UK Student Government Association opens applications for senator, student body president


Travis Fannon

UK student government Elections Commissioner Jacob Keeton speaks to perspective candidates in the Senate Chamber at the Gatton Student Center Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Travis Fannon | Staff

Owen Chesemore, Reporter

On Jan. 16, the Student Government Association (SGA) opened applications for the upcoming spring elections. Three days later, SGA conducted its first information session, hosted by Elections Commissioner Jacob Keeton and Student Body Vice President Amelia Pace.

This spring, students have the opportunity to run for a variety of positions, including senator, student body president and student body vice president.

Students interested in running for any of the open positions have until Jan. 30 to file for candidacy. There is also a write-in period which begins on Jan 30 after the filing period ends. The write-in period concludes on Feb. 19.

Polls will open on Feb. 27, with polling locations in the Gatton Student Center, the Jacob Science Building and the Johnson Center. Students can also vote online. The last poll will close on BBNvolved on Feb. 28 at 4 p.m.

UKSGA will announce the official results before spring break.

SGA Senatorial and Presidential positions

UKSGA gives the Student Senate several responsibilities. These duties include approving UKSGA’s budget, enacting policy, appropriating funds and impeaching or removing any active member.

The Student Senate is also in charge of approving the nominations of all appointed executive branch officers, election board members and supreme court justices. Keeton said senators also work with other campus organizations and create codes.

Students can register for all available positions via BBNvolved. The UKSGA requires all applicants to attend a candidates meeting and be in good standing with the university.

Students can apply to either represent their college or become an undergraduate at-large senator. Both hold important roles, but college senators carry more responsibilities and higher duties. Last year, 18 people ran for the undergraduate at-large vacancies.

Section 1 of Article 1 in the UKSGA constitution offers further information regarding the mechanics of the Senate. The legislative branch contains at least 40 senators. Each college receives one representative, then freshmen senators and senators-at-large fill the remaining seats.

Candidates can submit a platform statement for their campaign. This message enables voters to understand what goals the individual intends to fulfill if elected.

Campaigns can only begin after the student has sent their application. Keeton and Pace encouraged attendees to utilize their social media and friends to gain voters.

Many rules govern how contenders can recruit voters. For instance, no aspiring senator can hang posters in classrooms or perform door-to-door campaigning in residence halls.

The SGA Governing Codes contain all of the election codes. Students may report a candidate if they violate these policies.

On Jan. 26, SGA will host a president and vice president information session. Students who meet the requirements can apply and, if accepted as nominees, will attend a president and vice president debate in February.

Pace said candidates should be approachable and aware of on campus issues.

“(Be) mindful of different people’s backgrounds and how you can best serve them, even if that doesn’t necessarily serve yourself,” she said.

When reflecting upon her experience of running for senator, Pace encouraged students to not be afraid of the process.

“All of these rules, campaigning and platforms and things like that can seem really intimidating.” she said. “Listen to people when they encourage you, I think is like my biggest advice, and don’t discount yourself because you can do it if you put your heart (into) it.”