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Molina-Castro elected new SGA president Ballot distribution problems causes delay in senatorial election results

Peter Averack, Denisse Molina-Castro, Alondra Galvan COURTESY PHOTO

Peter Averack, Denisse Molina-Castro, Alondra Galvan


Gathering 841 out of the 1,472 votes cast for executive ticket, political science senior Denisse Molina-Castro defeated civil engineering sophomore Rodrigo Gonzalez for the presidency of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Student Government Association.

A total of 1,671 votes were cast in the election, which was held Monday through Wednesday.

“It was a really successful elections for SGA,” Molina-Castro said. “We got a lot of support and a lot of students involved as well as the entire university, that was our goal. Our goal was to make sure that everyone was part of the election.”

Molina-Castro served as the vice president of UTRGV’s student government this academic year.

Alondra Lisset Galvan, a political science junior, will serve as the Brownsville vice president and Peter Averack, a communication junior, will be the vice president for the Edinburg campus.

“Our priority will be to continue to work on the issues of transportation and, also, the SGA is currently having some resolutions that have been passed,” Molina-Castro said. “So, our goal is to continue working on that because it just doesn’t stop at the resolutions. We still have to continue to work with administration to make sure that those resolutions are effective.”

The outgoing SGA executives will throw the first pitch to the newly elected executive team during the UTRGV baseball game at 7 p.m. Friday at the UTRGV Baseball Stadium in Edinburg. All elected SGA officials will begin their at noon May 2.

Others who were elected to the 2016-2017 UTRGV senate are as follows:

–Senator at Large (Brownsville): Ernesto Issai Farias, Denisce Sarai Palacios, Eric Anthony Silva and Julian Han Verdream

–Senator at Large (Edinburg): Kristina Aileen Cantu and Marc Sherwin Roque

–Senator for the College of Business and Entrepreneurship: Brianna Nicole Alvarado

–Senator for College of Engineering and Computer Science: Noe Flores

“Overall, the election process, aside from the technical issues that we faced, went very well,” said Cindy Mata, director of Student Activities and SGA co-adviser. “The candidates showed a clean campaign. … I am looking forward to working with this next executive team.”

Senatorial positions for the colleges of Education and P-16 Integration, Health Affairs, Liberal Arts and Sciences will be announced at a later date due to problems with the distribution of ballots.

“We found that there were a few academic programs that were coded to the wrong college,” said Rebecca Gadson, interim associate vice president for Student Life and Dean of Students. “So, there were students that didn’t have the opportunity to vote for their college-based senatorial candidate and in a couple of instances, perhaps they were able to vote in a college senatorial candidate that was not associated with their college.

“In order to ensure the integrity of the elections and the results, the ballot will be sent to the targeted population impacted so that the results clearly reflect the outcome of students eligible to vote for those college-based senator positions.”

Gadson said she hopes by early next week students will be able to vote for the senatorial positions impacted.

“We have manually verified coding in those programs and have created unique ballots for each of those populations impacted so as to ensure that the information is accurate and easy for us to pull the results,” she said.

Vacant positions in student government will be announced when the results of the pending senatorial positions are finalized, Molina-Castro said.

Vacancies will be filled by appointment of the president, subject to a two-thirds approval of the senators present and voting, according to the SGA constitution.

Students may apply for appointment to a vacant position on the SGA V Link page. The last day to apply is April 28.

“We are open to any suggestions or anything that the students want to know about us,” Molina-Castro said. “Our doors are open to students or for anyone that wishes to join SGA.”

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