The Undergraduate Student Government president and vice president have both resigned and a special election to fill these positions is to be held during the first two weeks of the semester at the University of Connecticut.
On Thursday July 9, USG posted a statement on Instagram announcing the resignation of President Joshua Crow and Vice President Alexandra Ose. Former Speaker of the Senate, Will Schad, has taken on the role of interim president due to the line of succession specified in the USG constitution.
Schad said that while the election has not been scheduled yet, Student Activities has indicated that the earliest an election can be held is the 11th day of classes.
“It’s probably going to look a lot like a normal USG election,” Schad said, “but we will be taking extra steps to make sure that people who may not be on campus or may be new still have knowledge of it and still have the ability to participate in that election.”
In his two years of USG, Schad has been a committee member, an ACES Senator and most recently he was elected North Campus Senator and won Speaker of the Senate last semester.
Schad said he wants to use his brief time in this role to advocate for students during discussions with administration about institutional racism and mental health. He also plans to reduce the elitism that USG exhibits by simplifying the legislation process and eliminating the use of titles when referring to other USG members.
He said he hopes this special election gains the trust of the student body.
“More than anything, I think that all of those problems require us to have a good relationship with our constituents,” Schad said. “That’s what this election is about, it’s saying, ‘We know that we should not have the say as to who runs your student government,’ and we want to give that power back to the students as best as possible.”
Seventh-semester chemical engineering major Talha Bhatti said in a text that he does not think the resignations will change much, and that USG should use its resources to create a “[psuedo]-organization” that handles instances of racism and inequality separately.
“I think an independent task force working in conjunction with the university funded by USG and PIRG will be the best thing,” Bhatti said. “USG has the potential for great change and progress but it can’t be achieved with the people they have.”
USG Advocacy Director for the Student Development Committee, Sofía Rodríguez, is working toward that change. She said USG needs to move forward and focus on a long overdue restructuring of the organization.
As voter turnout for USG elections has always been very poor, she said, Rodríguez hopes that students will feel empowered to not only run for the newly opened positions but vote for them, too.
“I want this reelection to be one of restored faith, fresh faces and passionate people, and that definitely includes voters,” Rodríguez said. “Ultimately I hope that this reelection will result in more representative candidates for our students.”
The election will look a lot like a normal USG election, but candidates will most likely need a reduced number of signatures to put their names on the ballot to make it more accessible for students, according to Schad.
Schad said former president Crow has offered to advise him in any way that he can for the remainder of Schad’s time as interim president.