Student elections to be more visible


Senior Reporter

One year after the tightest race with the highest voter turnout in its history, the Oakland University Student Congress elections are going to look a little different.

According to OUSC Student Services Director Andrew Bashi, OUSC wants to make this year’s elections more interactive and transparent than they have been in the past. One way they are attempting to accomplish this is by holding more debates and promoting the debates more aggressively.

Last year, there was only one debate, which was only open to the presidential candidates. This year, the plan is to hold four debates, including one between the vice presidential candidates, in different locations on campus.

“One of the big things we want to do with this election is make it much more in your face, much more visible,” Bashi said.

Bashi, who lost last year’s presidential election to Steve Clark by a mere seven votes, said he advised elections coordinator Jennifer Doptis to try to make it easier for candidates to get their message out. He said OUSC is working on addressing many of the frustrations he had in his campaign.

“I don’t think we should have to resort to passing out I don’t how many thousands of fliers we passed out last year,” Bashi said. “I think students should vote based on hearing people’s policies and their ideas, and then they should go from there. It’s not supposed to be a popularity contest.”

Doptis said she plans on holding one of the debates in one of the residence halls.

“They’re pretty much a target group here on campus,” she said.

Doptis also said she wants to make the candidates more accessible to the student body by having more informal activities involving the candidates. She said she plans to host a meet and greet dinner as well as a game show where students can “get to know the candidates better.”

Kristin Dayag, OUSC director of multicultaral affairs, said the results of last year’s presidential race, both the turnout and the competitiveness, increase her anticipation to kick off her own campaign for Student Body President.

“After seeing last year’s election versus previous elections, I think it is going to be very exciting,” Dayag said. “Because of last year, I think there are more people who actually want to run for president.”

“They see that anybody can run for president,” she said. “They don’t necessarily have to be a member of student congress already; they just have to have a passion for Oakland University and its students.”

Doptis said the executive positions are not for everybody, and that students considering running should possess qualities that will help them relate to the students.

“I think you need to be very student oriented, because that is the people you are working for as president and vice president,” Doptis said. “You need to be personable, you need to be a strong figure. You need to be able to work hard inside and outside of the office, because you are the face of the student body.”

Other open positions are the 25 OUSC legislators, 23 of which are elected.

Current Student Body Vice President Jordan Twardy is scheduled to graduate in the spring, and current Student Body President Dan Evola said he is not running for another term.

The deadline for applicants to run for a position is Monday, Feb. 16. Available positions are president, vice president and 25 legislative seats. The new due date is an extension from the original Feb. 11 deadline.

Dayag said OUSC amended the election bylaws to move the deadline forward because it was unnecessarily early.

“With the date at Feb. 11, it was still a month before anybody could start campaigning,” Dayag said. “We just didn’t see any reason why the forms needed to be in so early when there is basically a whole month where there is nothing going on with the election.”

Candidates are allowed to start campaigning March 2 with voting taking place March 23-25.

Doptis said the extension gives OUSC more time to advertise the position openings and hopefully find better candidates.

“What it really does is help us improve the quality of the ballot,” Doptis said. “There is no reason to cut it off early in February. The change is actually better for the students.”

For more information on the OUSC elections, visit or stop by 62 Oakland Center.