On Thursday night, the UWS Student Government Association (SGA) unanimously passed legislation that postpones the planned spring 2020 elections to the beginning of the fall 2020 semester due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to this change, the current SGA will remain in power until the completion of the elections in the fall. However, the students in these positions will not receive payment during this period unless reelected.
“It’s a tough situation, with the way we’re going to end this year. I think it would be a lot easier if we don’t pay anybody. It’s tough that [students] will have to do the first month of work without compensation, but maybe down the line we’ll look at how much work was done within that month,” said SGA President Zack Abt regarding the prorating of fall stipends.
Abt went on to explain that it would be tough to work with the Financial Aid Office to only get a portion of the stipend paid out because of the way that they are processed. “They basically told me that it would be tough for us to give out parts of certain stipends.” The stipends are processed in a way that they go towards a student’s financial aid package.
“It’s a lot messier [than it seems]. We can probably find some form of compensation, but as of right now we plan on getting on this pretty quick with the legislation. Come October, we should already have anyone who’s going to be elected, elected.”
“In my opinion, we should give whoever is elected that full stipend in the fall because they’re going to be doing catch-up work,” said Sustainability Liason Dan Pearson.
At the end of this semester, SGA is losing a substantial portion of its team including the vice president and several liaisons. These positions will remain vacated until the elections take place.
Ideally, the elections will be taken care of within the first three weeks of the semester. The plan states that election packets will become available at the Yellowjacket Union front desk by 9:00 a.m. of the first Monday of the fall 2020 semester. From there, any interested parties will have two weeks to collect the required number of signatures.
As per the original plan for spring 2020, the election will be held online. The Thursday of the week of packet collection is currently planned as the election date. Then, as of right now, election day will be Thursday.
“This would be our first year trying [online voting]. Other universities have used it in the past, so they’ve got a system for when things fall through,” said SJC Chair Madison Hale regarding why online elections weren’t attempted this spring. Hale also noted that, if necessary, students could gather election packet signatures virtually as well.