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February 13, 2005

An SG Update

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Students Government campaigns are only a couple more weeks away. I haven’t had as much time as I would like to keep up to date on all the activities going on, but I think it is time for a quick update on the state of the campaigns.

There are only two tickets this year, and of course, they have the standard, oh-so-creative one word names.

Ignite v. CONNECT

Ignite is headed up by Jessica Rice and Colby Hanks while CONNECT is led by Omar Ochoa and Elizabeth Brummet. For more on these people check out this original post I made last fall. Of course, since that post, Wes Carpenter has dropped off from heading the ticket that Rice now leads. Jessica Rice is currently on the Executive Board of SG.

The difference this year is that both tickets can be considered "SG" tickets. There is no major outside or reform group, though I'm sure that each may try to cast themselves that way. I haven’t seen the down ballot candidate placements (send them to me if your ticket has finalized them) but I wouldn't be surprised to see competitive placement of various SG agencies and student group leaders. Of course, it may depend on who has managed to add more of these such people to their ticket because until turnout rises, those people are important.

Both groups have already had their A-Frame building parties at Frat houses, Ignite hosting theirs at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house on 26th and Pearl and CONNECT at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house on 25th and Pearl. Both have had their first big campaign rallies earlier today which should be the initial indication of momentum in the race, so if anyone has a report on that as well, please let me know.

Now as to the all important question, who is the frontrunner? (Oh, and there is no race for Daily Texan editor or Texas Student Publications Board since there were as many candidates as seats)

It's hard to say. I'm tempted to say the Ignite ticket because I've just seen more of them everywhere and more of them keep in constant contact with me. Important to note as well is that at this time I would predict that the University Democrats would be more likely to endorse the Ignite ticket than CONNECT, partly because Jessica Rice has been to our meetings, partly because one of our officers is on their ticket. After last year's non-endorsement in the SG elections (beyond the UDs running), I feel the group is hungry to endorse an entire slate. And if turnout in the election is similar to last year, the 100 votes that can easily come from the UDems membership (and possibly more if we are active in the voting process) will represent 1%-2% of the vote. Nothing in comparison to having say a dozen frats on your side, which could be 1%-2% of the vote each.

This is why I hope that this year's elections help set up which I think is the more important longer term goal that I mentioned in that post I linked to above. A longer term, more progressive reform oriented ticket that is not dependant on the frats but on student organizations and the everyday populace here at UT.

But for now, that's my Burnt Orange Report. I very well may pick progressive back and forth down the ballot like last year. There is the chance that this year, more than the last two, there will no longer be 100% landslides.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at February 13, 2005 11:42 PM | TrackBack


SEC President is no longer a ticket participating office (a la changes we enacted in the SEC and passed through the Tx Union BOD).

This is an important post as it puts the person in charge of one of the largest student organizations on campus (400+ members) and a budget well in excess of what SG has.

Anyways, I'd like to see some more coverage on the race. Four contestants this year (Since they aren't bound by tickets anymore).

Posted by: matt h at February 14, 2005 12:52 PM

Who's running?

Posted by: chrisken at February 14, 2005 02:16 PM

Yeah, who is in the race? I heard that it was separated this year, which makes sense, but it's not exactly been on my radar. I'd love to cover it if you can give us a primer.

Posted by: Karl-Thomas at February 14, 2005 02:21 PM


The candidates are;

John G. Grube (Chair of the Distinguished Speakers Committe)
Joy Phillips (VP of Internal Communications)
Justin Burniske (Ex-Chair of Madrigral Dinner Committee, currently VP of Budgets and Evaluations)
Julio 'Javy" Vela (Chair of Mexican American Culture Committee)

The job of the president is to be the representative of the Student Events Center to the community and the administration. As well he or she appoints the executive officers (usually 8 or 9) and organizes the executive structure.

The President is renumerated much like other top student Executives at UT with a stipend, an office, and a parking pass.

The president is an ex-officio voting member of the Texas Union Board of Directors.

Though being on a ticket has positives, on the whole the SEC president was going to be determined by the performance of the ticket and not the merits of the different individuals. I won last year by 70% and, though I think i'm a great political mind, it was greatly due to the ticket.

It also limited the number of candidates who could reasonably run to the number of reasonable tickets.

In doing this we upped the requirement to two semesters in the SEC + being currently an active member and also raised the campaign spending amount to $400.

I'll be in my office in the Union tomorrow 330 if you want to stop by. I'll also be happy to introduce you to the candidates.

Posted by: matth at February 14, 2005 09:26 PM

I wonder how effective a popular election of the SEC president really is. In reality he/she gets basically zero media exposure. That's not to say that the position is less important than any other campus position, I just don't see how students in general can receive sufficient information to evaluate SEC candidates. It seems like it would be better to have the election be internal to the Student Events Center.

Posted by: chrisken at February 15, 2005 01:45 AM


We're working on that. All the candidates are going to have to work hard to get votes outside of the SEC to get elected. We upped their amounts so they could buy more advertising. We're giving them opportunities to speak at our events. We're buying Texan ad-space and I hope we have a Daily Texan Endorsement.

It is a valid concern but the position was changed to external election because internal election created a very incestous system that resulted in what was the Texas Union Council becoming an ineffective organization. You should see and hear a lot more about the SEC presidential candidates this year.

Posted by: matth at February 15, 2005 09:21 AM
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