SGA elections happening now

Over 35 candidates are campaigning for Western Carolina University’s student government association for the 2016-2017 academic year. All executive and senatorial positions are up for grabs this election cycle as well with three students vying for the presidency.

Students will receive an email with a link to vote on March 13 and 14. The elections committee will also set up a polling station in the university center throughout both days.

Among the candidates is Hank Henderson, the current president of SGA. Henderson is running for a second term in the highest student office with Emily Ranson as his vice president running mate.

Hank Henderson, current student body president

Hank Henderson, current student body president

We reached out to Hank for comment, and he directed us to his website. After serving three years in SGA as a senator, director of service learning and student body president, the website lists only seven non-specific accomplishments:

Advocated for students on the University level as a member of the Board of Trustees

Assisted in planning tailgating events

Collaborated with University and State officials to implement the Bond campaign

Advocated and assisted in passing the Chancellor’s List resolution and the A+ resolution

Partnered with ICA for the Justice or Else trip and the Alvin Ailey trip

Advocated at the state and national level for the students of Western Carolina

Established student scholorship (sic)

Both the Chancellor’s List resolution and the A+ resolution were presented on the Senate floor in the fall 2013 semester. The Chancellor’s List resolution became effective in the fall 2014 semester, which entitles students who earn a 3.8 or higher semester GPA to the designation.

The A+ resolution urges the university to award a 4.333 point value to students who achieve a grade of A+ in a class. The administration has not changed the grading scale.

Current vice president Baron Crawford and senator Spencer Perkins are also running for the presidency.

WCJ editor Haley Smith is a rising senior running for her second term as a senator since freshman year.

“I want to give students their voice in SGA. Particularly on important and controversial topics such as parking and tuition increases. I want to help students see that they can make a difference in their experience here at Western,” Smith said in an email.

See the full list of candidates

O’shay Massey has been a senator for one year and serves as the Diversity Senator. She held a forum to address bullying on Yik Yak, a social media app, and started a campaign to stop abuse on the platform. She is running for a second term.

“[I] really want to continue to make SGA a better organization for WCU. I want to get our name out there and let people know the things we’ve done,” Massey said.

Kate McDannold, a sophomore running for senator, said accessibility and outreach are her top priorities.

“I feel like a lot of people are unaware of [student government’s] impact on the campus community…a personal connection to the SGA would definitely allow students to express frustrations and address issues they feel are important,” McDannold said.

2013 SGA election day poster Many students are unaware of the influence student government has on issues like tuition and fee rates, parking, and provides over $30,000 of additional funding for registered student organizations. SGA representatives also sit on the board of trustees.

Candidates are allowed to campaign only within an allotted time frame set by the constitution. This year candidates can campaign from two weeks before the election, and can spend a maximum of $100 on senator positions, $200 for executive positions. Any infractions of these rules results in fines or disqualification.

While candidates are allowed to use posters, banners, and broadcasting mediums, most are sticking to word-of-mouth and social media techniques.

The North Carolina state primaries are held on March 15.


Related coverage:  Student government association seeks four new senators