MUSG spring elections postponed due to coronavirus concerns

MUSG+postponed+its+spring+elections.+

Photo by Jordan Johnson

MUSG postponed its spring elections.

Marquette University Student Government has postponed its spring elections until April 23 and all campaigning— in-person or virtual — until April 13 amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The announcement was released in a March 14 statement MUSG posted on its Facebook page. 

However, since the university’s decision on March 24 to suspend all in-person classes for the remainder of the semester, MUSG leadership is considering changes to the proposed election schedule that was set forth following the university’s initial suspension of in-person instruction until April 10.

MUSG elections coordinator and senior in the College of Arts & Sciences Jimmy Carlton said MUSG is deliberating between keeping the April 23 election date in place — which would make the campaign process entirely virtual — and postponing the election entirely until the 2020 fall semester.

In the latter option, Carlton said that the current administration would most likely maintain office during the summer.

The term of the current MUSG President and Executive Vice President, Sara Manjee and Daniel Brophy, was originally set to expire April 1 of this year.

MUSG said in the statement that the decision was made entirely on “extenuating circumstances” and that under normal conditions,“it is unfeasible and unfair to the two (incoming) presidential and executive vice presidential tickets.” The decision was reached with input from both MUSG advisers and the MUSG elections coordinator, Jimmy Carlton, according to the statement.

“Most of the campaign materials and information (of running candidates) are already provided on MUSG’s website during each election,” Carlton said in a phone call. “The election could proceed virtually, although there may be lower voter turnout. … If the election were to be postponed until the fall, the following administration would lose important time needed to prepare for the year. The situation is unprecedented.”

Manjee, the current MUSG President, said this is a time of great uncertainty.

“But it’s important for students to focus on themselves — managing coursework, getting enough sleep, washing hands, simple things — especially now,” she said in a phone call.

Although MUSG is not meeting in person, the executive board is still convening regularly, and student senate has met this week virtually, Manjee said. However, there are student government programs and projects that will be interrupted until MUSG can return to campus. Initiatives surrounding campus safety, sustainability, Title IX, and mental health among others have been suspended until further notice. Spot funding for student organizations has also been temporarily suspended, meaning student organizations will not be able to request additional funding from MUSG apart from what was allocated at the start of the semester.

“There are just some things that can’t be done without physically being on campus,” Brophy said. “It’s unfortunate … but realistic.”

This story was written by Nicole Laudolff. She can be reached at nicole.laudolff@marquette.edu.