Election system of SGA questioned in meeting

Annabel Gibson
News Staff Writer
agibson1@unca.edu

 

The most recent UNC Asheville Student Government Association meeting deliberated the implementation of a new bill regarding the election system among two other bills, leading to a 17-1 decision against the bill.

The two other bills discussed were to establish the general assembly and the resignation of Samantha Beauregard from junior senator. Both bills passed.

“Samantha Beauregard resigned because she was unable to dedicate her time to SGA any more,” said Lauren Bulla, vice-president. “She was definitely dedicated to the cause and was a great senator in her time, just not good timing anymore.”

SSB 017-017, the bill up for debate, involved the student government election process becoming joint ticket ballots for the positions of presidency and vice presidency.

“This bill will make SGA look like more of a clique than it is and we’re not,” said Delaydia Frink, a junior health and wellness student. “SGA is not to that level yet on campus to make — it’s beautiful to have a vice president with a different platform and a president with a different platform and take time for those people to come together and make those two platforms one to accommodate to a whole student body.”

This bill would mean before one could apply to be president or vice president, they would have to have a partner running for the other role.

“Say I am a student who has never been involved in student government but want to run for vice president or even have been involved in student government and want to run for vice president, if this legislation passed I wouldn’t be able to run because I wouldn’t be able to have someone run as my president,” said Alexandra Schneider, a sophomore senator.

A majority of other universities in the University of North Carolina system cohere by this rule. But due to UNCA’s standing as a smaller liberal arts university, such rules have not been as strictly enforced.

“We are North Carolina’s liberal arts university. I don’t think we have any responsibility to go along with what the other UNC system schools are doing. Being a liberal arts university, we should have liberal thoughts,” said Tyler Hill, junior commuter senator.

The UNC Association of Student Government serves to bring students from all 17 UNC system campuses together to prioritize student needs.

The UNCASG strategic plan involves the establishment of professional, transparent and accountable leadership, alongside the development and collaboration for and between campuses and their student governments.

“I don’t think this should be an experimental position that somebody who is just down with wanting to get involved in the SGA should get involved in,” said Liz Torres, SGA elections commissioner. “Regardless, if they decided that they did want to get involved in this, all they would have to do is find a running partner. And I think if they want to be involved in SGA, they should know people in SGA. If they can’t find someone who is willing to run on the ticket with them then maybe that is a sign that they shouldn’t be running.”

UNCA is one of two universities in the UNC system not currently adhering to the debated election system.

“While I do think that it is special and unique to run SGA how we do it at this university and it is important that it is something representative of our campus. I do think that there are some things that we should take knowledge of from other schools in the state,” Torres said.  “Ticketed systems could lead to more cohesion among the team and the team on SGA is very important.”

The SGA election period has now opened, with applications being accepted for sophomore, junior, senior, commuter and residential senators, as well as for the student body president and vice president. Applications will close on March 7 at 5 p.m.

 

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