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November 13, 2023

Hassan elected unopposed as Senate President


Junior Mujtaba Hassan, Senate Diversity Chair and President-Elect, stands in front of Alumni Hall. (Courtesy of Mujtaba Hassan, Photo by Sarah Nathan). 

Junior Mujtaba Hassan, Senate Diversity Chair and President-Elect, stands in front of Alumni Hall. (Courtesy of Mujtaba Hassan, Photo by Sarah Nathan). 

Senate Diversity Chair Mujtaba Hassan has been officially elected as the incoming Senate President for the 2021-22 school year, after running unopposed for the position. Student Senate held its Executive Board Election last month from Thursday, February 18 to Monday, February 22. 

“I come into this position ready to serve, ready to be humble, ready to be approachable, ready to be here for the people. And I feel that that’s the President the Student Senate here at Knox deserves,” Hassan said.

Senate reported that 305 ballots were cast in the election. Hassan received 272 votes as the only official candidate, with 33 write-in votes being cast. 

In the Vice Presidential Election, incumbent Vice President Yohan Chauhan was re-elected with 151 votes. He was opposed by Senior Class Senator Juan Carlos Jimenez, who received 139 votes, with 15 additional write-in votes being cast.

Also filled was the position of Treasurer, with current Junior Class Senator Daniel Bien winning with 181 votes over Sophomore Class Senator Izn E-Allah, who received 124 votes. 

Hassan says he joined Senate his freshman year because coming to Knox from Pakistan, he wanted to be actively involved on campus and make a difference. After being elected to Senate he served on the Diversity Committee, which provided the experience that led him to later run for Diversity Chair, the position he currently holds.

Hassan’s focus as Diversity Chair has included making internal improvements to Senate, such as the implementation of Senate diversity training, as well ongoing efforts to help make the campus more inclusive. Hassan says he often has people reach out individually with concerns, at which point he works to support them however he can, often as an intermediary between students and faculty or staff.

Going into this school year, Hassan says he did not have plans of running for President. However, as Senate now requires candidates for President to have served a full year on the Executive Board prior to taking office, the pool of eligible applicants was low. It was as Senate’s executive team began discussing the position last term that Hassan decided pursuing the office made sense, and ended up being the only applicant. 

“This entire time here at Knox I’ve been a Resident Assistant, I’ve been an IT Assistant, I’ve been all kinds of assistant. So helping people is at the core of who I am, what I do. So it was just  logical to be in the position that can help the most amount of people,” Hassan said. 

Hassan is involved in a variety of campus roles in addition to Senate — being an RA, an Alumni Ambassador, a Union Board Member, a  Cellar Door editor, and part of Cricket Club among other activities. 

“I love building the human connection, I love getting to know people one on one. I think of it as networking without networking,” Hassan said. 

As President next year, Hassan expects he will have to help the campus reach a zone of comfort and adapt to however the ongoing situation with COVID-19 develops. He also believes the changes to Senate under consideration by the Restructuring Committee — which potentially will bring in representatives for groups who have historically felt underrepresented — will begin a process of change for the better.

“I’m coming into this with the approach that this is my year to get started on a lot of things that will eventually help everyone at Knox. It will eventually lead to that increased engagement that everyone wants,” Hassan said.

Later this week Senate will hold elections for its Chairperson positions, as well as for the Senate Secretary — which was intended to be part of the Executive Board elections, but did not have any eligible candidates sign up.  

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