December 8, 2016

SGA board running unopposed in election

Nine of 13 positions in Webster University’s Student Government Association (SGA) will not be up for a contested vote this year, including president and vice president. Two of the 13 SGA positions did not receive any applications: senators in the School of Education and the School of Business and Technology. The only candidates who are not running unopposed in this election are the senators of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Fine Arts.

There are four candidates for the College of Arts and Sciences senator and four candidates for the College of Fine Arts senator. Each of these positions allow two candidates to hold office.

The nine SGA positions that are not up for a contested vote this year include president, vice president, comptroller, secretary, sergeant at arms, ambassador of student inclusion, student organization liaison, graduate senator, and School of Communications senator. Each of those positions only received one applicant.

C. Wiley, the current president of SGA who is also running unopposed for president next year, said there are positives and negatives to the uncontested elections.

“We did struggle this year to get applicants for certain positions,” Wiley said.

However, she also said that could provide opportunities for freshmen and transfer students to play a larger role in student government if they run for one of the senator at large positions which will be available in the fall. These seats are open to any student who wants to run.

SGA recruits students largely through word of mouth, although they also create a Facebook event page to reach out to potential candidates.

“Other than that, it’s personal outreach,” she said.

Although several positions will be open at the beginning of the semester, Wiley said that anyone from the relevant schools who is interested could still apply. SGA can vote on whether to appoint a candidate who applies for an unoccupied seat.

Daniel von Seckendorff, who is running for the position of School of Communications senator, said that he expected about 200 students to vote in the election.

“There’s always room for it to go up,” von Seckendorff said.

He said that while SGA attempts to get more students involved in the elections, most elections in his experience only attract one or two candidates.

“It’s a little sad, but kind of normal,” von Seckendorff said.

The organization has also made a change to its officer positions this year. The Director of Communications, a public relations equivalent, will be replaced by a new Ambassador of Student Inclusion, who will focus on creating conversations between students, administration and faculty.

Kalani Seaver, SGA’s current Director of Communications, is running unopposed for the new position.

“SGA recognizes that the Director of Communications position was needed when it was implemented but is now in a place, especially with the spikes in social media and everyone’s ability to communicate through that, the Director of Communications position was no longer needed,” Seaver said.

The new Ambassador of Student Inclusion position, she said, will act as “a bridge that connects students and administration and faculty on diversity issues.”

Seaver said she became interested in student government when she saw a disconnect between the students and administration on the issue of sexual assault education and wanted to help the two groups communicate.

“Nowhere in those do you see that student work has ever been credited,” Seaver said. “That continually perpetuates that divide and the fact that students don’t really feel like they’ve accomplished what they went out to do, and that sort of dwindles down student involvement.”

Another goal is to help students and administration understand each other on social issues, despite being from different generations.

“Being on that diversity and inclusion committee with other faculty and administration, I think, would be extremely beneficial just to have more student involvement voices in these discussions,” Seaver said.

SGA elections are held online April 11 through 14. Webster students received an email at their academic addresses notifying them when voting began.

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