The University of Tennessee at Martin Office of Student Life and Multicultural Affairs conducted its annual Student Government Association campaign and elections for the 2020-21 academic year solely online. The elections, usually following weeks of in-person campaigning on campus, were conducted April 7-8 online in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
According to John Abel, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, between 1,000-1,500 students participate in the SGA elections each year. Six hundred and ninety-three students voted in the 2020-21 elections, which was to be expected because of the shift to all online courses Abel said.
Two parties campaigned this election cycle: the Martin Student Alliance and The Unity Party. Each party conducted online campaigns, including Zoom conference question-and-answer sessions with both presidential candidates. Both parties advocated common platforms such as diversity, inclusion, parking, enhancing the collegiate experience, and how to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on students.
The 2020-21 SGA Executive Council is as follows:
- President-elect: Hunter McCloud, of Portland, Tennessee, is a junior political science major; Martin Student Alliance;
- Vice President: Sidney Church, of Santa Fe, is a junior political science major; Martin Student Alliance;
- Secretary General: Jacob Butler, of Lexington, is senior agriculture major; Martin Student Alliance;
- Press Secretary: Veronica Kanka, of Lewisburg, is a junior communications major; Martin Student Alliance.
“I am very proud of our students that campaigned. They never complained about only being able to campaign online and all the changes we made to the process. They were very resilient and both parties ran good campaigns,” said Abel. “I look forward to working with the newly elected students.”
“I am honored that I was chosen by the student body to represent them in the coming school year and look forward to working with this distinguished group of student-leaders next year,” said McCloud.
The Executive Council will begin working with student life soon to plan for the upcoming year. For more information concerning the elections, contact Abel at email@example.com.