By Nathan Ress
This year’s Undergraduate Student Association electoral debate, which was scheduled for Wednesday, March 22, has been cancelled due to lack of contention. As of now, every race for the USA e-board is uncontested. This comes after runningmates Clayton Shanahan and Timothy Utz dropped from their campaigns for President and Executive Vice President respectively. The drop is an entirely personal choice, and due to both Shanahan and Utz deciding to study abroad next year.
The President/EVP race was the only contested race beforehand, with Shanahan and Utz running against Amelia Greenan for President with no EVP running mate. Aside from that, no races were contested, which remains the case.
According to current USA President Elias Ayoub, this pattern of uncontested races is not new to USA. Ayoub recognized that usually there is contention for the Presidential spot, but aside from that position, contention has been moderate and hit-or-miss throughout other positions.
Ayoub attributes this lack of contention to the difficulty of the job and the dedication it requires of student senators. “It’s not something we want to raise contention for,” Ayoub explained. He continued by saying that the elections for e-board positions “depend on who is coming up through senate or who has interest.”
The position requires individuals who are ready to tackle the issues at hand, so dredging the student body for people willing to run is not a good strategy to fill the ballot. Many of the candidates for USA e-board positions have held senator and other USA positions throughout their career.
When asked if the lack of candidates was a symptom of student apathy across campus, Ayoub was quick to deny this theory and set the record straight. He assured the Griffin that there is no scandal here. “There will always be enough passionate people to run for positions,” Ayoub said, though he also acknowledged that this does not mean that there is no apathy on campus. He reminded the Griffin that all students are welcome to run, and all students were notified of the upcoming elections.
Ayoub speculated that the lack of outside people running for e-board positions may be because USA has had a relatively quiet year with no major scandals. Aside from the Email Reduction Act, divestment, and endowment movements, there has been little noise from USA.
Ayoub was also quick to praise the people who are running, saying he has “absolute confidence” in each candidate. As for his apparent heir Amelia Greenan, Ayoub called her both “an innovator” and “professional.” He is confident that the new additions to the USA e-board will be able to carry out their primary duties such as represent student voices and steward the institution.
Ayoub was also adamant about the fact that USA still has many events in the works for this year. He added that the lack of contention in elections allows the candidates to continue to focus on their duties at present. “We’re still very in it this year,” Ayoub said. He believes that the uncontested elections will allow senate to “keep the dynamic that has carried us through this year.
Finally, Ayoub reminded the Griffin that there will still be a ballot for the e-board elections this year. The ballot will hold more than just this vote, but also outside votes for things such as club of the year, advisor of the year, and sports team of the year. This ballot will be released to students via email in the near future.