Moving forward from a disheartening election

Madison Gardner

The past month has been an adventure to say the least. I know most students probably don’t care much for Student Government, but I really believe in what the organization can do for students. I’m incredibly proud of our campaign to unite students and to inspire support for noble and realistic solutions to some of the most serious problems on campus. Regardless of our candidacy, more students today understand and support efforts to increase student engagement, retention, affordability, services, safety and traditions than did when we began our campaign almost a month ago.

After being disqualified — for the second time — we’ve conceded that our passions and commitment are meant for something else. There are many things I know we would have accomplished. I hope that the next administration takes their responsibility very seriously and represents students to administrators, legislators and the Board of Regents.

I do not want to write about how we were wrongly disqualified twice. I do want to express my dissatisfaction with the entire election process and how hard it is to campaign for the support of 50,000 students only to be removed from the ballot for a petty mistake. Although there is no other case of disqualification for an honest mistake, I hope students realize the effect this has had and will have on campus. Ultimately, the legitimacy of our representation and claim to leadership comes from the unrestricted voices and votes of students.

As a servant of the students, I truly admire all of you. Serving in SG for three years and running for student body president at the University of Texas at Austin have been my life’s most extraordinary pleasure and humbling honor. Therefore, I ask all of our supporters to resist despair; our belief and cause go on. Individually, our accomplishments are some of the best in the nation. United, we change the world.

Gardner is a former Student Government presidential candidate.