Only 17 percent of the senior class participated in its class council election this past weekend, and two of the four available positions, vice president and treasurer, went unfilled because no candidates registered to run. The other two races, for president and programming director, were uncontested.
President elect of the Class of 2020 Council Angel Ramirez and Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) President Ural Mishra ’20 both cited seniors’ stress and overcommitment as the primary reason that so few decided to run.
“We’re in the midst of applying for jobs, trying to figure out what we’re going to do after college, and people are just generally busy,” said Ramirez. “A lot of seniors are in charge of a lot of organizations on campus and clubs, and they don’t necessarily have the time to add another layer onto their busy days.”
The vice president of the class council sits on the weekly meetings of the Student Organizations Oversight Committee, and the class treasurer sits on the Student Activities Funding Committee.
Ramirez is now responsible for appointing people to fill the roles. He and Jane Chang ’20, the elected programming chair, are in discussion with two or three people about the vice president position and with Jonas Cortes ’20, last year’s class treasurer, about filling the treasurer role.
The lack of interest in running, said Mishra and Ramirez, contributed to the low voter turnout perpetuating a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.
“I think the reason turnout was so low was because there were uncontested positions, there were positions unfilled,” said Mishra. “I mean, if you feel like your vote is not going to matter people tend not to vote.”
Ramirez noted that neither he nor Chang made efforts to campaign and advertise the election, as they might have done if their races were contested.
“I wouldn’t say there’s no incentive to campaign, but you’re running unopposed, so we’re going to be spending money to campaign, to poster and all this other stuff that doesn’t have to be done because we’re running unopposed,” he said.
Mishra also cited students’ apathy toward BSG as a contributing factor.
“A lack of engagement with students over the past few years had led people to think the BSG can’t really do anything, when it’s in fact more of the BSG not doing anything,” said Mishra.
Editor’s Note: Angel Ramirez is a member of the Orient.