be there. Candidates were unable to inform the general student population about their campaign themselves and the platform that they are running; they were also unable to stop students and get them to vote on the spot, ensuring that every student was casting their ballots.
Going forward, the SERC plans to make every effort to perform early ballot testing and address ways to engage the student body more effectively under any continuing COVID-19-impacted learning situations.