Emory University’s Student Government Association (SGA) kicked off the 2023 election cycle with three candidate information meetings held on Feb. 5, 6 and 7. During the sessions, various student government officers, including SGA President Noah Marchuck (24C), College Council (CC) President Akshat Toshniwal (23C) and Bachelor of Business Administration Council (BBA) Co-Vice President of Clubs Alexander Panton (23B), announced open president, vice president, legislative and representative positions for their respective organizations.

In a change from the previous election cycle, both full and part time students can run for the SGA presidency. This requirement was heavily emphasized in the interest meeting, appearing on the two slides detailing candidate eligibility during the Feb. 6 meeting, which had about 19 attendees.

During the Feb. 6 meeting, SGA Board of Elections Chair Annie Skelton (21Ox, 23C) also clarified a rule barring executive board officers of executive agencies from holding positions in the student legislature, either as a representative or a divisional representative.

Emory’s Student Government Association held three candidate information meetings on Zoom. (Andrea Lopez/Contributing Writer)

In accordance with the revised Code of Elections passed in fall 2022, presidential candidates facing financial difficulties can now petition for SGA to cover all of their campaigning financial needs, according to Skelton.

“In my knowledge, it has not been talked about in the info sessions,” Skelton said, referring to past years. “So I did want to just bring that information to the forefront, even though candidates have always had the information.”

In previous years, several  students ran unopposed. In spring 2022, Marchuck, Toshniwal and CC Vice President Neha Murthy (24C) all ran unopposed for their respective positions as SGA vice president, CC president, and CC vice president. In the same year, of the six open positions for both CC junior legislators and CC senior legislators, only three rising junior and two rising seniors ran, leaving seven vacancies.

In response, Marchuck said SGA has increased efforts to spread awareness about the elections this year. Skelton echoed these sentiments, explaining that SGA sent out three campus-wide emails about the information sessions and posted on Instagram.

However, Panton said there were over 200 sign ups for BBA council positions at last month’s Student Involvement Fair.

“We’re going to be having a ton of interviews soon, so definitively and unequivocally there will be no candidates running unopposed within the BBA Council,” Panton said.

Marchuck also addressed concerns about how SGA presents eligibility information to prospective candidates following last year’s SGA presidential election, in which Elisabet Ortiz (26C) was disqualified due to her enrollment status as a gap year student. All prospective candidates were required to attend a newly-codified Feb. 10 meeting to discuss campaigning and election rules, as well as have their campaign materials approved.

Voting is set to begin on Feb. 24.

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