SG first-year candidates running for new position

Allie Kolechta

An official list of the more than a dozen first-year student government representative candidates was released last night. Elections will be held today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the winner will be announced at 6 p.m. tonight.

Four candidates dropped out of the race and several others left after breaking rules last week, said public relations freshman Jacob Irvin. Irvin was in the race until he dropped out after not turning in financial disclosure forms on time, along with at least one other candidate, he said.

“It was extremely hectic getting involved,” Irvin said. “Nobody really knows what the first-year representative is. Even with all of SG’s efforts it became kind of a hassle, I guess.”

The process of getting involved and campaigning was made more complicated by changes such as one made to the name of the position from freshman representative to first-year representative, and prospective candidates did not know what they were getting involved in, Irvin said.

“Nobody really knows what the position is going to do because this is the first year that it’s been available to anyone,” he said. “No one knows what they’re getting involved in.”

The assembly passed legislation last semester to create a freshman representative position, and the title was later amended to read as first-year representative so that any first year students could join, said SG vice president Ashley Baker. Any student can run for the position as long as it’s their first year at UT, she said.

Many problems in this election could have been solved by increasing communication with first-year students who have the opportunity to run and vote in the election, Baker said.

“Every year it’s just reaching out to new students,” she said. ”We’re communicating to 10,000 students so publicity is always the fun part.”

Kinks in the campaign process may have arisen not only because this is the first time this election has been held, but it is also the first time many of the participants have run their own campaigns, said SG communications director Sydney Farenze.

“These kids are just running off of nothing,” she said. “When I ran my first campaign, I had people around me who’d done it before to tell me what not to do. I had so much help. It’s just so hard because these are their peers and they don’t have that guidance.”

A hearing was held last night for the disqualified students to plead that they be re-allowed into the race.

Printed on Wenesday, September 21, 2011 as: Freshman SG Candidates compete in election