LUCC elections show strong student turnout, usher in new leadership

The results of the most recent LUCC executive elections are in. LUCC’s new president is senior Jack Canfield, and junior Devin Ditto is taking on the role of vice president.

The results came after open polling in the lobby of the Warch Campus Center, which ran from Tuesday, Jan. 21 through Friday, Jan. 24.

Over 400 students turned out to vote in the elections this year, while fewer than five faculty members cast a ballot. President-elect Jack Canfield received 65% of the vote, with his opponent, sophomore Eduardo “Eddie” Elizondo, receiving the other 35%. Ditto ran uncontested for vice president.

In a phone call immediately after the election results were announced, the ecstatic President-elect Canfield said, “As far as I know, the turnout was really strong, which was really exciting. Lawrence is definitely a place I am passionate about.”

Strengthening Lawrence’s athletics culture and relationship with the downtown community are first on Canfield’s agenda.

“Just having an official position to work from to go about making change is something I am really looking forward to. I’ll have more resources and avenues from which I can make change. I feel really lucky and honored,” continued Canfield.

Vice President-elect Devin Ditto expressed similar sentiments.

“I look forward to being the person that people can feel comfortable coming to with their concerns,” she said. “I’m really excited about getting to work with groups around campus on a more personal level as vice president and not just a district representative.”

Junior Nathan Lawrence played a major role in the elections, as well. He serves as parliamentarian and chair of the Polling, Elections and Leadership Commission of LUCC, and he described his duties as, “[Making] sure the election goes as smoothly as possible, that everyone gets an equal say in the final results and that the campaign rules are followed so everyone is on a level playing field and the election can really be about the issues at hand.”

He added, “I was also responsible for preparing materials, and another student and I counted votes together the evening the election finished.”

According to Lawrence, this year’s elections were unique because of the addition of Referendum 2014-A on the ballot.

Said Lawrence, “[This referendum] would amend the LUCC constitution to increase council size, paving the way for class year representation instead of the current residence hall-based representation model.”

The referendum passed, with 89% of participants voting in favor of it.

“A lot of us in LUCC are very excited about the results,” said Lawrence.

Assistant Dean of Students for Campus Life and LUCC advisor Curt Lauderdale believes the referendum is a great step forward for the council.

“[The referendum] presents some really intriguing and interesting opportunities for LUCC to look at how they can best be representing campus and best be providing forums for conversations on big and small things as it relates to the student experience here,” said Lauderdale.

He also said that the elections went smoothly overall; however, there is still work to be done in increasing the number of ballots cast in the elections, particularly amongst faculty. The glaring lack of faculty votes is a concern for Lauderdale, but he believes it’s one that can be addressed in coming elections.

“Faculty are absolutely not only allowed to vote but encouraged to vote because LUCC works with the non-curricular components of campus function and campus life,” he said. “Well, the co-curricular and the curricular are the two main components, so it seems appropriate that if there are things that are going to affect students in all realms of their lives here, all the players get to play a role.”

According to Lauderdale, when LUCC was originally founded, it was because faculty had trusted students to join with them to make legitimate decisions about the direction of campus life. As years went on, faculty involvement in LUCC waned, but there are still three faculty positions on the council: two elected positions and a permanent seat for the Dean of Students. Currently, the elected faculty representatives on LUCC are Claudena Skran, professor of government and Edwin and Ruth West Professor of Economics and Social Science, and Brigetta Miller, associate professor of music.