It has been years since the Albion College Student Senate has seen a contested race for office. However, this year’s contested race for student senate president is paving the way for a different set of students: transfer students.
The senate’s rules read, “Any student with a 2.5 grade point average who has attended at least fifteen (15) Student Senate meetings and is, at least, in his/her fourth semester at Albion College may run for senate president.”
A junior transfer student, Katelyn Nolan, wished to run for office. Since she was only eligible in two of the three requirements, she was considered to be unqualified to run for Albion College’s student senate president.
Nolan’s case was brought up at a senate meeting and was put on the table for discussion. Many students on senate agreed that it isn’t right that Nolan would not be able to run due to her not being in her fourth semester at Albion College, though she was in junior standing with the college.
Nolan decided to submit an amendment to allow for transfer students to run for the position as long as they had four semesters of Albion College credit, rather than four semesters of physically being on Albion College’s campus. She wished for the amendment to follow the original clause saying, “or in the case of a transfer student, having four semesters of Albion College credit.”
Nolan submitted the amendment past the date that senate would need to be able to vote on the matter. “I submitted the amendment, knowing it would not affect me, but I hoped it would affect future transfer students,” Nolan shared.
Since the final article of the Albion College Student Senate Constitution reads, “Final interpretation of the constitution shall be the sole responsibility of the Albion College Student Senate,” the representatives were able to conduct an interpretation vote on the topic. After a lengthy discussion, the senate decided to interpret the rule in Nolan’s favor.
“It was a very long and civil discussion, and we decided that it would be more inclusive for the entire campus to allow for students in this situation to run for office. At the end of everything, the decision will rely on the campus-wide vote,” shared Nick Smith, student senate secretary. That evening after the final interpretation, Nolan was able to officially run for Albion’s student senate president.
“When you’re a transfer student at a new college, it’s really hard to jump into organizations, let alone be a leader in the organization.” Nolan said.
She believes that this change will help transfer students get more involved in organizations during their short time here. “This shows transfers that you can still climb the ladder; even though you don’t have four years here [at Albion], you still have time to aim for a leadership position,” she said. The voting will begin Monday, April 18 through Wednesday, April 20, via Albion College e-mail. Each student will receive a link to the ballot.