March 7: Candidate petitions due by 5 p.m.
March 8: Mandatory candidate meeting
March 14: Ballot is finalized
March 29: Candidate debate
April 4 through 8: Spring voting
The University of Colorado Student Government is expecting high student interest during spring elections after the passage of some recent bills affecting student groups left some students feeling ignored.
The deadline for spring candidates to turn in their petitions — a part of the application that requires between 25 and 150 student signatures depending on the office — is Monday by 5 p.m. Danielle Warly, CUSG’s election commissioner would not release the number of petitions currently received, but some students are already speculating increased interest.
Warly did not respond to requests for an interview Thursday but sent e-mailed statements regarding the spring elections.
Corey Wiggins, CUSG’s health and safety director — an appointed position — said he’s expecting more students to run for positions this spring and to vote during the elections beginning April 4.
“Just from word of mouth, I’ve heard there’s more people running this time than usual,” Wiggins said. “I think the fact that students don’t feel like they’re choices are being heard is driving a lot of the recent interest.”
More than 150 students attended CUSG’s Legislative Council meeting Feb. 24, to protest two bills that impacted funding for the Interactive Theatre Project and the Colorado Public Interest and Research Group — or CoPIRG. The bills were approved despite strong opposition from students who repeatedly asked CUSG representatives to hear their voices.
“In past CUSG meetings, over 200 students showed up and tried to talk to their representatives but it seems like the decisions are being made before students are being heard,” said environmental studies senior Dan Omasta. “The recent interest shows that students are getting fed up with being ignored.”
“Programs are being cut and things students really care about are being put under scrutiny,” Wiggins said. “They protested at last week’s meeting and it didn’t even make a difference.”
Wiggins, the health and safety director, said he’s planning to run for CUSG president this spring, a tri-executive position defined last spring as the face of the student government. Inspired by the recent protests, Wiggins said CUSG needs someone who can represent the voice of the students and not ignore them.
Jaime Trafficanda, international affairs junior and CoPIRG intern, said she’s running this spring for Arts and Sciences Student Government Representative. Trafficanda has never run for CUSG before and said she was encouraged by the recent activism from students at Legislative Council meetings.
“It was so wonderful to see so many people at the recent Legislative Council meetings, and I hope such involvement and interest continues,” Trafficanda said. “It is also moments like attending Legislative Council and seeing more than 100 students largely ignored that I realize I need to be the change I wish to see in CUSG.”
This spring 39 student government positions will be voted on by the student body, including three tri-executives, four representatives-at-large, seven Arts and Sciences representatives, 12 Engineering Council seats and 13 Leeds Council representatives.
This spring, a new online complaint system will go into effect allowing students to digitally file comments or complaints related to the candidates, election and CUSG at cusg.colorado.edu, Warly wrote in an e-mail.
“We switched to an online form, instead of having students submit a hard copy to CUSG offices … because we think it will be more accessible to the students,” Warly wrote.
Warly said CUSG is hoping for a large voter turnout this spring inspired by the Recreation Center referendum, which requires at least 25 percent of the student body — or about 7,500 students — and a simple majority to pass.
Getting the necessary voter turnout will be “a significant challenge since the highest percentage of the student population that has voted in any election was 24 percent,” according to a press release sent out by the CU Rec Center Tuesday.