Applications for the executive branch of SGA closed on Thursday, Feb. 15. However, by the deadline of 4 p.m., three out of five executive positions had only one applicant, causing these students to win by default.
Current SGA Vice President McKenna Stone will be the next student body president. Executive Director of Freshman Associates Katie Rogers will be election commissioner, and SGA Judicial Board member Lauren Gaudet will be attorney general. All will be sworn in on Student Awards Day.
Sophomore theatre major Katarina Kristensen said students should be outraged.
“People should care that leadership positions are being won by default. If our country was being won by default, there would be anarchy and that resistance from my example does not exist on the University of Southern Mississippi campus because it is deemed as normal.
Furthermore, Kristensen said applications should have been advertised more towards diverse on- campus groups. “There could be more initiatives to bring awareness of the application and its positions to minorities, international, and transfer students to apply, but too often is it quietly done and over before everyone’s eyes.”
Current elections commissioner and senior biological sciences major Henry Bruebaker said that applications had been available on the SGA website since Jan. 16.
“Applications were advertised through EagleVision, social media, etc. as early as Jan. 30,” Bruebaker said. “The graphic and links to the applications were shared with all branches of SGA, and every branch member was encouraged to spread the word. We also reached out to specific organizations across campus that not only had large volumes of members but also may be interested in applying (AASO, College Democrats, College Republicans, Gay Straight Alliance, Queens Uplifted, Speech and Debate team, Future Black Law Students, Men of Excellence and many others.”
Additionally, no one announced a campaign for treasurer. Current treasurer and junior double major in accounting and finance Brooks Rahaim said he believes that Southern Miss students aren’t inspired to run for leadership positions.
“I believe student leadership at USM as a whole has changed over time,” Rahaim said. “I see in many organizations people have trouble with keeping two term executive officers or finding a new generation of leaders. I think we are hitting, what I would call, a bubble. It’s just a period of time where there is a lack of desired leadership and aspiration across our campus.”
SGA extended the deadline for treasurer applications until Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. If no one applies, SGA President Cameron Cloud will appoint a treasurer, requiring a two- thirds vote from the SGA Senate.
Currently, the only election necessary is for vice president.
Junior double major in political science and music Jarrod Colley is one of two competitors running.
Colley is best known for authoring and passing R05F17 “A Resolution to Distinguish Hard-Working Students at the University of Southern Mississippi” during the fall semester. The resolution called for basing Latin designation on GPA rather than the completion of a thesis guided by the Honors College.
Colley said his experience in the senate inspired him to run for vice president.
“I feel as if the large-scale and small-scale projects I have taken on as a Senator have greatly impacted me, and I want to use those to foster strong relationships between the students and the SGA Senate,” Colley said. “It is my belief that more interaction between students and Senators will create a more positive environment on campus, and that is what I aim to do.”
Kristensen, who is a former SGA senator for the College of Business, said Colley created a stressful work environment during her time as a senator. In a public Facebook post Kristensen said:
“To all the University of Southern Mississippi students that care about our community, I have a slight suggestion.
DO NOT VOTE FOR Jarrod Colley for Vice President.
He is not the nice, kind-hearted person that you see on his campaign flyers. I know from experience because I was a Senator for the College of Business last semester alongside him.
He was a Senator that had a huge problem with not getting his way, hence the direction that the Latin Distinction Bill went. While I did agree with the bill as a whole, I did not agree with how and which he conducted his research and his lack of holding forums before creating the bill.
He did not have respect for those that were elected in higher positions above him. During the last Senate meeting, I had to personally shut him down and reestablish his trust in the decision of the student body about the higher positions place. He lost his sense of his surroundings in the midst of giving the elected person the third degree in front of the fellow Senators and live stream.
Recently, he approached me while I was unlocking my bike to have ‘small talk’ about my major, how he missed he Senators, & about the current theatre show I am working on. I have a gut feeling that he did not sincerely mean any of the words he said to me because election season is upon us. On top of that, he recently invited me to the his campaign page knowing very well I do not and will not support him. He is not the man to lead Senators because he cannot properly lead himself.
This is all from my personal experiences with him, you all can take this information and do with it as you will. Please, do not be afraid to like & share if you agree.”
When asked about her motives in sharing the post, Kristensen said, “Sure, some people may think I have some vendetta against Jarred Colley, but that’s not the case. It’s way deeper than that. I really want to get people talking about SGA elections because too often does it get put on the back burner. It’s important because our community is important. That is all.”
Colley will be competing against junior psychology major Corai Jackson for the title of vice president on March 6.
Prior to voting, the candidate debate will be livestreamed from the Facebook SGA Facebook page at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 in Union B, where Colley and Jackson as well as the unopposed candidates will be giving speeches and taking questions from the audience.