Zero Votes: Freshman class president appointed by student senate after failed election

Pat Gareau


Hudson Valley freshmen unanimously elected not to vote for class president on Oct. 28 and 29. Everett McNair, who was the only person on the ballot, was appointed to the position by the Student Senate on Nov. 10.

Steve Clairmont and Matt Sterlina, both freshmen at Hudson Valley, said they had “no idea” that an election had been scheduled to take place.

Many freshmen hadn’t received any information but also indicated that they hadn’t sought it out and it wasn’t important to them. “I haven’t seen any [information], but I haven’t been looking,” said Dan Reilly.

“I feel like if I cared more I could find the information,” said Ian Reed.

A mass email was not sent to students informing them of the election like it has been in years past.

More than 100 votes were cast in the freshman election in each year that records were available in the student activities office (2009-12). The election was contested in each of those years.

McNair was not too deterred by the lack of voting. “I laughed. It just taught me not to assume anything,” he said.

McNair did not campaign during the election, believing that one of the people he had previously talked to about the race would vote. He also could have won by voting for himself. “I couldn’t vote for myself because then what kind of morals would I have?” he said.

McNair is currently in the engineering sciences program at Hudson Valley and is hoping to transfer to RPI. He hopes his position as class president will add to his experience. “I want to build my leadership skills and, from what I see, this is the place to be on campus to do that,” he said.

He is currently the only freshman member of the student senate. One of his goals is to change that. “I want to get as many bright young students in here as possible so we can have a team of leaders,” he said.

McNair is considering running for student senate president, a position elected along with the executive board each spring, but still hopes that more freshmen will be interested in joining student government.

Last year, four of the five positions had elections with candidates running unopposed. There has been a downward trend in competition and number of votes cast in the spring elections over the last five years.

In 2009, there were four candidates for student senate president and 491 votes cast out of 11,163 eligible voters. There have been fewer votes in every succeeding year since then, with 128 votes being cast for Grace Harrison last spring out of 10,899 eligible voters. Harrison was the only candidate for president.

Enrollment has decreased during that time period, but not enough to account for a voting decrease of over 70 percent.

“I don’t think it’s on the students. I think it’s on the senate and the clubs. I think the clubs need to be more dynamic,” said McNair.

“The result of the election was pretty disappointing,” said Harrison on the freshman election. “I think the main problem was we have to encourage people to vote. [But] I think it’s understandable because there was only one person running and there wasn’t the competition to spur on voting,” she said.

Despite the failed election, Harrison is happy to have McNair appointed as class president. “I think he’s great. I’m confident that he’s a great addition to our senate,” she said.

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