by MARIAH YOUNG
Special elections for the University of Mary Washington Student Government Association Vice President and Judicial Review Board President began on Sunday, Jan. 22 and ended at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Jan. 25. Monique dela Cruz was elected as the SGA Vice President and Elizabeth Brennan was elected as JRB president.
The student body received ballots and voted through emails sent on Sunday at 6 p.m.
The elections were held after both Ashley Nixon, former SGA president, and Evan Butler, former JRB president, did not return to their positions for the spring semester. Nixon received a job with State Senator-elect Bryce Reeves and decided to step down and Butler graduated after the fall semester.
Dela Cruz and Sean Simons, both juniors, ran for SGA Vice President. Emily Sherman and Elizabeth Brennan were the two candidates for JRB president.
On Tuesday, Jan. 24 there was a vice presidential debate at 12:30 p.m. in the Underground. Both dela Cruz and Simons attended. Issues discusses ranged from topics such as experience and how they will serve the students.
“The debate showed that not a lot of people at Mary Washington pay attention to our school government and the things they can really do for us,” said freshman Kathe Smith.
“I believe the debate provided students with a sharp contrast between the status quo and my vision for our student government’s future,” said Simons.
Dela Cruz was acting Vice President when Robert Belcourt became SGA president in the middle of last semester to fill the position. Dela Cruz is an economics and business double major.
“SGA is something I have been in and it has shaped my UMW experience greatly. I want to stay involved till the end of my senior year, no matter what position I am in,” said dela Cruz.
According to the UMW SGA website, dela Cruz has served as publicity chair and vice president of Student Senate. She was also SGA treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee. Additionally, she has served on the SGA Executive Cabinet.
“There are a lot of ideas about how we should improve SGA, and there are some obstacles,” said dela Cruz. “Having been involved I know how it works. I think it’s easy to say it needs improvement, but being involved would make it easier.”
Her platform calls for transparency within the student government. Her goal is to make it clear that SGA is here to work for the students, not administration.
“I’m not a politics person – I’m in SGA because I love the school,” said dela Cruz.
Simons, the other vice presidential candidate, is a junior political science and political communications double major.
“I would like to get involved with politics but am hoping to use the skills I have learned at Mary Washington to best serve others and empower them in their communities,” said Simons.
Simons is a senator in the SGA and serves on the UMW Dining Committee, Parking Committee and Campus Center Planning Committee. He also works very closely with many of the members of the UMW administration on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, Simons has worked for three members of the U.S. Congress and spent time in the mayor of Philadelphia’s office writing speeches.
The JRB president’s position was also filled during the special election. Emily Sherman and Brennan, juniors, both ran for the position.
Sherman is a junior environmental science major. She hopes to go into environmental organizing after graduation, concentrating in poverty and development action. She is the judicial review board secretary, student senate sustainability chair, La Ceiba microfinance marketing chair, poverty action conference coordinator and ecology club president.
“The JRB exists to educate students on Mary Washington policies, not for the purpose of punishment. I would love to see more people take advantage of this opportunity,” said Sherman.
She continued, “My goal over the next few months would be to encourage people to utilize the JRB when they go through the judicial process and ensure that they feel comfortable doing so.”
Brennan, elected JRB president, is a junior English major.
When asked, Brennan did not give any comment about her election win.
The next round of SGA and JRB special elections will take place later in the spring of 2012.