SGA continues election with low competition


Photo courtesy of Student Government Association

2021 Student Government Association Executives and General Assembly. SGA opened online voting Monday for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Shelby Clark, Digital Editor

Students began voting in the Student Government Association election Monday. 

The election will determine the SGA executive board and legislative branch for the 2021-2022 academic year. The legislative branch consists of student representatives and administrative vice presidents, according to the SGA constitution

14 candidates are running for office with only one contested position. 

SGA executives originally planned to announce the winners of the election Monday and have an inauguration Thursday. SGA executives postponed the election by a week to give students a longer opportunity to apply for a position. 

The SGA court emailed a ballot Monday to the entire student body. Students can vote through Friday. 

SGA officers and the general assembly wanted more time to get the word out, said Andrea Lopez, senior psychology major, Spanish and gender studies minor and SGA Chief Justice. 

Lopez organized the elections for the 2021-2022 academic year. She said COVID-19 affected participation in this year’s election. 

“I think some new students, such as freshmen or people who maybe transferred, aren’t aware of SGA as much,” Lopez said

Lopez said SGA did not hold as many events as normal during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

Kelsey McCullough, a senior political science and philosophy major and SGA president, said she thinks students want to participate but it’s been difficult to get students involved this year.

“I think a lot of students are just feeling really down about the whole school year,” McCullough said. “It’s just hard to feel that sense of community when you’re not on campus and a lot of things are virtual.” 

McCullough said SGA is not alone in feeling this way. She said a lot of student organizations feel the same way. She said SGA’s goal is to make the university a better place. 

“If you are truly passionate about USI and truly want to make change, then this is the organization to do it, because the administration loves to talk to us,” McCullough said. 

She said she can’t endorse any candidates as the graduating president but is hopeful for a bright future for SGA. 

The majority of positions in the election are uncontested. Candidates running for an uncontested position are not guaranteed a victory. 

Students do not have to vote for an unopposed candidate. Candidates must win the majority of submitted ballots to be elected. A voter has the option to not cast a vote, uncontested officers do not automatically win.

Anna Ardelean, a senior political science major, is running for president. Nobody is running against her.  

Ardelean said she was sad she was the only person running for president. 

“I wish more students would realize what a great organization student government is and want to get involved,” Ardelean said. “I sincerely wish this were a contested race.” 

Ardelean has been in SGA for one year and said she wished she would’ve joined sooner. 

Ardelean has been the president of College Democrats for two years, secretary of College Democrats her freshman year, treasurer of philosophy club and SGA administrative vice president for external relations. She is a member of the honors program and political society.

“I don’t want people to worry just because I make my personal political views very well known on campus,” Ardelean said. “I’m not going to take any students less seriously because of their beliefs.” 

Ardelean said her goals are to make SGA more transparent, get more students involved, see more sexual assault and mental health resources on campus, advocate for gender-neutral bathrooms on campus and fight for more body inclusive seating in classrooms if she’s elected president. 

“I firmly believe that if you care enough to run for something, you should be able to say why,” Ardelean said. “Even though I’m unopposed in this election, I still made graphics explaining some of my ideas.” 

Ardelean said the election process this year has been confusing with the election being postponed a week. 

“It was really hard to get students to run, which I think we see anyway,” Ardelean said. “They’re only 14 candidates on the ballot.” 

The entire executive board, with the exception of one, is graduating and recruitment is hard because of COVID-19, Ardelean said. 

Students can apply for vacant positions through the Dean of Students Office. 

Students who apply for vacant positions will meet with the executive vice president, Jasmine Myers, and then speak at SGA general assembly in the fall. General assembly votes to admit the student into SGA. 

The inauguration will be at 5 pm April 22 in the Business and Engineering Center room 0030. Students can attend the inauguration in-person as seats allow or virtually on Zoom. 

Students can contact Kelsey McCullough or the Dean of Students Office for the Zoom link.