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By BRIAN BIGELOW | Assistant News Editor
Last week the student body made its voice heard by electing its Student Government Association representatives for the upcoming academic year.
There were 872 valid votes cast in the election held from Tuesday, March 22, through Thursday, March 24, though not all ballots contained votes for all positions.
Current SGA Chief Justice Trenton Gaasch was elected SGA president with 490 votes. He defeated runner-up Kelvin Rutledge who received 332 votes.
All SGA executive council positions and SGA senate positions, except for freshman and graduate senate seats, were decided in the election.
Both SGA executive branch officers and senate members elected during the spring semester will serve a term of “one calendar year” beginning one day after spring commencement, according to SGA constitution.
Catherine Denton, who ran unopposed, was elected SGA vice president with 97 percent of the vote.
Jesse Brewer was elected executive secretary with 62 percent of the vote. Both are currently serving terms as senators for the College of Arts and Letters.
Election results were announced by Associate Justice and acting Chief Justice Katherine White and ratified by three members of the SGA internal affairs committee on Friday, March 25. All election results were unanimously ratified.
“I hold a strong desire to provide a more effective way for students to express their questions, comments and concerns,” Gaasch said.
The president is responsible for acting as the voice of the student body, as well as appointing members to research and senate committees. He also serves as a non-voting member of the senate.
One way Gaasch hopes to accomplish greater student involvement is to introduce a monthly “table of concern” in the Morgan University Center where a representative of SGA will be present to listen to students’ questions and concerns.
“One great thing about the newly elected executive committee is that we have similar things that we would like to see happen this upcoming term,” Denton said.
“I would like to see legislation that is written to reflect the wants and needs of the student body.” Denton said.
Denton counts among her priorities “implementing more student forums, ‘revamping’ SGA sponsored events and taking different approaches to common situations.”
The position of vice president entails assisting the president in administrative duties, taking over as president in the event a president can no longer fulfill his or her duties, leading senate meetings and acting as chairperson of the Greater Halloween Options for Safe Trick or Treating (G.H.O.S.T.) program.
“I have heard students do not know who represents them, when SGA meetings are held and what SGA does,” said Brewer.
“I plan to personally work on advertising SGA among APSU students.”
“The current president, Kenny Kennedy, has done an excellent job,” Gaasch said.
“And I plan on meeting with him … to not only make a smooth transition into the position, but to accrue as much information about the position as possible.”
“SGA is a large student organization and nothing we do is really a one man task,” said Kennedy said.
“It’s been my job this year to connect students’ concerns to administration, faculty and staff,” Kennedy said.
“I really hope that’s my legacy, that during my time in office, students felt like SGA was listening and responding to what they were saying.”
Kennedy is enthusiastic in his support of Gaasch as the president-elect.
“[As Chief justice, Gaasch] learned a great deal about being SGA president. He was able to see and learn from my mistakes and successes,” Kennedy said. TAS