TU finally has an SGA president

After one general election, two runoffs and three election violations, the student body finally has a president for next year.

After a month-long election process that included historic election drama, the Student Government Association finally has an official voice to be ignored by administration and delegate the spending of student fees.

Jennifer Fierro will be TU’s next student body president after a narrow election win of 27 votes in the second runoff election this past week. The two candidates in the runoff were Sepand Ashenayi, who came in second place for his third consecutive ballot attempt, and Fierro, who had her campaign revived by SGA’s judicial council.

Ashenayi and Fierro were respectively second and third in the initial general election and this was the second time voters could see Fierro on the ballot following the disqualification of Athan Lau.

SGA’s Elections Committee head Matt Mangan was desperate for voters to turn out and begged each senator to notify just one group chat that the election was occurring in the weekly Senate meetings. Despite Mangan’s emphatic requests, voter turnout declined by 18%. This election turnout highlights the general lack of care the student body has for SGA. The only times non-presiding members are present for the “student concerns” portion of a senate meeting is if they are looking to secure funding for their whimsical club.

Although it was hard to find passion among the student body and even SGA senators for this election, Fierro brought the energy at the executive debate earlier in the week. To kick things off, Fierro adopted the position that transparency and student engagement would be her primary focus points.

She wants to “take into account each student and represent them accurately from our commuters, our first gen students, our international students and pretty much accurately representing each student on campus and being able to voice, their ideas and their opinions, in a way that everyone can benefit from.”

One of Fierro’s primary positions of transparency is a sentiment echoed throughout SGA in years past and within four of the five presidential candidates for this year’s election. The point is most often expanded regarding the confusing funding process for an organization through SGA, yet it could be much better served in making it more widely known that Senate meetings are open to the entire student body or hosting larger meetings within more public spaces like the Great Hall.

As something she plans to do differently as president, Fierro wants to institute “an anonymous survey or an anonymous platform in which students can either reach out with questions or opinions or just random comments about campus or things they’d like to see.”

While that is a great idea to show support to the student body, most engagement with SGA starts and ends with SGA members. Even the current SGA senators, outside of a few, show up for their check and leave every meeting having not provided any input as to what their constituents believe or representation of their beliefs.

Fierro has played a dedicated role in the planning and constructing of some of SGA’s biggest events, like the international extravaganza and pride week. She has her work cut out for her to increase student engagement and create some semblance of community between SGA and the student body.

This year’s election was undoubtedly the most action-packed within recent memory, and with its conclusion the student body will return to ignoring the existence of SGA.

Post Author: Adam Porterie