Filing for Student Government positions, including president, vice president and University representatives, began Tuesday.
Campaigning begins Feb. 17 and runs through elections on March 2–3, according to the Dean of Students website. Jakob Lucas, speaker of the Student Government, said the filing period is the best for current members to work on policy because most of the attention is on the potential candidates. Lucas also said current leaders are more productive during this time, so they get reelected.
“There is always a difference between politics and policy, and this period affords us the ability to work on policy, not politics,” Lucas said.
Before the elections, Student Government’s general objective is to finish legislation that was started last semester before the new term begins in March, Lucas said.
Student Government will focus more on faculty misconduct policies this semester following the allegations of sexual misconduct against professors Coleman Hutchison and Sahotra Sarkar. Last semester, Student Government decided to take a backseat on legislation regarding these issues to allow other organizations to have a stronger role, Lucas said.
“The issue of faculty misconduct (is) something that last semester Student Government didn’t (previously) have a huge voice in because all of the leaders realized it was good for us to take a step back,” Lucas said.
Lucas said the other issues Student Government will prioritize this semester include affordability, accessibility, tuition and textbook costs. All of these issues will be further discussed in the upcoming Student Government meeting.
Ricky Cooks, Student Government chief of staff, said that the executive branch is working on expanding the SURE Walk program and wants to work with Texas Athletics on adding golf carts to the program. Cooks also said the Continuity Committee, which is focused on continuing work on past unfinished legislation without starting from scratch, is working to wrap up previous projects.
“With elections coming up … we’re being pushed against the end of our term,” Cooks said.
Cooks said one initiative during this time is reaching out to and connecting with a variety of students. The SG executive branch is doing a listening tour this semester, visiting different organizations and getting a feel for campus climate, student body president Camron Goodman said. He said this is intended to encourage students to run for student government positions and address any questions and concerns.
Although filing only began on Tuesday, there has been a great amount of interest surrounding this election season among students, and Student Government is aiming to add new perspectives through a diverse group of candidates, Goodman said.
“The energy has definitely increased around being involved in Student Government,” Goodman said.
Goodman said Student Government wants to solidify the organization’s relationship with the student body and will be hosting a workshop to provide campaigning advice and encouragement for students who are interested in running.