Undergraduate Student Government petitions now available

Jenna Staul

Undergraduate Student Senate has spent much of the last year reinventing itself into the fledgling Undergraduate Student Government. They moved one step closer with a unanimous vote to pass the bylaws of the newly formed government at Wednesday’s USS meeting.

Executive Director Katie Hale said the group decided to restructure itself in order to provide students with a more effective, representative government.

Jonithon LaCross, senator for university affairs, is satisfied with the new USG.

“I like it,” LaCross said. “I think there are going to be complications and roadblocks, but everything is hammered out.”

Changing Roles

While its USS predecessor was made up of nine senators, USG will be expanded to 25 members. Members will serve as either directors in the group’s Executive Cabinet or senators who represent specific constituencies of Kent State students.

USG directors will have the same duties as the current USS members, such as governmental affairs, student involvement and academic affairs. Each of the 10 colleges on campus will be represented by one of the newly added senators. Other constituencies senators represent include non-traditional students, commuters, and international students.

Hale said the new members were added to make the group more reflective of the student body it governs.

“Its hard for the nine of us to gauge everyone’s needs and wants and to advocate for the entire campus,” Hale said. “This allows us to tap into more outlets than previously.”


Each of the 25 members will receive pay for their role on USG. This year, Hale received $2,510 for her position in the group. Next term’s executive director will receive the same amount. Directors will receive $1,673 – the same amount this year’s senators were paid. Compensation for the newly added senators has not yet been decided, but will be less than what directors are paid.

Hale said despite spending nearly a year structuring USG, she has not yet reached an agreement on senator pay with the Student Leader Development Board. The board raises funds for student government compensation through a fee built into tuition costs.

“It’s not up in the air,” Hale said. “I just can’t say anything until they have signed off on that.”

Election Concerns

In the past, USS has had trouble finding people interested to serve, and with the addition of 16 new members those concerns are heightened.

“I’m concerned that it’s too much,” said Michael Hammond, senator for research and development. “It could be confusing for people, but I’m excited for the change.”

In order to attract potential candidates, USS has advertised in the Daily Kent Stater and on Facebook, as well as through posters and announcements Hale has been making in classes.

“I’m hoping that there will be some contention,” Hale said.

The deadline for candidate petitions is Feb. 8. If candidate turnout is too low, USS will go through a formal process of extending the deadline. If only one candidate applies for a position, he or she will automatically be selected.

Elections for USG will be held March 10 and 11 with campaigning beginning Feb. 12. Hale said the restructuring of the group consumed much of the last year, sometimes at the expense of other projects, and but she believes it will pay off.

“We’ve definitely had to make sacrifices,” Hale said. “But it was worth it. I think we accomplished a lot.”

Contact student politics reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].