Courtesy of Cole Bergman ’24.

For the first time in Wabash history, a candidate for Student Body President will be running unopposed. Cole Bergman ’24 was the only student to assemble a cabinet and put his hat in the ring.  

Assisted by intended Vice President Luis Rivera ’25, intended Treasurer Liam Grennon ’24 and intended Secretary Jake Weber ’25, Bergman promises to deliver a three-pronged platform.

The first plank in the Bergman-Rivera platform is increased transparency for Student Senate. Bergman has heard the criticism, and seeks to improve Senate-student relations through giving the student body immediate access to the activities budget. 

“Secretaries will make sure class representatives send out their meeting minutes, and there will also be open Audit and Financial Committee minutes,” said Bergman. “Not everyone is going to care about Senate, but for those guys that do care and can’t be in the room every week, we think there should be better avenues to make them aware.”

The second plank is oriented towards the budget. Senate has been criticized recently for the manner in which the over $300,000 has been allocated, especially amid controversies surrounding off-campus club trips and National Act. With this in mind, Bergman envisions more direct communication with the student body about their allocated funds.  

“We’re going to be more cognizant of treasury interacting with clubs directly.”

The Bergman-Rivera campaign also aims to maximize every dollar for the student body.  

“We’re making sure that the budget is being used to bring valuable student experiences instead of just food.”

The third plank is oriented towards the executive board of not only 2023-24, but towards all future executives. Bergman wants to strengthen the continuity between Senate bodies from year to year.

“Every semester, Senate changes, so there’s not a lot of knowledge that carries over from Senate cabinet to Senate cabinet. We’re going to be working with the Secretary, Treasurer, and Vic Lindsay to keep a better record of what decisions we’ve made in the past.”

The unopposed race creates a unique set of challenges for the Bergman ticket.

However, the junior independent has made it clear that his approach to the election will not be swayed by the lack of competition.

“I’ve made it clear with the cabinet: nothing is going to change. We’re still going to be talking to campus. We still need to earn your vote because we’re representing you. The only difference is that we don’t have the rush to make campaign promises. We have the time to think stuff out, talk to guys, and throw around ideas.”

The elections will still take place, but they will be structured slightly differently. The election commission has had their roles changed as a result of the unopposed race as well. 

“We have to change the ballots so it reflects that both candidates are running unopposed,” said election commissioner John Schnerre ‘26. “You either vote for the only candidate or you abstain from voting.”

There is always the possibility of the majority of campus voting against Bergman, essentially serving as a vote of no confidence.

“If that happens, we will have a special election to fix whatever problem there is,” said Schnerre.

In the event of such a runoff election, this would give the opportunity for another candidate to step in and oppose Bergman.

The election commission will be keeping the chapel reservation originally intended for a candidates debate to instead host a town hall-style Q&A session, held on the evening of Tuesday, April 4.

Student Body President is not the only unopposed race running this spring. Seth Kirkpatrick ’24 is the only candidate in the race for Chief Justice of the newly formed Supreme Court. What makes these circumstances even stranger? Bergman and Kirkpatrick are roommates. The response for some would be immediate skepticism, believing that the ambitious friends are colluding to run campus from the shadowy high tower of their residence hall. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“I want him to challenge us,” says Bergman.

However, he does recognize the importance of the newly instituted judicial branch.

“I also want to utilize the court better, to make sure we’re not doing stuff that we’re not supposed to  do.”