Hawse-Elias ticket wins unchallenged SGA election


Michael Hawse and Maya Elias pose for a portrait at the Gatton Student Center on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Photo by Corrie McCroskey | Staff

Sarah Michels

Usually, candidates don’t know the final election results until several hours after the polls have closed. But Michael Hawse and Maya Elias had a several day head start on their victory lap. 

The pair, who ran for president and vice president of UK’s Student Government Association, were announced as the unofficial winners of the election Tuesday night a little before 10:30. Hawse, a junior political science major, and Elias, a junior pursuing a mathematics and business communications dual degree, ran on a platform emphasizing university accountability, community advocacy and allyship, transformation and student empowerment. 

Hawse said their first action upon taking office will be to create communication channels on campus. 

“I think the first thing would be talking about how we can actually get students to talk to administration and actually have the ability to make that real change, not just through us, but through themselves, and making sure that students have the power to actually make that real change on campus,” Hawse said. 

Originally, Hawse and Elias were campaigning against Parker Tussey and Brandon Brown. However, Tussey and Brown suspended their campaign Wednesday, March 3, after news surfaced about one of their student endorsements, David “Seth” Shockley.

Shockley, who immediately resigned from his position as SGA director of government relations following this incident, had used the N-word in a resurfaced 2016 Tweet. Brown told the Kernel he objected to posting Shockley’s endorsement, but Tussey did anyways. After that, Brown decided he couldn’t continue with the campaign. 

Hawse said that the Tussey-Brown campaign’s exit from the race didn’t change much about their own. 

“We wanted to express our message to everybody on campus, and we ran it in the same way that we would,” he said. “We want to convince this campus that we were the most qualified candidates, and that we deserve this position, because we’ve truly believed that we do.”

Once in office, Hawse and Elias will pursue some of the policy objectives they mentioned throughout their campaign, including:

  • amplifying the voices of all students on campus, not just those of a certain group
  • creating a transition program for students moving from virtual college to in-person classes post-pandemic
  • holding university administration accountable for their Covid-19 response and its effect on the campus and broader Lexington community
  • pushing administrators to hold office hours 
  • drafting a mental health bill of rights, which will include more counselor center funding, diversified hiring and a focus on privacy
  • working to give UK students free parking coupons through their link blue IDs
  • increasing funding for multicultural organizations
  • lobbying for an alumni-student mentorship program through the Alumni Association
  • providing more grants to offset expenses for things like textbooks, graduate school admission materials, access codes and campus organizations

Elias said that they hope to bring all of their platform ideas to life, and that they are thankful for all of the students who believed in them enough to vote for them. The pair will be inaugurated this April. 

“Nothing on our platform we didn’t feel like was not tangible,” Hawse said. “We’re ready to work for students.”