With less than a week until campaigning officially starts, the presidential and vice presidential tickets, as well as the governor and lieutenant governor tickets, for the upcoming Student Government (SG) general election were released Monday night after meeting SG’s eligibility requirements.
Three tickets will compete to represent USF’s three campuses as the next student body president and vice president. This year’s applicant pool, however, are all from the Tampa campus. For the governor and lieutenant governor positions, three applications were received to represent the Tampa campus with one ticket still pending approval, while the St. Pete and Sarasota-Manatee campuses received one application each.
The three presidential and vice presidential tickets are Gustavo Spangher and Yovela Debesay, Jaida Abbas and Jennifer Kelly, and Julia Cunningham and Jillian Wilson.
All presidential and vice presidential candidates are either currently involved or have been involved in SG in the past.
With his term as the current student body vice president nearing its end, Spangher will be campaigning for his second term in SG as the next student body president alongside running mate and current senator Debesay. Both Spangher and Debesay have a long list of affiliations with university departments and organizations, ranging from student organizations to university departments.
The second ticket consists of Abbas and Kelly, third-year students majoring in political science. Abbas is currently the deputy public defender for the Tampa campus and previously served as the assistant director of government affairs. Kelly also serves in the federal executive branch as solicitor general.
Students will also have the option of electing a ticket with predominantly legislative SG experience, with Cunningham and Wilson both serving as SG senators. Cunningham currently sits on the Senate’s Ethics Committee and executive board of the Minorities in Pre-Law club and Wilson is a member of the USF Conduct Board, which hears cases of students who have violated the Student Code of Conduct going through a disciplinary hearing process.
Campaigns for governor and lieutenant governor at the Tampa campus also run thick with current SG officials. The two confirmed tickets are Yelizza’s Mercedes and Elizabeth Noonan, and Kiara Brooks and Alexis Roberson. The third ticket is still undergoing the eligibility process through SG, including their number of registered courses and GPA.
At the St. Pete campus, the uncontested candidates will be Veronica Jimenez and Eran Fruehauf who are both SG senators. Sarasota-Manatee’s ticket for governor and lieutenant governor will be current campus council member Riffatul Islam and current campus council representative for the Sarasota-Manatee campus Jovanna Arce.
While governor and lieutenant governor forums are still undetermined, a debate will be held for the president-vice presidential tickets Feb. 25 from 6-9:30 p.m. on Microsoft Teams.
Applications for Senate and Campus Council representatives have also been received, however they are still undergoing the eligibility confirmation process.
The Senate alone received 66 applications from Tampa, three from St. Pete and none from Sarasota-Manatee. Twenty-two applications were submitted for council representatives from Tampa, three from St. Pete and eight from Sarasota-Manatee.
The student body will elect 60 senators to serve in the SG Senate across all three campuses. The number of seats for each campus is based on student population, with 45 seats designated for Tampa, eight for St. Pete and seven for Sarasota-Manatee.
Students can also run for both Senate and campus council simultaneously. If candidates win both positions, then they would have to choose to serve in one role or the other. In total, 52 students applied from the Tampa campus while 11 and four students applied for the St. Pete and Sarasota-Manatee campuses, respectively. Each campus has one council with nine active members.
Regardless of the position, all candidates will have from Feb. 13 to March 11 to campaign, and voting will take place March 8-11. If a runoff is needed, it will take place the following week.