SGA elections come later than expected


Celina Watkins

Illustration by Celina Watkins

Gabriella Killett, News Editor

Loyola’s student government elections this year will end more than a month after they did last year, as SGA’s elections commissioner, elected after an initial struggle to find one, is running events as a one-woman show. 

While last year’s election voting period ended March 31, 2021, for Loyola’s student government, this year, the race’s voting period will end May 3, 2022. The delay will cause a much shorter transition period. 

Nationally, when SGAs transition so late, it often leads to destabilization, according to Butch Oxendine, executive director of the American Student Government Association. 

Robert Morrison III, SGA’s chief of staff, said that the late election highlights how student government has been affected by an “interesting” year, dominated by the continued delays of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida, which sent students home for two weeks at the beginning of the year. 

Morrison mainly attributed the delay to the current administration’s struggle to find an election commissioner, who cannot be a member of the student government but whose position is necessary to run the election.

Ultimately, the search prevailed. Shortly before Mardi Gras break, after sending emails to the student body in an attempt to recruit a candidate through the organization’s application on Howl Connect, SGA chose Emma Trunkle to be this year’s election’s commissioner. 

“I honestly just think that (the election) is something that got put on the back burner, but we’re making it work now,” Trunkle said. 

Trunkle also said that while the elections commissioner typically has an elections commission to help them with the process, this year no one has yet applied. 

“I need people to join this commission because it’s really difficult,” Trunkle said, who noted that without the help of a commission, she will be conducting each one of these events on her own.

And so far, Trunkle has run all the events as a one-woman show. To start, she hosted information sessions for potential candidates for SGA’s new president, vice president and senators, the most recent of which was Tuesday, March 29, she said. 

The election process continued with a candidacy filing period, which opened up March 29 and closed April 5. Campaigning for candidates began April 6 at 5 p.m. and will break for Easter holidays on April 13 at 5 p.m. Campaigning will then resume April 18 at 5 p.m. and end officially April 29 at 5 p.m, Trunkle said.

There will also be a meet and greet with candidates April 13 at noon, which is mandatory for prospective leaders to attend, she added. 

During campaigning, SGA will also host debates. A 6:30 p.m. debate between presidential candidates is set for April 21, and a vice presidential debate will take place April 26 at 6:30 p.m. as well, according to Trunkle. 

Trunkle said that there will also be a question and answer session from SGA’s senate on April 27 at 12:30 p.m.

Voting will take place May 2 and 3, and the election results will be announced May 4 at 5 p.m. 

Breanna Henry, president of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, said she didn’t even know the election was later than usual this year. 

She said she thinks everything should run smoothly without affecting her organization and others as long as organization allocations aren’t affected by a later than usual election. 

Henry said she only worries that if there is less of a transition period between administrations that her allocations might be affected. 

Oxendine said that lack of participation and staff retention have been problems for student governments across the country. He said that this is largely due to universities transitioning to online and trying to bounce back as students return to campus amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s been a big problem that student government is not seen as relevant,” he said.