The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

SGA election spotlight, reaching student voters

Online voting for Student Government Association was held Sept. 24-27. Many students said they were unaware that elections were taking place. Photo illustration by Jacob Beltran

By Laura de Leon

Many students interviewed at Main Campus Building earlier this week said they had little knowledge about Student Government Association elections, but that didn’t stop them from proposing ideas for how SGA should represent the University’s diverse population of 4,100 students.

Education senior Silvia Hamer said Tuesday she did not know about SGA elections and where voting was taking place but said she would have voted.

She said she has a concern about the speed limit on University Way. She suggested SGA should find out the rules for road speeds because she feels that the speed limit is too slow.

“The speed limit should be 40,” Hamer said.

Voting for SGA candidates began online Sept. 24 and was expected to close 5 p.m. Sept. 27. SGA president, vice president and senator candidate winners are expected to be announced Sept. 28.

Senatorial candidates include: social science junior Brenda Garcia, communications junior Priscilla Lopez, education senior Jennifer Faubion, international business junior Claudia Garcia, English senior Steven Zavala and Rebecca Massey, Master of Business Administration student.

Running on a ticket are two uncontested candidates — accounting senior Melissa Quintanilla for president and Javier Carvajal, Master of Business Administration student, for vice president.

Reaching nontraditional students

Jolene Des Roches, director of student life and wellness, said SGA voting was announced on multiple Facebook pages and in an email blast that was expected to be sent out to students Wednesday. By Thursday, students confirmed they did not receive an email with the link to vote for SGA candidates. See related video

An email was sent to students after 5:30 p.m. Thursday stating that voting was open until Thursday night.

Although the email was not released to the student body until Thursday evening, Carvajal said he did not think faculty or staff needed to be involved in the elections or voting process. He said the publicity efforts should be run and organized by the candidates.

“No, I don’t think [staff] need to be a part of it; their main job is to educate,” Carvajal said.

In previous articles on The Mesquite, SGA election information was announced and candidate information was provided to give the student body an opportunity to understand the SGA election process.

SGA, still in a developmental stage on this startup campus, represents a diverse commuter student population.

Holly Verhasselt, assistant vice president of academic affairs, said in an email that the average age for students is 31.9 years.

While there are strong initiatives by student groups to build a student life on campus, the number of active student leaders are outweighed by a larger population that works either partime or fulltime, and commutes to and from campus.

That’s one reason, students say, they didn’t know about SGA elections.

Education senior Kamie Anderson said she did not hear about the voting and that with her busy lifestyle — school, work and children at home — she doesn’t have time to get involved on campus.

“I don’t do a lot of extracurricular [activities],” Anderson said.

She said she would like SGA to “actually find out how people feel about policies.”

Her concern was with the absence policy set by some professors, which she said is unfair.

Education senior Gabriella Muniz said she might have voted if she would’ve known about elections. Muniz would like SGA to advocate for seat covers in the restrooms.

While voting is available to all students, some said they are just not interested.

Psychology junior Susan De Hoyos said she knew about the voting but does not usually vote because she doesn’t follow politics in general.

“I don’t want to deal with it,” De Hoyos said.

Although De Hoyos said that she will not participate in the voting, she expects SGA to help the student body. She would like to see “more tutoring opportunities and help with financial aid.”

SGA candidates, several of whom juggle multiple responsibilities including work and family, said they are determined to represent the interests of the University’s traditional and nontraditional student population.

On Thursday, the last day of voting, SGA representatives were set up at Main Campus with laptops and candidate profiles, encouraging students to vote.

About the Author

Laura de Leon
Laura de Leon
Laura de Leon is the Campus News Editor for The Mesquite. She reports on Faculty Senate, the Student Government Association and campus growth and development. Laura is a communication-journalism major and minoring in business. A 2005 graduate of Highlands High School, she attended the University of Alaska in Fairbanks and Palo Alto College where she wrote for The Pulse and received associate’s degrees in journalism and liberal arts.

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