SGA Senate Meeting Announces Wrong Winner at Election

Paige Bathurst, the president of SGA, speas at the podium during the senate elections. - Staff Writer / Al Harmon

On Oct. 17, the SGA Senate convened for their bi-weekly meeting to elect a public relations representative, which four candidates applied for. However, it was difficult to determine who won the election because of the confusion concerning the voting.

The election for the open PR position for the SGA Senate, which took place toward the end of the meeting, was likewise fraught with uncertainty and errors. Each contender had a chance to introduce themselves, make a speech outlining why they should be chosen for the role, and respond to three audience questions before the election began. One of these applicants was a junior, Brianna Reagan.

“I do feel as though I deserve the position simply because I know that I could bring forth the energy for the position and handle the responsibilities for it,” said Reagan.

Most of the time, this procedure went smoothly and each applicant had a chance to get up and make their case. Once voting began, it didn’t take long for the votes to start coming in and the process to come to an end. When it did, Paige Bathurst, the student body president, declared that junior Steve Olimpio had won the post.

However, Reagan remained in the room and was informed that she had actually won the election not Olimpio, and had been told of her new position after the meeting concluded when the rest of the audience had already left the Eynon Ballroom. According to Emily Lowe, SGA’s executive vice president, this mistake resulted from illegitimate votes having an impact on the voting results.

According to Reagan, winning the election made her ecstatic. Unfortunately, the SGA Senate informed her through email the following morning that she had not won the election and that the SGA was now conducting an official investigation to ascertain who had won the seat. They promised to get back to her later with their findings.

“I feel that the election itself… was not to my liking as far as how it had ended. All I can do now is wait back and be patient for the final results. I have respect for them [SGA Senate] for trying to find the problems in which the election went, but I also feel that it can be frustrating wanting to know the answer because it does show a small amount of unprofessionalism,” said Reagan.

As of Oct. 19, Reagan has not received an email informing her of the election results.

This meeting also featured the discussion of the two newest chartered clubs; The Hidden Opponent is the newest officially recognized group on campus and could be very advantageous to all students, but especially athletes. This club’s president is senior and women’s volleyball player, Julia Bowes.

“We want student-athletes with mental illness to be able to feel open and welcome to express their concerns and what they are thinking and talk about their mental illness,” said Bowes during her presentation.

The Hidden Opponent’s major objective appears to include creating a space where athletes who may be dealing with mental illness, body dysmorphia, body positivity, or eating disorders can get the support and education they need. The club appears to serve as a support group for athletes who might be experiencing these mental struggles. 

It provides them with a chance to connect with others who might be facing similar challenges, gives them a venue to openly express their struggles, and most importantly, offers them professional assistance if they do. The Hidden Opponent club has 16 active members in addition to the other four E-Board members of the group.

The second club addressed was the Election Commission. The club’s goal is straightforward. If a student thinks a candidate is breaking the rules, they can bring their concerns to the commission, which will then hold a trial and make a decision based on their findings. If the student is found guilty, sanctions will be added to their budget. If not, they are free to leave and the candidate will not be punished.

If the complaint is severe enough, the punishment may even include complete disqualification from the election. Krisha Darji, Theodore Young, Mackenzie Sozio, Julia Lowman, and Richard Belotti, the commission’s chairman and a senator from the SGA, make up the commission’s five members.

The next SGA Senate meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. in the Eynon Ballroom within Chamberlain Student Center.

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I am a double major in political science and journalism and I have been writing for The Whit for over a year now with over fifty articles written by me. My writings focus on music and opinion pieces and I am very passionate about gaining more experience. I love creative writing, reading, and concert photography.