Student Association election season sees unopposed presidential race

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This week, students will cast their votes in elections for Student Association (SA) president and representative seats.

But with all but one candidate for president having dropped out and only seven new candidates running for representative, no one running will face any competition.

The presidential race was initially shaping up to be a three-way contest between house speaker McKenna Ciner, philanthropy chair Caitlin Coulter and representative Ramon Hernández. However, expectations were upset on Tuesday, March 20, when Hernández stated on social media that he would drop out of the race and endorse Coulter.

“I have had some awesome opportunities come my way, and it would not allow me to be the president the university needs,” Hernández stated.

Ciner followed suit with her own social media statement on Wednesday, March 21, citing academic obligations and time commitments. Ciner, who as speaker functions as the number two representative in the body, also announced she will resign from SA at the end of the semester.

“I have been honored to be Campus Events Director and to end my time (in SA) as the Speaker of the Association; but all good things must come to an end,” Ciner’s statement read. “It is time for me to pursue my educational goals.”

This leaves the usually competitive presidential race a single-person contest, with Coulter the apparent next president.

SA’s relatively low number of representatives, with only 23 out of 30 seats currently occupied, means that there are exactly as many students running as available seats. After the formality of voting, the new candidates will be able to enter SA without having to go through any contentious or difficult campaigning.

SA has seen retention issues since last year, as resignations and low candidate turnout during elections and open application periods have left seats vacant. Even after this election season fills the body back to capacity, graduations and resignations are set to bring the number of representatives below 30 by the summer.

As part of an effort to raise awareness of SA and address any concerns that may be keeping students from taking part in student government, SA will host a town hall-style event instead of the previously planned presidential debate. Students will be able to ask questions of the SA representatives present and will be introduced to the running candidates. The town hall will occur tonight at 6 p.m. in the TSAR.

Polls for SA elections will open at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, and will close at midnight on Friday, March 30. Voting will take place online, and results will be announced immediately after in Doan 103.

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