Student government candidates accelerate towards end of campaign

2018 Presidential Election Candidates

Student body presidential candidate Josue Damian-Martinez  twirled his competitor, Joanna Ariola, to the beat of Un Poco Loco off the “Coco” soundtrack while the two canvassed for votes on Ragsdale Lawn Monday. The show of camaraderie served as both’s first major campaigning on campus, as Damian-Martinez and his running mate, Andi Theis, were suspended last week for sending a mass email. 


P- Joanna Ariola & VP- Leslie Rios

P- Josue Damian-Martinez & VP- Andi Theis


Celine Cottenoir

Marcelle Chamoun-Farah

Athina Elizabeth Castanon

Nicole Davis

Samuel Drew

Bailey Galicia

Cristobal Garcia-Quinoz

Taylor Huey

Jacob Zertuche

*A full senate has 12 senators. Nine students are running for senator positions. 

Ariola and her running mate, Leslie Rios, attended a service trip for Hilltop Leaders last week, leaving much of their campaign efforts to online only. 

“We as a campaign team compiled a list of the people we wanted to reach out to. We have a specific person dedicated to outreach. It was her job to send emails to people, but she should’ve been doing it individually and that’s where the communication fell,” said Damian-Martinez. “She just didn’t understand that when she did outreach — we just didn’t explain it properly.”  

Damian-Martinez contacted elections commissioner Cynthia Teran after he noticed a member of his campaign team sent a mass email requesting endorsements April 9, breaching elections codes. 

“We understood the rules, but we didn’t fully let our entire team know,” Damian-Martinez said. “So, it’s really the responsibility of the leaders to make sure their campaign staff understands the rules.” 

While the suspension ended April 14, Teran also cut the team’s budget by $150, leaving them with $350 to spend. 

“One thing is, they cut down our budget. It’s fine, we weren’t going to spend that much. We were trying to keep it simple.” said Damian-Martinez. “As far as suspending our campaign until Saturday, it’s pretty valid. It was a mass email.“

Teran told Hilltop Views via email that she does not think the suspension will have an effect on voter turnout. 

Last year’s election turned out more students than in previous years with 758 total votes casted. “People will vote for the running ticket they believe will benefit our campus,” Teran said. 

Monday’s showcase comes as a change of change of pace from previous years, as last year’s elections commissioner opted to leave all campaign efforts and planning to the students running for election. 

Sophomore Selma Gutierrez heard both ticket’s platforms at the showcase, but opted to wait until after the debate to decide who she’ll vote for. 

“They (both tickets) want to make the school more connected in a community instead of little groups,” Gutierrez said of both tickets. “I really like that because I’m just a sophomore still and I want to have more of a community… sometimes when you walk into certain areas, you feel kind of excluded.” 

Aside from the strengthened sense of community, Gutierrez referenced how the Ariola-Rios campaign plans to tackle funding requests through teaching workshops if elected. 

Leaders of student organizations have expressed frustration in the past year over the Recognized Organizations Council dissolving, leaving funding requests to the votes of senators. 

“It was their (SGA’s) first year doing it, so I’m like, ‘hey, nothing’s perfect,’” Gutierrez said. 

Meanwhile, sophomore Lexi Elliott is decided on voting for the Damian-Martinez- Theis team. “I think they both show great leadership skills and I have yet to seem them falter in any major position that they’re in.” 

Elliott expressed her thoughts that with Damian-Martinez and Theis at the helm, “regular students can have more of a say in what’s going on in SGA, which I think is applicable and well-needed.” 

“I do think they’re going to change a lot for SGA. I think a lot of the stuff they’re looking to is going deeper into making sure SGA is a public arena rather than just knowing senators and getting into it,” Elliot said.

SGA voting polls link closes on CollegiateLink Friday at 5 p.m.