New SGA Big Three finalized after election complications

On Wednesday, April 5, students congregated near the Student Union breezeway in anticipation for the announcement of the newly-elected Student Government Association (SGA) president and chief justice. However, due to election complications, the announcement of the new vice president was delayed until Wednesday, April 19. 

Lacey Johnson, the current SGA Chief of Staff, will succeed Baileigh Picou as president. Matt Matthews, a current SGA Senator, will succeed Joshua Freeman as vice president and Aaliyah Muhammad, the current associate chief justice, will succeed Michala Torres as chief justice. Each will serve their term during the 2023-2024 school year.  

Johnson ran against Freeman for the office of president. Javier Amador, a current justice, ran against Matthews for vice president. Finally, Kyle Hidalgo, an SGA justice, campaigned against Muhammad for the highest position in the Judicial Branch. 

Candidates spent the last two weeks campaigning and tabling in the breezeway and on social media in an effort to connect with the student body and ensure their vote. They communicated their platforms and visions for the 2023-2024 school year to students during the Meet the Candidates forum in the Tinsley Student Lounge on Wednesday, March 29. 

Polls opened at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, April 3 and closed at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday April 5. Torres oversaw candidate conduct as chairwoman of the SGA election board.

Johnson was in tears following the announcement of her victory. “I am Madame President of Southeastern Louisiana University. Women belong in places where decisions are being made,” she stated.

She ran on a campaign slogan entitled “Race with Lace.” Her platform centered around providing students with resource accessibility, advocacy, safe spaces and empowerment. 

Muhammad expressed similar excitement after becoming chief justice-elect. “I am so excited and ready for this position, you all just don’t know,” she said. 

Her campaign slogan, entitled “Be B.O.L.D.,” focused on bringing new initiatives to students, crafting original solutions for campus problems, listening to their needs and spreading and promoting diversity and inclusion. 

Matthews outlined a campaign platform focused on improving student life on campus; specifically, he wants to “[close] gaps marginalized students navigate” at Southeastern.

He viewed his victory as a crucial stepping stone for trans people on campus.

“Winning Vice President and shattering the lavender ceiling has been an amazing experience. I have had an overwhelming amount of support these last few weeks, and I’m excited to see where that support takes me. At a time of intensifying transphobia in all levels of society, my win is important. Being in one of the highest positions of authority a student can have here on campus is a sign of hope to many. I want my time as vice president to inspire other underrepresented individuals to take an active role on campus,” Matthews said.  

Head to SGA’s website for more information on election results and student government. Students can also access each of the new Big Three’s platforms to learn more about their plans for the upcoming school year.