In its most recent newsletter, IE released its official announcement concerning the beginning of the 2020/21 Student Government elections. Despite the troubles of coronavirus upending typical student life, IE is pushing forward to pursue a vestige of normalcy by rescheduling the elections to mid-April.
The importance of Student Government elections was greatly stressed by Juan Barrio, Student Relations and Athletics Director at IE University, in his announcement email to candidate teams. To have a ‘great elections process’, students at IE University must vote on their campaigning peers. The more students vote, the higher the chance of having a ‘strong Student Government.’ Barrio also mentioned that there is no minimum percent threshold of votes that must be received, meaning election results will be honored regardless of student turnout.
To incentivize students to participate, Juan Barrio stated that “every person who votes will receive a ticket for a party that we will host in September and where the current SG will pass the lead to the new one. The organization of this party will be discussed with the winner team.”
From the 15th to the 22nd of April, student government hopefuls will begin their campaigns towards the student body, garnering support for why they should be responsible for managing next year’s SG. The campaigning process will be quite different this year, since most of the IE student body is not currently in Spain. This unexpected scenario of online student government elections will force all potential candidates to revise their campaigning methods to fit within online mediums as well.
As for rules, candidates are forbidden from using “paid online advertising in social media or any other way” and should confine their campaigning to their respective colors through the channels of “The Stork, SG, IEU Athletics, Campus Life, and their own team” (Barrio). With the new online mediums, candidates must pursue more innovative ways to not only persuade students to support their campaign, but to encourage students to participate from their homes.
Last year, the debates were between six teams of candidates. Multiple debates were held within the Segovia campus, streamed through The Stork via Instagram Live. Polls were listed after the debates, and the winner was announced a week later. This year, the elections will be conducted similarly, albeit entirely online. Debates will take place on the 16th and the 21st of April in the following format: 30 minutes for questions by the Debate Club, 30 minutes of interviewing by The Stork, 20 minutes of conversation between the candidates and the current Student Government, and 10 minutes of closing remarks.
The online environment in which the elections are taking place begs the question of student participation. A first-year, when asked about student government responded with, “I don’t even know what they do”. With campaigning and elections being online, and first-year students not even being aware of the purpose of Student Government, will IE students even bother to attend despite the incentives provided?
Finally, polls will be open from the 23rd to the 26th of April. During these three days, students can vote on who they believe is most suitable for leading next years’ student government. After 3 days of voting, the winning team will be announced on the 27th.
The winners of IEU Student Government will have important roles within the student body, being responsible for tasks such as organizing Fresher’s Week, handling the management of in-school events, and collaborating with Campus Life on the management of clubs.
With the announcement of IE’s first ever online Student Government elections, many questions are bound to arise from such an announcement. Will students bother to vote for Student Government candidates? Is the sentiment mentioned in the “Could I get back to you” article still the same for IE students? Will an online election even be remotely competitive? These questions will soon be answered next week and will either be answered by a newly motivated student body or by an apathetic student body.
Editor’s Note: With the start of elections, a conflict of interest has arisen with our Asst. Editor-in-Chief and Senior SG Correspondent Adam Rose. As such, he will be taking an indeterminate leave of absence. For his full statement, click here.