Executive candidates prepare for SGA elections

Three students will be vying for the title of Student Government Association president and two for executive vice president during Spring elections on April 17 and 18.

Andi Dahmer, a current senator in SGA, is one of the three presidential candidates. Now a sophomore, Dahmer has been involved in SGA since she came to WKU as a freshman. Dahmer is currently the committee chair for MyCampusToo, an SGA committee that strives to improve diversity on campus.

During her time in the Senate, Dahmer has helped author 15 pieces of legislation including a resolution supporting the addition of an elevator to Gordon Wilson Hall and a resolution supporting diversity in on-campus housing.

Dahmer also worked on legislation to create the Jonesville scholarship and to outline the recommended qualities for WKU’s 10th president.

“Her track record in SGA of multiple pieces of legislation weekly in support of campus diversity and sustainability is astounding and shows her commitment to bettering our campus,” senator Conner Hounshell wrote on Facebook.

Savannah Molyneaux will be running for the executive vice presidential position on Dahmer’s ticket. Molyneaux is currently the chair of the sustainability committee and has helped author eight pieces of legislation during her time in SGA.

Many of the resolutions Molyneaux has worked on support sustainability initiatives on campus, such as the removal of styrofoam from dining locations and supporting vegetarian options in the Downing Student Union food court.

Current SGA secretary Kara Lowry is also on Dahmer’s ticket and will be running unopposed for the administrative vice presidential position.

“We strive to be dependable, accessible representatives for all WKU students,” Dahmer stated in her candidacy announcement on Facebook.

Opposing Dahmer will be current senator and junior Lily Nellans. Nellans was appointed to the Senate near the beginning of this semester and helped author a bill to encourage inclusivity in student organizations.

Nellans received an exemption from the judicial council in order to run for the executive position. According to the SGA Constitution, article 2.2.5, the president “shall have completed one year of membership as an elected or appointed officer in the Student Government Association or may be granted an exemption by Judicial Council.”

Nellans sought an exemption during a judicial council meeting on April 3. Brian Anderson, Nellans’ EVP running mate, sent an email to Chief Justice Cody Cox before the meeting in favor of the exemption.

“The election appears, at this point, to be an uncontested race,” Anderson stated in the email, referring to Dahmer being the only other candidate at the time. “By allowing another person to enter the race, I believe this will improve the value of our elections and heighten the level of debate.”

Nellans said if elected president she will surround herself with more experienced SGA members to make up for the limited time she has been involved in the senate.

Anderson, a sophomore, is currently a senator and is chair of the Legislative Research committee. Nellans and Anderson are both members of the WKU Forensics Team, which recently won second in an American Forensic Association national tournament.

The pair have a website detailing policies they wish to implement, including a way for students to pay off parking ticket debts via volunteerism. At a recent WKU Young Democrats meeting, Nellans said her number one priority in office is strengthening the student voice to ensure students’ opinions are heard.

“We want to be the people you can come to to say, ‘The administration’s not listening to us; get them in gear,’ and we will get them in line,” Anderson said.

Nellans also said she and Anderson have a history of speaking at city commission meetings and against university cuts such as those to the former Institute for Citizenship and Responsibility.

Some other policies they mention are improving campus accessibility, expanding food options for those with dietary restrictions, and improving SGA participation.

The final candidate for SGA president will be current senator and freshman Kenan Mujkanovic.

Mujkanovic was also granted an exemption at an emergency-called judicial council meeting on Thursday night.

Mujkanovic was appointed as a senator to SGA this semester, meaning he has not served a full year as a senator. Like Nellans, Mujkanovic needed an exemption from SGA’s judicial council to run for an executive position.

Cody Cox, chief justice for the judicial council, said Mujkanovic asked for an exemption on Tuesday, several hours before the deadline to apply to run for SGA office. Cox also mentioned there was not a set deadline for when an exemption must be brought before the judicial council.

Mujkanovic said he “overlooked that point” during the application process.

“I understand that is completely my fault and I accept that,” Mujkanovic said.

After speaking before the judicial council and answering questions from justices, the justices took a vote. They ruled 5-2 in favor of allowing Mujkanovic to run, with Cox and associate justice Annalicia Carlson voting against.

Several justices cited precedent as the reason for voting to allow him to run, since they also gave an exemption to Nellans.

Mujkanovic is the co-founder of the Young Visionaries Foundation, a non-profit organization that encourages young people to give back the Bowling Green community. He also recently authored “Voices of Bowling Green: Tales of Young Visionaries,” a collection of stories from the youth of Bowling Green.

Mujkanovic has also received several awards for his foundation including the National Caring Award and the 2015 President’s Volunteer Service Award.

“I am beyond excited, humbled, and ready to run for President,” Mujkanovic stated in his candidacy announcement on Facebook. “Ever since I have started attending WKU, it has been one of my biggest goals to become the student body President.”

Spring elections will take place April 17 and 18, and students can vote by using TopNet. Results of the election will be announced at 12:01 a.m. on April 19 in the SGA Senate Chambers.

Reporters Jamie Williams and Monica Kast can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] and [email protected]