Two weeks ago students made their voices heard in the Student Government Association elections, re-electing junior Ashley Nixon as president for another term.
Nixon, who attributes her victory to the valuable experience she has accrued over the past year as SGA President, said that her goal for the coming year is to improve communication between the Student Senate and the Executive Cabinet, and help voice students’ opinions to the administration.
“I feel like every day, I’m invited to a new [Facebook] group about student opinion on tuition or a building,” Nixon said. “I highly doubt President Hurley’s being invited to those.”
She also emphasized that students should not assume that the administration is not listening to what they have to say.
“They didn’t say one day, ‘Let tear down Seaco,’” Nixon said. “There are a lot of research and opinions that go into that…President Hurley has an open door policy. How many university presidents do that? There’s a very open environment at this university; people just don’t take advantage of it.”
Nixon said that the biggest issue on campus that she would like to address in her new term is the proposed tuition hike.
“As students, we expect a certain level of excellence from Mary Wash,” said Nixon, “For that, we do need a certain amount of money. But I don’t want the University to raise it as much as they were talking about at the beginning of the year.”
Sophomore Robert Belcourt, who lost to Nixon in the election, said that Nixon. “has done a great job in the past year as President. I think it is fair to say the UMW campus is better off than where it was a year ago.”
Belcourt also offered Nixon some advice for her next term.
“The most important thing that Ashley can do is to start communicating,” Belcourt said. “A lot of the problems with SGA right now stem from only a select group of students [Executive Cabinet] being informed. [Executive Cabinet] does not communicate at all with the Student Senate, and it has actually become frustrating.”
According to Christina Eggenberger, associate director of student activities and community service, 681 students voted in the elections.
“Nobody knows who their elected leaders are,” Belcourt said. “And I think this plays an important part in only having 681 votes cast. This number is far from good. The only way to get more votes is to get more students active in the system.”
Belcourt cited the Bullet, the SGA website, social networks and direct feedback as ways “to inform the student body of the issues.”
For the election of Judicial Review Board President, junior Evan Butler ran unopposed and won.
“We need a few more people on the board,” Butler said, identifying the main problem with JRB that he would like to fix as President. “We have to recruit. Also, if people get summoned to come to a hearing – no matter their role – they need to come to it.”
Junior Mohammad Mesbahi will be serving as JRB Vice President.
For Honor Council President, junior Aaron McPherson was elected, citing his two years served as Vice President for Honor Council for why he was elected over his opponent.
“It is really important to me to be a part of a community of trust, and I believe that the honor system is an integral part of this,” McPherson said. “I hope to expand the sense of honor at Mary Washington outside of the classroom and encourage students to live by it in their everyday life.”
Junior Mandi Solomon was elected president of the Inter-Club Association, responsible for helping new clubs form and assisting existing ones.
For President of Association of Residence Halls, which tries to offer a safe and fun community atmosphere to all in residence halls and on campus, junior Hannah Baumgardner was elected.
Student Government Association President: Ashley Nixon
Inter-Club Association President: Mandi Solomon
Association of Residence Halls President: Hannah Baumgardner
Judicial Review Board President: Evan Butler
Commuting Student Association President: Drema Khraibani
Legislative Action Committee Chair: Will Spaulding
Academic Affairs Council Chair: Meagan Holbrook
Diversity and Unity Coordinating Committee Chair: Marco Montero
Monique de la Cruz