Know before you vote: Here’s the skinny on this year’s SGA homecoming queens, Senate candidates and constitutional amendments

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Know before you vote: Here’s the skinny on this year’s SGA homecoming queens, Senate candidates and constitutional amendments

Madison McLean | @MadisonMcLean3 and Gerardo Aguilera | @jerry21aguilera

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Homecoming week has officially kicked off, with voting for homecoming queen beginning today, Oct. 22, from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. Students can access the voting portal through their MyBama home screen. 

Below are descriptions of the six homecoming queen candidates, as well as the two candidates running for Student Government Association (SGA) Senate seats this semester. Important amendments to the SGA constitution are also up for public vote. You can also read more about those below. 

Homecoming Queens

Olivia Rush

Olivia Rush is a senior at the University from Montgomery, Alabama majoring in communicative disorders. As part of her campaign platform, Rush is supporting the RISE Center, an early intervention and childhood preschool that integrates children with and without special needs in the same classroom. She said she hopes to unite the campus community and bridge the gap between children with and without disabilities. 

“I am thrilled to be running for homecoming queen in order to bring further awareness to the fantastic resource that is The RISE Center of Tuscaloosa,” Rush said. “I have been nothing short of inspired by the services that the center provides for Tuscaloosa families and it is an honor to represent this philanthropy in my platform!”

Rush is sponsored by the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

Bryan Covington

Bryan Covington is a senior from Houston, Texas majoring in marketing. For her campaign, she is partnering with the Kristen Amerson Foundation, a Tuscaloosa based philanthropy that works with local schools to present programs on suicide prevention, bullying, and drug and alcohol abuse. She said she believes by raising awareness of this organization on campus and providing the foundation with resources, the student body can work to bring young people in Tuscaloosa education about mental health and decrease the juvenile suicide rate.

“I’m running for homecoming queen this year to represent both the Kristen Amerson Youth Foundation and the founder JacQuan’s mission to teach kids about suicide, bullying, and substance abuse so that they are properly equipped to tackle these difficult subjects head on,” Covington said. “I am also running as a representation of the Blount Scholars Program and the Blount Student Organization and all the wonderful people in the program who have supported me throughout my time at Alabama and were willing to support me through this campaign journey.”

Covington is sponsored by the Blount Student Organization. 

Chloe Maize

Chloe Maize is a student athlete on the University of Alabama women’s soccer team. Her goals while running for homecoming queen are to represent the student body, as well as the student athletes, and spread awareness about the West Alabama Food Bank, specifically the Backpack Meals Program. This program currently sends over 1,800 meals home with children throughout Tuscaloosa and surrounding counties per week in an effort to end child hunger. 

“This is a problem in our city that I feel everyone should be educated about, so during my campaign, I would love to spread awareness about food insecurity amongst children in Tuscaloosa, the mission of West Alabama Food Bank and students can make a difference,” Maize said.

Maize is sponsored by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. 

Ansley Weaver

Ansley Weaver is a senior in majoring in communicative disorders from Atlanta, Georgia. She strives to have a positive impact at UA, as she would like for more students to get involved when starting their college careers. She is supporting The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), an association founded in 1979 that helps and informs people about anxiety and depression around the country. 

“I decided to run for the experience; running for homecoming queen has given me the opportunity to connect with others on campus as well as raising awareness for my philanthropy,” Weaver said. 

Weaver is sponsored by The College of Engineering Does Ameateur Radical Theater.

E’talia Shakir

E’talia Shakir is a senior pursuing an accelerated master’s degree in mathematics and is from San Antonio, Texas. She wants to promote campus diversity, equality and inclusion for all students by bringing awareness to the identities that are often overlooked and that make our campus unique and special. She also believes the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home is a foundation that students should get involved with, as they provide a safe environment for foster children, along with emotional, mental and financial assistance to foster parents and families. 

“This platform affords me the opportunities to hopefully reach and include any and all who feel unknown and marginalized on this campus, while establishing a sense of service and sustainable change that can grow beyond one week and one person,” Shakir said. “I feel as if it is my responsibility to account for those who are not often enough recognized for who they are, while learning to serve for and alongside them in hopes to better our campus and surrounding community.” 

Shakir is sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Taylor Roberson

Taylor Roberson is a junior majoring in economics and history from Florence, Alabama. She supports educational equality in Alabama, as she is a first-generation college student. She wants to give voice to students faced with adversity in attending college. Roberson supports The Annexstad Family Foundation, which has been helping students realize their dreams of earning a college degree since 2000. The foundation supports students overcoming personal hardships to become the leaders of tomorrow. 

“My personal conversations and involvement have manufactured my confidence in the platform we have as members of The University of Alabama community by encouraging educational equality in Alabama,” Roberson said.

Roberson is sponsored by First Fellows.

Senate Seats

Voting will also be open for the graduate and law school Senate seats. Sarah Kimball Stephenson, a member of Tri Delta who previously served on the SGA environmental affairs cabinet, is the only candidate running for the graduate school seat. Allison Koszyk, a 1L law student with a masters in hospitality management, is also running unopposed. Both have spent zero dollars on their campaigns. 

Constitutional Amendments

Two amendments to the SGA constitution will also be up for a public vote. 

Constitutional Amendment C-07-19 seeks to change the eligibility requirements for graduate school Senate candidates, primarily affecting students in the Accelerated Masters Program by adding the following to part B of Section 1, Article VIII:

“All graduate candidates must be enrolled primarily as graduate degree seeking students. Accelerated Masters Program (AMP) students are not eligible for election to graduate student Senate seats, unless they have been awarded and have had conferred upon them a Bachelor’s degree by the candidacy filing deadline.”

Talks of this amendment sparked debate last Spring. You can read the Crimson White’s coverage of the initial proposal here

Constitutional Amendment C-08-19 seeks to change the pay scale process for the following year’s SGA.  

Authored by SGA President Harrison Adams, Vice President Clay Martinson and Senator Royce Dickerson, the legislation is essentially an update ensuring the creation of a pay scale, which was passed last October but received scrutiny in the 2019 Presidential election, specifically from Vice President for Financial Affairs (VPFA) candidate John Martin Weed

The amendment, according to its authors, will “ensure transparency” by proposing that the following year’s pay scale be created by the current VPFA, which would be Hunter Scott, who was the only executive member to run opposed in the 2019 election. The amendment reads as follows: 

“Prepare a pay scale for the upcoming Fiscal Year that will be presented to the incoming officers as their pay scale. In the event that a position is added, modified, or deleted in the SGA Code of Laws or SGA Constitution, the incoming VPFA will retain the ability to modify the pay scale for that office.”

For more information on the candidates and their platforms, visit the homecoming queen candidates page on the Student Government Association website at https://sga.sa.ua.edu/queen-candidates/, as well as the Fall 2019 Senate candidates page at https://sga.sa.ua.edu/senate-candidates/.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed Ansley Weaver’s department. It has been updated to include her correct major.