Franklin, Johnson win election


Tanner Franklin (left) and Brett Johnson (right). Photo courtesy of

Tanner Franklin will serve as Student Body President for the 2014-2015 academic year along side his running mate Brett Johnson who will serve as the student body vice president. The two met through Greek life and decided to run in the election after encouragement from peers.

Franklin and Johnson earned 1,449 votes to beat their opponents Collin Hanson and Hayley Hamilton, who received 705 votes. Johnson said maintaining a student-centered campaign is what helped him and Franklin win the race, and they will continue that focus in their new positions.

Sophomore Brett Johnson said the candidates’ campaigns played a part in the higher amount of voters.

“I think both sides maintained a positive campaign, and that kept students interested,” Johnson said.

Last year’s turnout was 2,077 votes, and this year 2,194 students voted. Chair of Student Government Elections Committee Alan Oberg said this year’s election can be contributed to efforts from both the committee and the candidates.

“We advertised for the election early and often, and the candidates themselves actually advertised a lot, too,” Oberg said. “One thing different from last year was that the race was more contentious. When candidates worry that they might not be elected, they go out and persuade more people to vote for them.”

“We would like to keep visiting student organizations next year and not stay tucked away in an office,” Johnson said. “We want to be an outlet for students to voice their opinions.”

Student outreach was the core of their platform and this will be the first issue they work on next semester.

“We want to do not only email — which has been a great resource with Tuesday Twos — but have great communication between students and senate, especially when important issues come up,” Johnson said.

In addition to voting for Student Body President and Vice President, students picked candidates for Student Senate based on their location of residence — off-campus, Greek housing, on-campus apartments or residence

halls — and area of study. They also voted for members of University Senate, which consists of representatives from the four populations on campus: faculty, staff, administration and students. Students have 14 spots on the University Senate, of which 10 senators are elected and four serve ex-officio.

Because all the votes were cast online rather than paper ballots, the winners for Student Body President and Vice President were known instantly after voting closed. Most of the winners for Student Senate and University Senate were known right away, but the write-ins and ties still need to be resolved. All results from the election will remain unofficial until the April 27 meeting of Student Senate.

A constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of Student Senate and majority vote of the student body received 1,727 “yes” votes, an approval of 87.44 percent. Alan Oberg explained that the amendment cleans up some of the grammar in the constitution, moves certain sections that should not have been in the constitution to the bylaws, and now requires the Student Body President to make a veto within three days instead of five.

With these changes in place, Brett Johnson said the main issues Student Government will be facing in the upcoming year include the North Dakota legislative session, a possible change in the credits requirement for full-time students, campus safety and tuition. He encouraged students to voice their opinions to him and Franklin.

“In general, Tanner and I are pretty open people and would love it if students that have ideas would come forward and talk to us,” he said. “We want them to feel free voicing their opinions to us, and we can find a resolution if there is a problem.”

 Emmy Erbes is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].