Blake Baker

The first competitive Senate of College Councils presidential race elections in several years ended Thursday with the former executive director winning the highest office.

The Senate serves as the official voice for students in academic affairs by passing resolutions and working as a liaison with the
administration.

This is the first time in years there have been two presidential and vice presidential candidates running, said Senate spokesman Michael Morton. Senate elects its officers internally.

“It is unprecedented for Senate as far as I’ve heard, so campaigning has definitely been intense,” Morton said.

President-elect Carisa Nietsche, a Plan II honors senior, said she will focus on finding a way to engage every student on budgetary issues. She said she is confident the College Tuition and Budget Advisory Councils will help Senate give every student the opportunity to have a voice in the budget-setting process.

Senate developed the budget councils last April in response to potential University budget cuts. The budget councils advise college deans about student concerns in the budget-cutting process.

In addition to getting students involved in the budget process, Nietsche said as president, her vision for Senate is to elevate the councils’ impact on campus.

“Senate will have succeeded when there is manpower in Senate resources and every single programming initiative we have and when CTBACs are at the forefront of the discussions about budget cuts,” she said.

When nominated for vice president after his loss in the presidential race, advertising graduate student Blake Baker declined the nomination because of a previous promise to other candidates.

Finance senior Bhargav Srinivasan will take Baker’s place as the council’s financial director, but Baker said he would continue to be instrumental in the councils’ financial realm. Srinivasan defeated finance and history senior Josh Fjelstul.

“I plan to stay around and to continue to support the Senate financial director next year in building upon this foundation,” Baker said.

Vice President-elect Emily Van Duyn said she will make sure the full college councils have the same opportunity and resources as Senate committees to write legislation.

“Senate representatives and even councils in general should have policy-writing resources available to them, encouraging council participation and authorization,” Van Duyn said.

Van Duyn defeated journalism and government senior Jordan Humphreys.

Current Senate president Chelsea Adler said her work on the executive board with each candidate made her confident that the progress Senate made this year would continue.

“Blake was the financial director this year and he’s done a great job, and Carisa was our executive director, which was a new position and she’s really taken that and laid a strong foundation,” Adler said. “I knew that regardless of who won, [Senate] would be in good hands next year, and that’s a great feeling.”

Adler said starting Friday morning, they will have an intensive four-week transition period to prepare the president-elect for next year.

“A lot of it will revolve around the fact that next year is a tuition-setting year, and we need every CTBAC up and running by May, so they can be involved in that tuition-setting process,” she said.