At a crucial time for Greek life at Penn State, the Panhellenic Council must reopen its 2018-2019 presidential election after the 22 chapter delegates did not vote in favor of the sole candidate for the position. Current Delta Zeta President Courtney Rodrigues was elected executive vice president.
Presidential candidates must have “Panhel experience” within the year prior to the election, according to the executive board application packet. This means having been a Panhellenic Association officer, chapter president, or Panhellenic Association delegate. The member elected also can’t be from the same sorority as the previous president or as the elected executive vice president, vice president for membership, or vice president for standards.
Nominations for Panhel’s executive board come from the 22 chapter delegates. Then, a slating committee, which is made up of the current Panhel president and other executive members, vets candidates with interviews to remove any nominees who are objectively unqualified to hold the position. Up to three candidates remaining are “slated” or are essentially official candidates on the ballot for the position.
A candidate must earn a simple majority — or 51 percent — of the votes to be elected to the position. This year, the only member slated for president didn’t make the cut in delegates’ eyes, so Panhel will reopen candidacy on Wednesday during its president and delegates council meeting. This adds an extra day of the election process on top of the usual Monday and Tuesday cycle.
“This is not a huge deal because it is hard to get a majority vote when we have 22 chapters with diverse opinions,” current Panhel President Amanda Saper said. “However, because it is president, it is especially important our chapters feel confident with who will lead Panhellenic moving forward. Delegates simply want to see more and will get the opportunity to ask more questions Wednesday. This is why time and time again Panhellenic is so successful in accomplishing what it sets out to do — we elect qualified and highly motivated leaders through an extensive process!”
Even so, it’s unusual for only one candidate to run for president of the council. This alone may be representative of the increased responsibility associated with the position for the upcoming term because of the current state of flux with Penn State Greek life.
The current Panhel executive board announced in May all of its members will stay in office until after the spring 2018 formal recruitment and bid day process to ensure the first deferred recruitment runs smoothly. The new president will presumably take office soon after bid day next semester.