The Student Association recently held its elections for the position of President and Representative. The uncontested election was affected somewhat by the current COVID-19 situation.
Hunter Koch, the current Parliamentarian, is finishing his Master of Arts-Public Administration program and will be graduating in May after seven consecutive years studying at SVSU.
He shared some of the changes being made to SA as well as some of the major takeaways from the election.
“This was the first election running under the Student Election Code, a new document passed by the House which outlines all the rules, regulations and processes of the Student Association’s election process,” Koch said. “The Student Election Code, under the Student Association Bylaws, is required to be reviewed and repassed by the association in each winter seme ter, at least twenty-one days before the election.”
Because of the uncontested election, campaign expenditures were decreased to $500 for president and $100 for representative.
Koch said the Student Election Code provided more clarity overall that was missing from the rules and other documents.
Because the election was uncontested, there was little student engagement or involvement in campaigning, Koch said. Most of the focus was placed on the seven questions included on the ballot.
“Ballot Question One … ratifies a charter amendment which adds Student Association’s non-discrimination statement explicitly into the Student Association Charter,” Koch said.
The pandemic affected SA’s operations as well, such as the new petition requirements.
“Signature requirements were increased,” Koch said. “Previously, any candidate only needed 25 signatures to be put on the ballot. The new Student Election Code sets the requirement to 150 signatures for President, 75 for Representative and 35 for the incoming-student representative candidates in the fall election.”
SA President Thomas Metiva is a biology major, and has has his position since May 2020. He recently discovered he would be keeping his position for an additional year after an unopposed election.
SA also elected a Speaker of the House, Olivia Nelson, internally after the primary election.
Metiva said the pandemic shaped the format and execution of the elections this year.
“We have tried to maintain as much of the original election outline as we can given the circumstances,” he said. “In a normal year, students applying also need to gather a certain number of student signatures and turn them into the Election Commissioner.”
Metiva said SA is looking forward to continuing its work in the upcoming year. SA’s goal is to help students as they strive for success at the university.
“We are looking forward to once again competing with Grand Valley during the annual Battle of the Valleys fundraiser in the fall as well,” he said.
Metiva said SA will also be having elections during the beginning of the fall semester.
“For this election, all students have the opportunity to run as a representative, but it is more tailored to the freshmen, transfer and international students that may want to get involved in our organization,” he said.